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Daniel Mesa

Dumbbell Face Pull: How To & Benefits

dumbbell face pull

Ever heard of the Dumbbell Face Pull? Contrary to its name, it’s an exercise for building strong shoulders and improving your upper body posture–not your face. 

Let’s get to know the world of the Dumbbell Face Pull. We’ll teach you how to do it right, share essential tips, highlight common mistakes to avoid, delve into the muscles it targets, discuss its benefits, and even introduce some alternative exercises. 

Let’s elevate your fitness game with the Dumbbell Face Pull!

How To Do Dumbbell Face Pull

Follow these steps to perform the exercise correctly:

Set Up

Attach a rope handle to a high pulley on a cable machine. Adjust the pulley to chest height.

Grasp the Rope

Stand facing the cable machine and hold the rope handle with a neutral grip (palms facing each other).


Take a step back to create tension in the cable. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and maintain a slight bend in your knees.


Start by pulling the rope towards your face. Your hands should move apart as the rope approaches your face.

Final Position

The final position resembles a “double bicep” pose, with your hands near the sides of your face and your elbows pointing out to the sides.

Controlled Return

Slowly release the rope to return to the starting position.

Our Tips For The Dumbbell Face Pull Exercise

Mind Your Elbows

Keep your elbows elevated and away from your body during the exercise. This action ensures that the rear deltoid muscles, your primary target, fully engage in the movement. By actively maintaining this position, you maximize the effectiveness of the exercise, helping to strengthen and define your shoulder’s posterior aspect.

Control the Weight

Use a weight that permits you to execute the exercise with proper form. It’s crucial to prioritize correct technique over lifting heavy weights. By following this tip, you prevent potential injuries from using weights that are too heavy for your current fitness level.

Maintain Posture

Sustaining an upright posture throughout the exercise is vital for targeting the intended muscle groups and avoiding strain. Keep your back straight, shoulders back, and chest out to maintain proper form and maximize the benefits of the Dumbbell Face Pull.

Common Dumbbell Facepull Mistakes To Avoid

Using Too Much Weight

One common slip-up is selecting a weight that’s excessively heavy. This mistake hinders proper form and can lead to potential injury. Remember, it’s better to begin with a manageable weight and gradually progress as your strength improves.

Rushing the Movement

Another error to avoid is pulling the rope too quickly. When you rush the movement, you miss out on engaging the right muscles effectively. Instead, focus on a controlled pace to maximize the exercise’s benefits.

Poor Posture

Maintaining poor posture, such as slouching, during the exercise is a critical mistake. This posture can strain your back and undermine the exercise’s effectiveness. Always prioritize good posture for a safer and more productive workout.

Dumbbell Facepull Muscles Worked

db facepull

Rear Deltoids

These muscles, found at the back of the shoulder, play a crucial role in lifting the arm away from the body and rotating it outward. When engaged, they create the “capped” look in the shoulder, contributing to a well-defined upper body.


The trapezius muscles, spanning the upper back and neck, are responsible for multiple functions. They help stabilize the shoulder blades during the Dumbbell Face Pull, ensuring proper posture and providing support for the upper body.

Rotator Cuff Muscles

Comprising the supraspinatus and infraspinatus muscles, among others, the rotator cuff is essential for shoulder stability. These muscles assist in maintaining the proper alignment of the shoulder joint throughout the movement, reducing the risk of injury.

Dumbbell Facepull Benefits

dumbbell face pull how to

Strengthen Shoulders

The Dumbbell Face Pull is the best when it comes to promoting shoulder health. It fortifies the entire shoulder region by specifically targeting the rear deltoids and engaging the rotator cuff muscles. These strengthened muscles contribute to better shoulder stability, reducing the risk of injuries and discomfort. 

Whether you’re an athlete aiming for peak performance or someone seeking everyday shoulder comfort, this exercise is a valuable addition to your routine.

