Looking to change up your routine for shoulders or back? Trying to work on correcting your Upper Crossed Syndrome (UCS)? A badass exercise you can add into your repertoire is the Face Pull. Unlike most shoulder exercises you see performed at the gym, the Face Pull activates the posterior deltoid (often neglected by most gym goers) as opposed to the anterior deltoid. Strengthening the back of the shoulders helps our posture (through encouraging external rotation) and furthermore works towards correcting Upper Crossed Syndrome.
What is UCS you might ask? Usually a result of being hunched over electronic devices and wasting away at your desk in your office. According to PTDC it is the tightness of the upper trapezius and levator scapula on the dorsal side crosses with tightness of the pectoralis major and minor. Weakness of the deep cervical flexors ventrally crosses with weakness of the middle and lower trapezius. This pattern of imbalance creates joint dysfunction, particularly at the atlanto-occipital joint, C4-C5 segment, cervicothoracic joint, glenohumeral joint, and T4-T5 segment. This is a common postural problem and caused by a multitude of factors in our routines and environment today.
Our sedentary lifestyle has led to several posture issues for humans in the 21st century and with proper training, stretching and exercise we are able to correct most issues. Face Pulls are an edgy workout that helps us by strengthening scapular upward rotation. This exercise can be done with resistance bands or using the rope on a cable machine. Click here to see the image on the right as well as a video of a Face Pull using a cable machine. This exercise is done by setting up the resistance band or cable at approximately neck height. You then stand back and take an athletic stance. With your elbows at about shoulder level (keeping bicep/triceps area of your arms parallel to the ground) begin using your shoulders to pull the rope towards your face. It’s important to do this in a controlled manner and without shrugging your shoulders upwards.
As with any exercise, you should put extreme focus on form. Incorrect form can cause you to not get the most out of the exercise, or even injury. There are some great videos available to watch by @SyattFitness that show common form mistakes to avoid when doing this exercise such as height placement, leaning into the exercise and using momentum over controlled force.
Assuming you are healthy enough for exercise, there are great online personal trainers that can assist you with this and any other exercises to help you achieve your goals and correct any postural issues you may have.