Squatting Face Pull – Exercise Demo and Benefits

In an earlier article we discussed the face pull and all the wonderful benefits it has to offer for strength, power, and fitness athletes, ranging from shoulder injury prevention, increased upper back strength, and better movement mechanics for vertical and horizontal pressing patterns (bench press, military pressing, snatches, etc.). Some variations of the face pull include seated, standing, or even squatting face pulls, each providing similar yet slightly distinct demands on the face pull movement.

Therefore, in this article we will specifically discuss one of the lesser known face pull variations, the squatting face pull.

Squatting Face Pull Demo

The squatting face pull can include a squat at any aspect of the face pull movement (such as staying in squat the entire time when performing the face pull, or simply squatting down and performing the face pull as you ascend back up to standing). The demands are much different depending on which movement you do, with heightened complexity doing them while staying squatted throughout the entire face pull set. For the sake of this article, we will discuss the more complex movement (staying squatted the entire time). That said, the squat to face pull variation is beneficial in that in allows you to use the hips in conjunction with the pull to increase the loading, balance, and extension capacities of the movement.

Note that in this video they are performing a squat every repetition, which is fine, as long as the lifter becomes stable prior to starting the face pull. Lastly, changing the angle at which the band/cable comes into the pull at (parallel to floor, from high position, etc) can also be varied.

Why Do Squatting Face Pulls

Below are a few reason why performing face pulls in the squat position can benefit you more than simply performing them from a standing or angled position. Note, some of these can also be achieved by performing them from a seated position as well.

Enhanced Spinal Awareness and Posture

The squat itself is a great movement for nearly every human, as it teaches stability and balance throughout the entire body. When performing static holds (pauses) in a squat (in this case at the bottom) you really force a lifter to stay active with the legs, glutes, core, and back to stabilize the spine and remain in balance. The added resistance of the band pull will really increase the necessity for total body tension and bracing. Note, that this variation may limit the amount of loading that can be done with the face pull, however this is typically not the main emphasis of the face pull in the first place, as the lifter should be focusing on scapular control and movement coordination.

Potentially Increased Muscular Contraction

When the lifter is forced to remain balanced, controlled, and focus entirely on the movement (or else fail), more often than not the contraction and mind muscle connection is greater than mindlessly moving reps. When standing or seated, the lifter can often sway the body to use momentum and “cheat” the rep, whereas the squatted version simply will not allow them to do that. By slowing down the rep and focusing on posture and a strong sense of control, the lifter may find they get a deeper and more direction contraction to the intended muscles.

Increased Time Under Tension

Similar to the benefit above, increased focus and emphasis on a controlled movement will inherently increase the time it takes to finish all the repetitions within a set. Longer bouts of tension on a muscles often result in hypertrophy (muscle size) improvements, which is at the foundations of most strength and development programs for athletes and non-athletes alike.

Core Strength and Balance

If you have ever performed movements in the bottom of the squat you will know how challenging it is on your core in order to stabilize the pelvis and spine. The face pull motion is often done with lumbar extension (which is wrong), however in the squat one simply cannot do it that way. By performing the face pull in a static squat position you force the lifter to find body awareness, foot balance, and core strength.

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Featured Image: @jordankrausefit on Instagram

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