Improved Posture

Hunching over screens and desks has become all too common in our digital age, leading to poor posture and rounded shoulders. Here’s where the Dumbbell Face Pull steps in to help fix your posture. As it works the upper back and rear deltoids, it counteracts the effects of forward-leaning posture. 

By regularly incorporating this exercise, you’ll notice your shoulders naturally pulling back and down, helping you stand taller and feel more confident. It’s a simple yet effective way to combat the slouch and attain better overall posture.

Balanced Upper Body

The Dumbbell Face Pull doesn’t just target a single muscle group; it engages the muscles in your upper body. This results in a well-rounded, balanced physique. While it prominently hones the rear deltoids, it also recruits the trapezius muscles and engages the rotator cuff. This comprehensive approach ensures you don’t develop imbalances that can lead to discomfort or injury. 

A balanced upper body looks better and functions more efficiently, making everyday tasks easier and workouts more effective. Incorporating the Dumbbell Face Pull into your routine is a strategic move for achieving this coveted balance.

Alternatives To Face Pulls With Dumbbells

Face Pulls with Resistance Bands

This alternative to Dumbbell Face Pulls provides flexibility and convenience, making it a great choice for home workouts. By anchoring resistance bands to a sturdy structure at chest height, you can mimic the motion of the face pull exercise. 

The resistance bands offer adjustable tension levels, allowing you to tailor the exercise to your fitness level. This variation maintains the primary focus on the rear deltoids, trapezius, and rotator cuff muscles, promoting shoulder stability and health.

Cable Rear Delt Flyes

Cable Rear Delt Flyes are a cable machine variation that targets the same muscle group as Dumbbell Face Pulls. By adjusting the pulley to chest height and using handles, you can perform a reverse fly motion. 

This exercise provides a different angle of movement, challenging the rear deltoids and upper back muscles. It’s an effective way to enhance shoulder strength and stability while also working on posture and upper body aesthetics.

Bent Over Reverse Flyes

Bent Over Reverse Flyes are a bodyweight alternative to Dumbbell Face Pulls. In this exercise, you bend at the waist, maintaining a slight knee bend, and raise your arms out to the sides. This motion effectively targets the rear deltoids without the need for equipment. 

It’s a straightforward yet efficient exercise for strengthening the upper back and improving posture. Additionally, it can be easily incorporated into home workouts or routines with limited equipment.

Bottom Line On DB Face Pull

Dumbbell Face Pulls are your ticket to better shoulder strength and posture. Remember, start with the right form, increase the weight as you progress, and dodge those common mistakes. With this exercise, you’re on your way to healthier shoulders and a more balanced upper body.


Can I perform Dumbbell Face Pulls at home without a cable machine?

Yes, you can use resistance bands anchored to a sturdy structure for a similar effect.

How often should I include Dumbbell Face Pulls in my routine?

2-3 times a week is sufficient to see benefits.

Are Dumbbell Face Pulls suitable for beginners?

Yes, beginners can perform this exercise, but they should start with a light weight and focus on form.

Can Dumbbell Face Pulls help with shoulder pain?

When performed correctly, they can contribute to shoulder health and potentially alleviate certain types of shoulder pain.

Is there a specific breathing pattern to follow during this exercise?

Exhale as you pull the rope towards your face, and inhale as you return to the starting position.


  1. Campos, Y. A. C., Vianna, J. M., Guimarães, M. P., Oliveira, J. L. D., Hernández-Mosqueira, C., da Silva, S. F., & Marchetti, P. H. (2020). Different Shoulder Exercises Affect the Activation of Deltoid Portions in Resistance-Trained Individuals. Journal of human kinetics, 75, 5–14.
  1. Kim, T. W., An, D. I., Lee, H. Y., Jeong, H. Y., Kim, D. H., & Sung, Y. H. (2016). Effects of elastic band exercise on subjects with rounded shoulder posture and forward head posture. Journal of physical therapy science, 28(6), 1733–1737.