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Best Alternatives for Cable Face Pulls and Cable Pull Throughs?

We don't have a cable machine at my workplace gym, and I certainly don't have one at home, so I have been trying to replicate the move with my 100-lb resistance band at home, and whatever lightweight resistance band I can scrounge up at the gym. Is this the best approach for these exercises, or can you recommend anything that might be better? I just don't like the ambiguity of the bands--I like to have a hard number of weight to record and against which I can progress, and I am at the point where I need more of a challenge while definitively knowing my form is correct.

I have replaced the seated cable row with the dual axis row machine, which may not be a 1:1 tradeoff, but the moves are fairly similar, and I know I am doing [x] reps at 130 lbs or whatever.

For the most part, I am using DBs and avoiding such machines as we have; I have however looked over the machines and don't see anything that can replicate the move. We do have a kind of cable-rowing machine, which could conceivably be used, but even at its highest tension the amount of resistance it provides is negligible.

I suppose I could always ask the trainer who supplied me with my workouts for some alternatives now that I need more of a challenge, but why ask one trainer when you have MFP, LOL!

Thanks for your help.

Replies

  • JoRocka
    JoRocka Posts: 17,554 Member
    Cable pull through would be very similar to a kettle bell swing- the emphasis being the contraction of the glute at the top.

    Face pulls aren't my bag- since those really trigger my shoulder issues- but a DB upright row would be similar- as well as front and lateral raises (targeting the front delts)

    The back work that gets hit from a facepull- any sort of row or lat pull down to hit the back.
  • French_Peasant
    French_Peasant Posts: 1,634 Member
    JoRocka wrote: »
    Cable pull through would be very similar to a kettle bell swing- the emphasis being the contraction of the glute at the top.

    Face pulls aren't my bag- since those really trigger my shoulder issues- but a DB upright row would be similar- as well as front and lateral raises (targeting the front delts)

    The back work that gets hit from a facepull- any sort of row or lat pull down to hit the back.

    Thank you for the suggestions. I love lat pull downs, and rows of all shapes and sizes, so that will be an easy (and happy) replacement. I feel like I make people around me nervous when I do KB (actually DB) swings with a large weight, so I will work on projecting more authority with those...or find a quiet corner to do them in. LOL!
  • JoRocka
    JoRocka Posts: 17,554 Member
    how much weight are you doing with them (KB/DB- no matter- it's just a weight with a handle- I used to use DB all the time- I actually use a plate weight to if needed)
  • French_Peasant
    French_Peasant Posts: 1,634 Member
    JoRocka wrote: »
    how much weight are you doing with them (KB/DB- no matter- it's just a weight with a handle- I used to use DB all the time- I actually use a plate weight to if needed)

    25 lbs last time I did it...although it is normally part of a "metabolic interrupt" with AMRAP in 45 seconds or whatever, so I am doing it at a brisker pace. The pull-through is part of a "lactic acid" workout with a tempo of 3 seconds up, 1 second down, so maybe a slower pace will be more confidence inspiring for all the machine users surrounding me. Yeah, nowhere near needing a plate, not that the gym has BBs anyway! I have notified my husband that someday I am going to need to go to a real gym.
  • ninerbuff
    ninerbuff Posts: 45,766 Member
    If you have access to an incline bench, you can lay prone on it and then pull dumbells up towards your face (elbows up and traveling away from the body) to replicate facepulls.
    As for pull throughs, like JoRocka mention a kettlebell swing will work. Just make sure the starting point of the swing starts from the back of your heels that way you get low enough to activate the glutes. And go no higher than the top of your abs.

    A.C.E. Certified Personal and Group Fitness Trainer
    IDEA Fitness member
    Kickboxing Certified Instructor
    Been in fitness for 30 years and have studied kinesiology and nutrition

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  • lorrpb
    lorrpb Posts: 11,465 Member
    You can mark the spot on your floor, or measure the distance from the anchor, to quantify progress when using the band.
  • Azdak
    Azdak Posts: 8,281 Member
    If you are going with some kettle bell swings as a substitute, I would recommend going up to higher weights.

    This has some good detail:

    http://bretcontreras.com/kettlebell-swings-go-heavier-for-greater-glute-and-hamstring-activation/
  • French_Peasant
    French_Peasant Posts: 1,634 Member
    Thank you guys so much for the suggestions and pointers on form...and @Azdak, thank you for the reminder to increase weight, as tomorrow's sheet calls for 10 reps and I probably would have just grabbed the 25 unthinkingly. Derp! I will chew over that article for a while.
  • JoRocka
    JoRocka Posts: 17,554 Member
    JoRocka wrote: »
    how much weight are you doing with them (KB/DB- no matter- it's just a weight with a handle- I used to use DB all the time- I actually use a plate weight to if needed)

    25 lbs last time I did it...although it is normally part of a "metabolic interrupt" with AMRAP in 45 seconds or whatever, so I am doing it at a brisker pace. The pull-through is part of a "lactic acid" workout with a tempo of 3 seconds up, 1 second down, so maybe a slower pace will be more confidence inspiring for all the machine users surrounding me. Yeah, nowhere near needing a plate, not that the gym has BBs anyway! I have notified my husband that someday I am going to need to go to a real gym.

    25 pounds isn't that heavy? I usually swing 35-50. Not sure why people are side eyeing 25 pounds.
  • French_Peasant
    French_Peasant Posts: 1,634 Member
    JoRocka wrote: »
    JoRocka wrote: »
    how much weight are you doing with them (KB/DB- no matter- it's just a weight with a handle- I used to use DB all the time- I actually use a plate weight to if needed)

    25 lbs last time I did it...although it is normally part of a "metabolic interrupt" with AMRAP in 45 seconds or whatever, so I am doing it at a brisker pace. The pull-through is part of a "lactic acid" workout with a tempo of 3 seconds up, 1 second down, so maybe a slower pace will be more confidence inspiring for all the machine users surrounding me. Yeah, nowhere near needing a plate, not that the gym has BBs anyway! I have notified my husband that someday I am going to need to go to a real gym.

