Face Pulls vs Band Pull Aparts (Side-by-Side Comparison)


Face Pulls and Band Pull Aparts are two popular exercises used to strengthen the muscles of the upper back and shoulders. Both exercises are effective at targeting the upper back muscles, including the rhomboids and rear deltoids, and can be incorporated into a variety of training programs to improve posture and decrease the risk of injury.

However, there are some key differences between the two exercises that may make one more suitable for certain individuals or training goals.

In this article, I’ll explain exactly how to do each exercise then I’ll compare Face Pulls and Band Pull Aparts side-by-side to help you determine which exercise is best for you.


Band Face Pulls


Band Face Pull

Equipment Needed

  • Resistance Band
  • Something sturdy to anchor the band to (Squat Rack is perfect for this)

OR

Step-by-Step Instructions

  • Loop a resistance band around the vertical beam of a squat rack at shoulder height.
  • Grab the band with an overhand grip, hands roughly 3 inches apart.
  • Stand far enough away from the rack to get tension on the band.
  • Set feet shoulder-width apart, stand tall and brace the core.
  • Pull the band directly towards the chin.
  • Control the band back to the starting position and repeat.

Coaching Points

The key to Band Face Pulls is figuring out the proper distance away from the rack to stand. This will depend upon your strength and the strength of the band you are using. You want to be far enough away from the rack to create good resistance, but not so far that you can’t complete the reps with good form.

Don’t rush. This is an exercise that it’s easy to speed through it and just go through the motions. Focus on each rep and the contraction at the top of the rep.

Don’t have a band or a cable machine? Check out these 10 Face Pull Alternatives and Variations.

Benefits

Some of the benefits of Face Pulls include:

  1. Improved posture: Face pulls can help to strengthen the muscles of the upper back, which can improve posture by pulling the shoulders back and down.
  2. Decreased risk of injury: Strengthening the upper back muscles can help to reduce the risk of shoulder and neck injuries, as these muscles help to stabilize the shoulder joint.
  3. Increased upper body strength: Face pulls can help to increase upper body strength, which can be beneficial for a variety of activities, including lifting weights, carrying groceries, and playing sports.

Band Pull Aparts


Equipment Needed

  • Resistance Band (optimally a thin red band)

Step-by-Step Instructions

  • Grab a resistance band, one hand on each end of the band.
  • Hold the band out in the front of the chest.
  • Now pull back and directly out to the side, as if you are trying to ‘tear’ the band in half.
  • Pull back until the band hits the chest.
  • Let the band retrace back to the starting position under control.
  • Repeat for the designated number of reps.

Coaching Points

The biggest key to Band Pull Aparts is choosing the proper band. Too thick of a band will make the movement almost impossible to do with proper form and too thin of a band won’t give enough resistance.

FYI: Band Pull Aparts are also commonly referred to as Band Tears. Different name. Same exercise.

Benefits

There are several benefits to doing Band Pull Aparts, including:

  1. Improving shoulder and upper back stability and strength.
  2. Improving posture by helping to correct rounded shoulders.
  3. Activating and strengthening the muscles in the upper back and shoulders, which can improve overall athletic performance and reduce the chance of injury.
  4. Helping to correct imbalances in the muscles of the upper body
  5. Providing a low-impact exercise that can be performed by people of all fitness levels.

Band Face Pulls vs Band Pull Aparts: Is One Better?

Now, let’s look at the two exercises side-by-side to see if one is better than the other for a couple of specific lifting goals.

Better For Rear Delt Strength: Face Pulls

Both Face Pulls and Band Pull Aparts can be effective at strengthening the rear deltoids (and surrounding muscle groups), which are a muscle that helps to stabilize the shoulder joint and support arm movement.

However, Face Pulls may be more effective at targeting the rear deltoids specifically, as they involve a greater range of motion and more direct resistance on the muscle group.

Better For Beginners: Toss Up

Face Pulls and Pull Aparts are two of the most beginner-friendly exercises one can do. Both use a resistance band which is unintimidating and easy for beginners to work with. And, both are very simple movements that are easy to learn and easy to execute.

Final Thoughts

I’ve just spent the last section of this article comparing which is better – Face Pulls vs Band Pull Aparts. However, the truth is, there is no reason you shouldn’t have both exercises in your strength training program.

Both are excellent exercises for developing power and improving cardiovascular conditioning. Incorporating both exercises into your training program can also add variety and keep your workouts from getting stale.

So, my suggestion would be instead of trying to decide between the two exercises, figure out how you can utilize both Face Pulls or Band Pull Aparts in your training plan.

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Ryan Horton

Horton Barbell was created by Ryan Horton who has served as a Sports Performance Coach for almost 20 years. My mission is to create a training resource to help as many coaches and athletes as possible maximize athletic potential.

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