Perhaps you first noticed the pullover carried out in low-res movies of Golden-era bodybuilders. Now, it’s frequent to see in industrial health facilities, rehabilitation services, and residential gyms. The dumbbell pullover is a basic again and chest train that’s experiencing a renaissance — and for good causes.
This information covers step-by-step directions, advantages, distinctive issues, variations, and programming for the dumbbell pullover.
Dumbbell Pullover Tutorial Video
Right here’s Dr. Merrick Lincoln instructing the normal kind for the dumbbell pullover. Assessment the shape and listen to particular suggestions earlier than practising the motion by yourself.
The dumbbell pullover is an overhead shoulder extension train carried out mendacity on a bench. These step-by-step directions guarantee correct kind.
Step 1 — Set Up a Sturdy Basis
For the normal dumbbell pullover, 5 steady factors of contact are required — The again of your head, shoulder blades, and glutes should stay involved with the bench, and each toes have to be touching the ground. In case your bench is simply too tall, putting your toes on the bench body or atop weight plates is appropriate.
Kind Tip: Place your head as far up the bench as potential. By putting your head excessive on the bench, you scale back the chance of the bench impeding shoulder vary of movement throughout the pullover.
Step 2 — Retrieve Your Dumbbell and Brace
The pullover requires a spotter on account of motion of the dumbbell over your face and head. A spotter is a person who assists with the motion and gives bodily help within the occasion of kind breakdown or failure.
A spotter can be useful, as a result of they will move you the dumbbell when you find yourself prepared to start. In any other case, you will want to switch the dumbbell from atop your thigh to above your chest, which will be awkward positioning. Whether or not or not you select to recruit a spotter, you’ll cradle the within high half of the dumbbell in your palms with thumbs and fingers wrapped across the deal with.
Kind Tip: Grasp the dumbbell securely earlier than bringing it over your face or earlier than giving your spotter the sign to launch it. The deal with of the dumbbell ought to sit between the bottom of your thumbs and physique of the arms. With one palm on both sides of the dumbbell, create a “closed” grasp by overlapping your thumbs behind the deal with and overlapping fingers in entrance.
Step 3 — Decrease to the Backside Place
Start with dumbbell above your higher chest along with your arms vertical and elbows unlocked or barely bent. Brace your belly muscle groups and keep the 5 factors of contact with the bench and the ground. Decrease the dumbbell towards the ground with management. Finish the downward motion if you attain the best quantity of shoulder flexion (stretch) which you can tolerate and management.
Kind Tip: Obtain a tolerable stretch throughout your shoulders on the backside place. The purpose is to maneuver via your full obtainable vary of overhead movement, not merely bringing the burden as near the bottom as potential.
Step 4 — Increase to the Prime Place
Reverse the motion by pulling the dumbbell via the identical arc of motion. The repetition is full when your higher arms are vertical. Maintain your head locked in impartial and your gaze directed on the ceiling — don’t observe the burden along with your eyes or head. Permitting your head to tilt into extension (trying overhead) promotes undesirable extension all through the complete backbone.
Kind Tip: Preserve the identical diploma of arm bend all through every repetition. In case your elbows are bending and straightening throughout the train, you’re shifting muscular stress away out of your chest and again and onto your triceps.
Step 5 — Finish the Set Safely
If you’re utilizing a spotter (beneficial), point out the set is full. The spotter ought to take the dumbbell with each arms. (1) If you’re coaching solo (at your individual threat), convey the dumbbell to your thigh.
Kind Tip: Keep away from dropping the dumbbell in your face or chest. Except you’re itching for a go to to the hospital and sure cosmetic surgery, security is precedence primary. Make sure the spotter has full management of the dumbbell earlier than you let go. If coaching alone, keep a safe grip till the dumbbell rests in your thigh.
The pullover seems easy and sounds self-explanatory — Lie in your again and “pull the dumbbell over,” proper? Properly, sure, however a plethora of approach faults plague this train. Avoiding these errors to enhance the effectiveness and security of the dumbbell pullover.