    25 pounds isn't that heavy? I usually swing 35-50. Not sure why people are side eyeing 25 pounds.

    LOL--I think it's heavy! I'll have to experiment with lower reps and a heavier weight to see how it feels as a replacement for the pull-through (which I am supposed to do for 10 reps/3 sets).
  • JoRocka
    JoRocka Posts: 17,554 Member
    JoRocka wrote: »
    JoRocka wrote: »
    how much weight are you doing with them (KB/DB- no matter- it's just a weight with a handle- I used to use DB all the time- I actually use a plate weight to if needed)

    25 lbs last time I did it...although it is normally part of a "metabolic interrupt" with AMRAP in 45 seconds or whatever, so I am doing it at a brisker pace. The pull-through is part of a "lactic acid" workout with a tempo of 3 seconds up, 1 second down, so maybe a slower pace will be more confidence inspiring for all the machine users surrounding me. Yeah, nowhere near needing a plate, not that the gym has BBs anyway! I have notified my husband that someday I am going to need to go to a real gym.

    25 pounds isn't that heavy? I usually swing 35-50. Not sure why people are side eyeing 25 pounds.

    LOL--I think it's heavy! I'll have to experiment with lower reps and a heavier weight to see how it feels as a replacement for the pull-through (which I am supposed to do for 10 reps/3 sets).

    I'm not trying to down play it- I think anything under 25 pounds starts to get away from the momentum aspect of the movement- its' a perfectly acceptable weight- but I guess I didn't understand why people would side eye that weight.

    Anything under that you start lifting it instead of swinging it usually.
  • French_Peasant
    French_Peasant Posts: 1,634 Member
    JoRocka wrote: »
    JoRocka wrote: »
    JoRocka wrote: »
    how much weight are you doing with them (KB/DB- no matter- it's just a weight with a handle- I used to use DB all the time- I actually use a plate weight to if needed)

    25 lbs last time I did it...although it is normally part of a "metabolic interrupt" with AMRAP in 45 seconds or whatever, so I am doing it at a brisker pace. The pull-through is part of a "lactic acid" workout with a tempo of 3 seconds up, 1 second down, so maybe a slower pace will be more confidence inspiring for all the machine users surrounding me. Yeah, nowhere near needing a plate, not that the gym has BBs anyway! I have notified my husband that someday I am going to need to go to a real gym.

    25 pounds isn't that heavy? I usually swing 35-50. Not sure why people are side eyeing 25 pounds.

    LOL--I think it's heavy! I'll have to experiment with lower reps and a heavier weight to see how it feels as a replacement for the pull-through (which I am supposed to do for 10 reps/3 sets).

    I'm not trying to down play it- I think anything under 25 pounds starts to get away from the momentum aspect of the movement- its' a perfectly acceptable weight- but I guess I didn't understand why people would side eye that weight.

    Anything under that you start lifting it instead of swinging it usually.

    Since I lifted over lunch, I actually tested it out....with the 25 I did 25 swings and could have continued for quite a while; on the next set I tried the 30 and started feeling it at about 15, and for the last set I did the 35, and although I wasn't a "couple away from failure" after 12 I felt like that was a good weight for when I am replacing the pull-throughs (and sticking with 25 for the metabolic interrupt version). I did lat pull downs to replace the face pulls, and after 5 sets, 12 reps at 110# I was cursing the concept of lat pull downs and being as tenacious as I could to finish, but I will take getting my butt kicked by iron over "meh" with the bands any day. :) Thank you guys again for helping to put some new grit into my workout!
  • SonyaCele
    SonyaCele Posts: 2,842 Member
    cable face pulls you can replicate with a suspension trainer, using your body weight. you can easily make a suspension trainer with straps, or just buy one they are cheap.
  • Fittreelol
    Fittreelol Posts: 2,544 Member
    I do face pulls fairly often with a very light resistance band when I'm too lazy to walk to the adjustable cable machine. I wouldn't say any upper body pulling replaces them as it depends on what your goals are for the exercise. I keep them super light to focus on rhomboids/middle traps/external rotators/rear delts; it's easy to let other larger muscle groups take over if you go too heavy *cough lats cough*
  • JoRocka
    JoRocka Posts: 17,554 Member
    SonyaCele wrote: »
    cable face pulls you can replicate with a suspension trainer, using your body weight. you can easily make a suspension trainer with straps, or just buy one they are cheap.

    You can do the inverted pull ups to I just realized (I don't do face pulls- they hurt my shoulders- so that didn't come to my brain right away)

    like use the smith machine- and use your own body weight and just readjust so you're pulling closer to your face than your chest.
  • Tedebearduff
    Tedebearduff Posts: 1,155 Member

  • French_Peasant
    French_Peasant Posts: 1,634 Member
    So I've been contemplating some of the additional suggestions that have been made here, and a little lightbulb went on in my head: hey, I could do some of the resistance band stuff and the seated flies with light weights just sitting in my office while on long teleconferences! Brilliant!

    I don't have any particular goals other than just recomping (including chipping away at the dreaded mummy tummy, ha ha), and since I am mainly doing my weights over lunch (and at 11:00 at night if I can't finish my program) I guess I feel like everything I do needs to really super count...and I do like to see the numbers go up on what I am lifting. But the comments above are a good reminder to keep fine-tuning the little guys as well, and it would be so easy to do when I am chained to a desk and can't get up and walk.

    Plus there is the pressing matter of cracking 10 lbs with a full set of lateral raises....!!