Dumbbell pullovers build your chest and lats (the muscles in the middle-to-lower back). That makes them a good addition to your upper body strength routine. It’s best to start with less weight when you first attempt the exercise and increase resistance as you become stronger.
Benefits of Performing Dumbbell Pullovers
The classic dumbbell pullover is a widely used resistance exercise that primarily strengthens the muscles in the chest (pectoralis major). “It also engages the large wing-shaped muscles in the back (latissimus dorsi), the core muscles, and the back of the upper arms (triceps)”.
“The dumbbell pullover is considered a postural exercise as performing the full movement requires that you keep the spine in a lengthened, stable position. This move also helps open and increase flexibility in the chest and upper body”. These areas often become tight, especially in those with computer or desk jobs.
Weight training, in general, increases muscle mass. But when you choose exercises that require the muscles to stretch under load, the potential for muscle gain increases. The overhead reach required by the pullover movement stretches the muscles of the chest.
In addition, the large movement involved in this exercise engages and strengthens nearby muscles better than related exercises. “For example, one study determined that triceps activation was higher during the dumbbell pullover than during the bench press. Other research has shown that the anterior deltoid (front of the shoulder) is stimulated during this exercise”.
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- Grasp a dumbbell with both hands and position yourself on a flat bench with your shoulder blades resting on the bench.
- You should be at a 90-degree angle to the bench. Your back shoulder be straight, knees bent at 90 degrees, and feet firmly planted on the floor.
- Holding the dumbbell in both hands, straighten your arms so that dumbbell is directly overhead. This is the starting position.
- Bending at the shoulders only and keeping your arms straight, slowly lower the weight down behind your head until the dumbbell reaches the height of the bench.
- Slowly raise the dumbbell back to the starting position.
- Repeat for desired reps.
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- Do not bend at the elbows.
- Do not let the dumbbell go too far forward. The starting position is directly above your head and the dumbbell should not go any further than that.
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