Extreme Elbow Bend and “Flaring”
Through the conventional dumbbell pullover, slight elbow bend permits the lifter to carry the dumbbell whereas transferring their higher arms within the sagittal airplane (i.e. parallel to the physique’s midline). When lifters permit extreme elbow bend, the issue of the pullover is diminished, as a result of the dumbbell is now nearer to your shoulders.
Most of the time, extreme elbow bend can be related to “flared,” or outward-pointing, elbows. This place displays inner rotation of the shoulder and will improve stress on the within of the elbow (i.e. ulnar collateral ligament stress) throughout the pullover.
Keep away from it: Give attention to maintaining your elbows pointing ahead and/or up throughout the dumbbell pullover. Whereas elbows ought to at all times stay “unlocked,” the pullover ought to by no means really feel like a triceps extension (“cranium crusher”).
Shedding Contact with the Bench
Though permitting your hips to rise from the bench could give the impression of elevated vary of movement, again and hip extension doesn’t equate to shoulder mobility. Not like a competition-style bench press, arching is counterproductive to the pullover as a result of it finally removes stress from latissimus dorsi. (2)
Worse nonetheless, extreme arching could permit a heavy dumbbell to destabilize your place, which may end in a “glutes over dumbbell” tumble over the again of the bench.
Keep away from it: Anchor your self to the bench by digging your heels into the ground and aggressively bracing your belly muscle groups.
Not Permitting the Dumbbell to “Hold”
A typical mistake is to aim to carry or orient the dumbbell horizontally throughout the repetition quite than vertically. This requires pointless motion of the wrist flexors and does little to enhance the pullover. At worst, this error may trigger untimely grip fatigue.
Keep away from it: The dumbbell ought to hold naturally out of your arms all through the pullover. (1) Though it’s best to keep a agency grip on the dumbbell, keep away from turning or tilting the dumbbell throughout your set.
Lifters new to the pullover ought to begin gentle when first studying the train. Like several train, the pullover have to be progressed to make sure ongoing advantages. Start by progressing conventional variables like including reps and weight. Then, in some unspecified time in the future, contemplate the easy approach modification mentioned beneath.
Enhance the Repetition Quantity
As an adjunct train, the pullover is often programmed within the average repetition vary (i.e. eight to 12 reps) or the next repetition vary (i.e. 12 to 16 reps). Sure, it is a broad suggestion, nevertheless it means you may doubtless progress for a while by including a repetition right here and there as in a position. When you’re capable of full your repetition goal, merely add another rep the next exercise. Within the brief time period, progressing quantity is probably going most acceptable for these centered on hypertrophy. (23)
Enhance the Weight
When you attain the highest of your goal repetition vary and really feel you could possibly do extra, it’s time to improve the burden of your dumbbell. Alternatively, in case your main purpose is constructing energy, progressing weight is more likely to be your finest short-term technique. (23) Since small jumps in weight dramatically improve the resistance skilled by the shoulders on the backside of the pullover, incremental weight development is finest.
Maintain Fixed Pressure
The dumbbell pullover historically begins and ends when the dumbbell is above the chest. (1) Nevertheless, a lot of the key muscle groups of the pullover are offloaded at this level within the vary of movement, as a result of the dumbbell is not creating demand for the shoulder extensors (i.e. lats, pecs, and many others.). A minor tweak to pullover approach will increase the issue of the early portion of the motion.
Though “fixed stress” is only a catchy misnomer (no muscle experiences fixed stress throughout dynamic train), we are able to intensify the pullover by ending the repetition and starting the subsequent rep whereas the shoulder extensors are nonetheless working. Slightly than pull the dumbbell over your chest, merely reverse the motion when the dumbbell passes above your brow.
The dumbbell pullover trains the shoulders via an arc of overhead movement. On account of its capacity to position substantial stress on already lengthened muscle groups, this easy train affords thrilling advantages.
