Primary Muscle Group: latissimus dorsi
Secondary Muscle Group: Pectorals
Equipment Needed: Dumbbells, Bench
The Benefits of Dumbbell Pullovers
The dumbbell pullovers exercise is a gym classic! Dumbbell pullovers are a unique exercise that has strong links to bodybuilding because it’s great for building a big back. So…do pullovers work your chest or back? The answer is both! While the pectoralis major in the front of the chest controls pushing moments, the latissimus dorsi muscle, spanning both sides of the mid- to lower-back, powers pulling movements. So whether you’re trying to build your chest, your back, or both, you need the dumbbell pullover exercise in your upper-body workout routine. Below we will tell you exactly how to do it properly, and a few tips to get the most out of this classic move. If you are looking for new and exciting workouts you can download a Free Workout Plan or purchase one of our Workout Plans that comes with access to your own fitness advisor for the duration.
The Risks of doing Dumbbell Pullovers
If you are not focussed on the mind and muscle connection, you will not get the most out of this exercise. Its easy to cheat and start to use your triceps to move the weight rather than your lats so pay attention to the contraction of the muscles.
How To Do Dumbbell Pullovers
1. Lie down on a bench with you head towards one end, similar to a bench press set up or you can lie across the bench as per illustrations and video.
2. With a light dumbbell help with both hands, extend the elbows so that the weight is above your chest.
3. Some lifters may lie perpendicular to the bench, often then allowing the hips to drop as the go into shoulder flexion. This is often a counterbalance rather than an effective way to stretch the lats. In this case just stay set up vertically on a bench.
4. With a light load (you should not need more than 20-30lbs to start) above you chest, let the hands and dumbbell move backwards as you feel the stretch in the chest and lats. It’s important to keep the elbows almost-locked out.
5. Reach back as far as you comfortably can, making sure to focus on feeling the stretch of the lats, chest, and triceps.
6. As you come upwards out of the bottom position, stay focused on using the chest and lats to do the movement. Many lifters will lose sight of the true purpose of this exercise and heave loads around, using the shoulders, biceps, and other muscle groups. In doing so, you render this chest and back isolation exercises useless while also adding serious shoulder strain.
For Perfect Technique
Do not let the dumbbell go too far forward past your head. The starting position is directly above your head and the dumbbell should not go any further than that.
Once you have mastered the Dumbbell Pull Overs you can try alternative exercises that target similar muscle groups such as;
How To Do Lat pull down
1. Adjust the pad so it sits snugly on your thighs to minimise movement. Grasp the bar with a wide grip, looking forward with your torso upright.
2. Retract your shoulder blades and pull the bar down in front of you to your upper chest.
3. Squeeze your lats at the bottom of the move for a second & resist the temptation to lean back to aid the movement. 4. Ina controlled movement return back to the starting position.
How To A Dumbbell Row
1. Start in a standing position while holding a dumbbell in each hand with a neutral grip.
2. Hinge forward until your torso is roughly parallel with the floor (or slightly above) and then begin the movement by driving the elbows behind the body while retracting the shoulder blades.
3. Pull the dumbbells towards your body until the elbows are at (or just past) the midline and then slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position under control.
4. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.