Nothing helps complete a good physique like a sharp, strong pair of shoulders. Shoulder training is very diverse and has many different movements. A big part of shoulder (delt) training involves training the rear delts as well. Rear delt training is very important not only to great shoulder appearance but also to posture. With good rear delt development, the shoulders are in a sense “pulled back” which then helps with proper posture of the spine, also causing the chest to pop out.
The rear delts serve their own particular purposes when it comes to function.
- shoulder extension (moving the upper arm down to the rear),
- transverse extension (moving the arm away from the chest with the elbows out to the sides),
- transverse abduction (moving the arm away from the chest with the elbows down), and
- external rotation (turning the upper arm outward).
If you are serious about training the shoulders properly, a movement you should be doing is face pulls. Face pulls involves a rope, usually used for tricep work, placed at face height (or slightly above). Standing at a distance where your arms are fully extended out with an overhand grip on the rope, pull the rope to your face, opening up the rope as it gets closer to your face. This should cause the elbows to flare out and your hands should be next to each side of your face. You should instantly feel a burn in the rear delt muscles.
It is always nice to do a movement that has numerous benefits. Face pulls are one of those movements. Face pulls are touted for working the rear delts, but actually possess some other benefits as well. Along with the rear delts, face pulls work the rotator cuffs, traps, and the smaller muscles of the mid-back. As noted about rear shoulder development and how it contributes to good posture, face pulls as you see also helps with overall shoulder health and preventing injuries.
Face pulls are great at isolating those hard to hit back shoulder muscles, so be careful with the amount of weight you use. Focus on really extending the arms out and getting a good squeeze when bringing the ropes back to your face. Range of motion may be more important than actual resistance when doing many different movements, especially one like face pulls.
So next time you train shoulders, start of with a good 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps of face pulls.