Accelerated Muscular Development
Mechanical stress, or the end-to-end pulling drive skilled by muscle tissue, is mostly accepted to be a main driver of muscle development (hypertrophy). (3)(4) Muscle mass expertise mechanical stress because of muscle contraction and stretch-induced contributions. These forces mix and, when nice sufficient, set off a cascade of mobile occasions that finally end in muscle development. (3)
Coaching at lengthy muscle lengths will increase the stretch-induced contributions to mechanical stress. Rising proof means that coaching muscle groups of their lengthened place ends in larger charges of muscle hypertrophy. (5)(6)(7) Sadly, no long-term hypertrophy examine so far has centered on the pullover. Nevertheless, the architectural properties of latissimus dorsi and pectoralis main, two main muscle groups of the pullover, counsel that coaching at lengthy lengths could also be significantly efficient. (4)(8)
Not like lat pulldowns, pull-ups, and chin-ups, the resistance torque of the dumbbell pullover is maximized within the overhead place. That is additionally the place the place the typical lifter’s lats and pecs are at or close to their longest lengths — Altogether, the dumbbell pullover seems to impose ideally suited calls for for “stretch-induced hypertrophy.”
The dumbbell pullover trains the shoulder extensor muscle groups at lengthy muscle lengths — within the “stretched” place. Along with the potential hypertrophy advantages, common resistance coaching is thought to advertise adjustments in muscle construction and enhance flexibility. (9)(10) Within the short-term, a single bout of resistance coaching ends in quick will increase in shoulder flexion vary of movement. (11) Improved shoulder flexion could also be fascinating, as a result of even devoted gym-goers can endure from restricted vary of movement. For instance, aggressive powerlifters — those that focus totally on the bench press, squat, and deadlift — could reveal substantial limitations in shoulder flexion. (12)
Though analysis on the direct impact of the dumbbell pullover on shoulder flexibility is proscribed, proof is mounting to help its efficacy. Morton and colleagues in contrast the consequences of 5 weeks of resistance coaching or static stretching on flexibility. The resistance coaching group accomplished 4 weekly units of the dumbbell pullover. (10)
Whereas each teams confirmed improved shoulder flexibility, the resistance coaching group confirmed a pattern for superior shoulder extension positive factors. (10) Whereas coaching durations higher than 5 weeks could also be essential to substantiate the impact or present statistically vital findings, it seems the dumbbell pullover is a minimum of equal to stretching for shoulder flexibility.
Improved Overhead Energy and Stability
In comparison with different frequent free weight workouts, the pullover requires your shoulders to work via a higher vary of movement and ends in considerably higher shoulder joint torques when equally loaded. (13) Knowledgeable by the specificity precept, these options could end in superior energy and stability variations, particularly via the overhead vary of movement.
The pullover works the belly core together with the shoulders. Combining overhead train with core coaching is beneficial for integrating energy into whole-body actions and resisting challenges to shoulder place. (14) Programmed appropriately, the pullover seems to be a powerful train choice for focused shoulder strengthening and robustification.
The first motion resisted by the dumbbell pullover is shoulder extension. (1) Subsequently, the train trains the muscle groups that stretch the shoulder. Figuring out these muscle groups could seem easy, however few workouts reveal the complexities of purposeful anatomy higher than the pullover.
In fundamental anatomy, we be taught muscle actions from “anatomical place” — a place along with your arms at your sides. However the dumbbell pullover happens via overhead vary of movement, and since muscle actions could change as joints transfer away from anatomical place, referencing an anatomy textbook to find out the muscle groups that stretch the shoulder labored throughout the pullover could also be deceptive. Furthermore, totally different components of broad or fan-shaped muscle groups could also be biased all through sure ranges of movement. In excessive instances, one a part of a muscle could have a wholly totally different motion than different components of the muscle. (15)(16)
Till a long-term coaching examine consisting solely of dumbbell pullovers is carried out, we lean on anatomical modeling and electromyography research to deduce the reply to the query, “What muscle groups are skilled by the pullover?”
