Banded Face Pull: Benefits, Muscles Worked, and More

published by: Debbie Luna
Last Updated:
January 22, 2023

The banded face pull is a popular exercise used by fitness enthusiasts and athletes to strengthen and tone the upper back and shoulder muscles. It is a simple yet effective exercise that can be performed using a resistance band, which provides smooth and controlled resistance. 

The exercise is suitable for people of all fitness levels and can be easily incorporated into a full-body workout routine or performed as a standalone exercise. One of the main benefits of a banded face pull is that it helps to improve postural health. 

Many people spend a sizable portion of their day sitting at a desk or in front of a computer, which can lead to poor posture and muscle imbalances. One can correct these imbalances and improve posture by performing band face pulls. Additionally, the exercise can help strengthen the upper back and shoulder muscles, improving overall strength and athletic performance.

What is a Banded Face Pull?

A banded face pull is a resistance exercise that targets the shoulders and upper back muscles. The workout uses a resistance band to provide resistance which can be anchored to a stationary object, such as a door or a pole.

banded face pull

Because the exercise uses a resistance band, the closer the individual gets to the end of the movement, the more resistance the band provides. 

How to Perform a Band Face Pull

First, choose a resistance band with a suitable amount of resistance for one's fitness level. For instance, a band with a higher resistance might provide a greater challenge. On the other hand, a lower resistance band may be more suitable for individuals just beginning an exercise regimen.

It is a good idea to start with a lower resistance band and gradually increase the resistance as one's strength improves. The number of reps and sets can also be varied to add variety to the workout and challenge different muscle groups.

To perform, stand with the feet shoulder-width apart and hold the resistance band in both hands with an overhand grip. Then, keeping the core engaged and the shoulders down, extend the arms straight out in front of the body. Start the exercise by pulling the band towards the sides of the face while maintaining the elbows' height at shoulder level.

Slowly release the band back to the starting position, keeping control throughout the movement. Repeat the exercise for a specified number of reps, typically 8–12.

Maintaining good form throughout the band face pull exercise is essential to ensure that the correct muscles are being targeted and the risk of injury is minimized. Keep the core engaged, the shoulders down, and the elbows at shoulder height. It is also essential to keep control throughout the movement, both on the way out and back in.

Muscles Worked in Banded Face Pulls

The banded face pull is a popular exercise that targets the upper back and shoulder muscles. It is suitable for people of all fitness levels and can easily be incorporated into a full-body workout routine. During this exercise, one pulls on a resistance band, which works and strengthens the muscles in these areas.

banded face pull muscles

The trapezius muscle is a crucial muscle targeted during the band face pull. This broad, triangular muscle is responsible for moving, turning, and supporting the shoulder blade. It stretches from the base of the skull to the center of the back. Strengthening the trapezius can improve posture and help prevent neck and upper back injuries.

The rhomboids are another group of muscles targeted during the banded face pull. These muscles are located in the upper back and help to retract and stabilize the shoulder blades. Strong rhomboids can improve posture and help to prevent injuries to the upper back and shoulders.

The deltoids are a group of muscles that form the rounded shoulder shape and are responsible for moving the arm away from the body and rotating the arm inward and outward. The band face pulls exercise works and strengthens the deltoids. This makes the shoulders stronger and better able to do their job.

The rotator cuff muscles surround the shoulder joint and help to stabilize the arm in the socket. The band face pull exercise activates and strengthens the rotator cuff muscles, improving the overall stability and function of the shoulder joint.

Finally, the biceps are a group of muscles located in the front of the upper arm responsible for flexing the elbow and rotating the arm inward. While the biceps are not the primary muscle group targeted during the band face pull, they can still be activated to some extent, providing an additional benefit to the exercise.

Benefits of the Banded Face Pull

Improves Posture

One of the primary benefits of the band face pull is that it can improve posture. The upper back and shoulder muscles, including the trapezius, rhomboids, and deltoids, are all important for maintaining proper posture. Strengthening these muscles can help to improve alignment and reduce the risk of developing issues like rounded shoulders or a forward head posture.

Reduces Risk of Injuries

In addition to improving posture, the band-face pull can also help prevent neck and upper back injuries. The trapezius muscle, in particular, is responsible for moving, rotating, and stabilizing the shoulder blade. Strengthening the trapezius can help improve the stability of the shoulder blade, reducing the risk of neck and upper back injuries.

Improves Shoulder Strength

Another benefit of the band face pull is that it can improve the overall strength and function of the shoulders. The deltoids, rotator cuff, and other shoulder muscles are activated during the band face pull exercise, which can help improve the shoulder joint's stability and mobility. This can be particularly beneficial for athletes or anyone who engages in activities that require a lot of upper-body strength and mobility.

Overall, the band face pull is a valuable exercise that can benefit the upper back, shoulders, and biceps. It is simple to perform and requires minimal equipment, making it an accessible option for people of all fitness levels. Whether looking to improve their posture, prevent injuries, or build overall upper body strength, the band face pull is an excellent exercise to consider adding to a workout routine.

Mistakes to Avoid with Banded Face Pulls

While the band face pull is relatively easy to perform, there are a few common things that people often need to correct, which can reduce the effectiveness of the exercise and potentially lead to injury. Here are some mistakes to avoid when performing a band face pull:

Not Using the Proper Form

One of the most common mistakes when performing a band face pull is not using the proper form. It is essential to keep the elbows bent and at shoulder level as the band is pulled toward the face. The shoulders should also be kept down to avoid straining the neck and shoulders. If the proper form is not maintained, it may be necessary to use a lighter resistance band.

Pulling Too Hard

While it is important to challenge oneself with the resistance band, it is also important to avoid pulling too hard. Overly intense banded face pulls can lead to muscle strains and other injuries. It is essential to listen to the body and only perform the exercise at a comfortable level.

Not Using Enough Resistance

Using a resistance band that is too light can reduce the effectiveness of the band face pull exercise. It is essential to use a resistance band that provides a moderate level of resistance to challenge the muscles and improve strength and tone.

Not Keeping the Resistance Band Taut

Another common mistake is not keeping the resistance band taut as the exercise is performed. This can cause the band to slacken and reduce the resistance, decreasing the effectiveness of the training. 

Not Performing the Exercise Slowly

Many people make the mistake of rushing through the band face pull exercise, which can reduce the muscles’ time under tension and, in turn, its effectiveness. Instead, it is crucial to perform the movement slowly and with control, using a full range of motion. This will help work the upper back and shoulder muscles better and get more significant results.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, banded face pulls are a simple yet effective exercise that can be used to strengthen and tone the muscles of the upper back and shoulders.

By avoiding the common mistakes outlined above, the benefits of the exercise can be maximized, and better results can be achieved. It is also important to listen to the body and only perform the exercise at a level that is comfortable to avoid injury.

References

1. Kim TW, An DI, Lee HY, Jeong HY, Kim DH, Sung YH. Effects of elastic band exercise on subjects with rounded shoulder posture and forward head posture. J Phys Ther Sci. 2016;28(6):1733-1737. doi:10.1589/jpts.28.1733

Debbie (Deb) started powerlifting and Olympic lifting in High School as part of her track team's programming; She continues to train in order to remain athletic. Inspire US allows Deb to share information related to training, lifting, biomechanics, and more.
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