Sunday, December 11, 2011

Feb 13, Face Pulls | Activate & Strengthen Rear Delts & Lower/Middle Trapezius

Face pulls are great for shoulder & scapular health. They work the lower to middle trapezius fibers & the rear delts. Discover how to use proper form with this complete exercise guide.

The following video demonstrates proper face pulls exercise technique (using a neutral grip).

Video credits: YouTube user "fitlisavideos"

Set up. Go to the cable machine, and set one of the pulleys to neck level. Attach rope. Fetch the rope attachment and secure it to the pulley.Adjust the Weight Stack. Use the correct amount of weight by placing the pin in the appropriate spot on the stack of weights. Don't try to go too heavy on this exercise, as it is meant to be done with moderate to light weight.Choose Grip. There's two different types of grips you can use. The most common type is the pronated (overhand) grip, which is done by holding the rope from the inside, with your pinky-side touching the end; or you can use a neutral grip. The other type is the neutral grip, which is done by holding the rope from the outside, with your thumb-side touching the end.Distance Yourself. Extend your arms straight out in front of you and step backward until you just barely lift the weight off the stack. This is the starting position.Positive Repetition. Pull the weight stack toward your face - Hence the name, face pulls. Elbows High. Raise your elbows up high as you pull the rope toward your face. This keeps the focus off of your lats, and on your trapezius.Squeeze Scapulae Together. Bring your shoulder blades together, keep them together as you pull and squeeze extra hard at the end of the positive rep.Tempo. Don?t go really fast, but don't go super slow either. Control the movement by going at a speed that lets you feel the rear delts and upper/middle back muscles working. One second or a little more should be fine for positive rep.Negative Repetition. Perform the negative repetition by returning to the starting position in the same path as the positive repetition. Tempo. Control the weight and maintain form. Aim for 1-2 seconds on the negative.Repeat. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions. You should use moderate to high rep ranges for this exercise. Anywhere from 8-16 reps should suffice. In the MYx8 weight lifting routine, I recommend doing face pulls (or bent over lateral raises) for 3 sets of 12-16 reps.

This Exercise Is Great for All Levels of Experience. This small, but powerful exercise can prove invaluable to you, whether you're a beginner, intermediate or an advanced lifter.

Since it improves scapular stability as well as muscular balance between the front and back muscles of the body, this exercise is an important asset that nearly all every weight lifter should have in his arsenal. Why?...

...Because the major lifts all provide inadequate stimulation to the minor (yet important) muscles that contribute to scapular and shoulder health. Eventually, there is a high potential that these oft-ignored muscles will become a "weak link" that can destroy your progress and/or invite injury.

Think of it like this – The major lifts are like brushing your teeth, and face pulls are like flossing: Both are necessary, and while flossing doesn't make your teeth whiter, it does keep your teeth strong and healthy by taking care of the areas that brushing can't reach... Err, maybe a dental metaphor wasn't the best choice, but you get the point!

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