The latissimus dorsi is a broad, fan-shaped muscle spanning from the low- and mid-back, pelvis, and again of the ribcage as much as the arm. (2)(8) Latissimus dorsi is energetic throughout the Pullover. (17)(18)(19) The decrease fibers, or iliac half, which attaches to the pelvis, are handiest for producing shoulder extension, the motion resisted by the pullover. (8)(16)
Positioned prominently on the chest, the pectoralis main is one other massive, fan-shaped muscle. It’s generally divided into two components — the higher clavicular head and the center to decrease sternocostal head. Every half contributes disproportionately to numerous shoulder actions.
For pec coaching, actions like bench press, pec flye, and incline press are frequent. Nevertheless, the sternocostal head of pectoralis main is energetic throughout the pullover. (18)(19) Accessible information counsel the decrease fibers of pectoralis main act to increase the shoulder via the overhead vary of movement. (16) Subsequently, the sternocostal pectoralis main is taken into account a main goal of the pullover.
The posterior deltoid, or “rear delt,” extends the shoulder. It’s energetic throughout the pullover. (19) From a mechanical standpoint, research counsel the posterior deltoid is a extra environment friendly shoulder extensor throughout the pullover than the latissimus dorsi or pectoralis main. (15)(16) It’s because posterior deltoid demonstrates extra “leverage” to supply extension (i.e. a higher extension “second arm”) all through the arc of movement skilled by the pullover. (15)(16) Whereas the pullover may not be your first decide in relation to posterior deltoid coaching, don’t underestimate its potential to construct the again of your shoulders.
The triceps brachii’s main motion is to increase the elbow. As well as, the lengthy head of triceps brachii extends the shoulder. Finally, the triceps stop extreme elbow flexion and help with the precept actions of the pullover. The muscle controls the motion into shoulder flexion throughout the downward part and extends the shoulder throughout the upward part. (17)(18)(19)
Serratus Anterior and Abdominals
The serratus anterior consists of small projections that run diagonally alongside the ribcage. It acts on the shoulder blade. The decrease portion of serratus anterior has been proven to be significantly energetic within the backside half of the pullover. (20)
The belly muscle groups are energetic throughout the Pullover to withstand extreme arching of the trunk, which might in any other case be brought on by the dumbbell touring overhead. (18) It’s truthful to categorize the pullover as an anti-extension belly train.
As a single-joint motion, the dumbbell pullover is often categorized as an adjunct train. Historically, accent workouts are carried out after multi-joint (“compound”) workouts. When programming equipment, keep away from extraordinarily heavy hundreds and one-repetition most makes an attempt. Slightly, give attention to a number of grueling, moderate-to-high repetition units.
Average Weight, Average Repetitions
These wishing to construct muscle and energy with the pullover ought to contemplate three to 4 units of eight to 12 repetitions. Carried out after chin-ups or heavy lat pulldowns, pullovers permit you wring out a bit extra hypertrophy work with out taxing your grip.
Low to Average Weight, Excessive Repetitions
Pullovers are a higher train to start or finish your higher physique exercise. As an opener originally of your exercise, pullovers prime your shoulders for subsequent overhead lifts. As a finisher to finish your coaching session, pullovers present a dose of “pump work” and a potent stimulus for hypertrophy. Two to 4 units of twelve to sixteen repetitions will do the job.
Basic workouts are likely to accumulate many variants over time, and the pullover is not any totally different. Pullover variations have a tendency to modify out the resistance implement (e.g. dumbbell for a barbell) or the help floor (e.g. bench for a Swiss ball). 4 of the most typical pullover variations are proven beneath.
Cross-Bench Dumbbell Pullover
The cross-bench dumbbell pullover is carried out by orienting the physique perpendicular to the bench and performing the train from a bridge place.
Not solely does this setup facilitate exercise of the glutes nevertheless it additionally encourages a steady pelvis place and permits the solo lifter to position the dumbbell conveniently on the bench earlier than and after train completion.
With out entry to a full run of dumbbells? Having bother securely holding the dumbbell throughout the pullover? In that case, you might want to attempt the EZ-bar pullover.
The EZ-bar permits incremental loading with “change plates.” The semi-pronated interior grips on the bar could also be simpler to carry for these with stiff forearms, tight shoulders, or smaller arms.
These coaching for shoulder stability could want to contemplate the single-arm dumbbell pullover. By coaching unilaterally, you’re difficult your shoulder to manage motion in an extra airplane.
Owing to the pure tradeoff between stability and most load, count on to drop the burden 60 to 80% for the single-arm dumbbell pullover.
Cable pullovers are carried out with a pulley or cable column set to a low place, whereas holding a triceps rope, strap, or brief bar. The cable pullover adjustments the road of the resistance. As an alternative of encountering most resistance torque at or close to the underside place as within the dumbbell pullover, the shoulders expertise most resistance torque earlier within the motion throughout cable pullovers.
The cable resistance additionally will increase the productive vary of movement of the train. Slightly than ending the repetition with vertical arms, proceed “pulling over” till the cable gently grazes your brow.
It’s each. The pullover additionally hits muscle groups within the shoulders, arms, and trunk. (16)(17)(18)(19)(20)
For those who’re utilizing a coaching break up, you will want to resolve the best way to categorize the pullover. Some like to incorporate it in “chest day,” as a result of Pullovers hit the decrease portion of pectoralis main. (16) Others put pullovers on “again day,” as it may be used to coach latissimus dorsi earlier than or after grip-intensive train resembling rows, lat pulldowns, or pull-ups. The excellent news? There isn’t a improper reply.
The straight-arm pushdown, additionally referred to as “stiff-arm pulldown” or “lat prayer,” is a shoulder extension train carried out standing with a cable machine or excessive pulley. This train could also be interesting for a number of causes. There’s is not any must occupy a bench, the upright place permits you to monitor your kind (and your “pump”) within the mirror, and altering weights is less complicated on the cable stack. However for lifters looking for hypertrophy, the crux of the query is just not comfort and even the “really feel” of the train. It comes all the way down to inherent variations between train biomechanics.
The pullover and pulldown are totally different workouts, every with its personal distinctive resistance profile and muscular exercise sample. (18) Anecdotally, lifters are likely to “really feel” their lats extra throughout pulldowns than pullovers. The reverse appears to be true for “feeling” pectoralis main. Certainly, the pulldown reveals higher muscle exercise within the latissimus dorsi than the pullover, and the pullover reveals higher muscle exercise in all components of pectoralis main than the pulldown. (18)
Does this imply the pullover is healthier for again and the pulldown is healthier for chest? Completely not. This false impression stems from a typical misunderstanding of train electromyography (EMG) research. Larger EMG doesn’t equal a “higher train,” as a result of we can’t predict long run coaching outcomes from EMG research alone. (24)(25) Furthermore, EMG is just not a legitimate indicator of mechanical stress, a key driver of muscular variations. (24)(3)
In brief, many options have to be thought of when figuring out train choice. These embody, however are usually not restricted to coaching targets, private preferences, and the way the train matches into this system as a complete.
Presently, there isn’t a definitive pullover approach modification to bias one agonist muscle over one other. Though some have claimed flaring the elbows throughout the pullover favors latissimus dorsi and maintaining elbows straight favors pectoralis main, both approach compromises the train.
Flaring the elbows outward ends in shoulder inner rotation, which takes stress off latissimus dorsi. (26) — Not fascinating when you want to make the most of elevated stress within the muscle, stretch-mediated hypertrophy, and suppleness advantages of the train. (4)(8)(9)
Protecting your elbows utterly straight appears to make it simpler to “really feel” or contract your pecs on the high of the repetition, nevertheless it additionally requires excessive shoulder abduction on the backside of the repetition (consider your biceps touching your earlobes). I don’t advocate both choice.
The Perplexing Pullover
The pullover train is a conundrum. It’s carried out in hardcore bodybuilding gyms and rehabilitation clinics, alike. It’s an train for constructing muscle and enhancing vary of movement. It’s a again train and a chest train. It’s beloved and hated.
Regardless of its complexities, the dumbbell pullover has stood the take a look at of time. Perhaps now’s the time to give attention to pullovers in your coaching program?
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