A Better Pullover

The dumbbell pullover has been an old-school bodybuilding staple for ages. For the record, I'm not bashing the exercise itself – rather the implement being used: the dumbbell.

Dumbbell Pullover

Many lifters use pullovers, in part, to train the lats. But the force angle used in a dumbbell pullover will only hit the top half of the lats, and only through about 40% of the movement, at most.

Once the weight passes eye level and approaches the chest and abs, gravity takes over and the shoulders, chest, and triceps begin to bear the load. And that's without considering that it's pretty hard to make the back contract and lock/unlock the shoulder blades while you're lying directly on them.

To make the best of a bad situation, set up an overhead cable pulley and a dual-handled rope (or bar if that's all you have) in front of a bench.

Cable Pullover

Lie across the bench as you would in a conventional pullover, only grab the ropes or bar instead of a dumbbell.

Since the resistance will now pull your arms overhead towards the cable pulley (and not down towards the floor), you can use your lats to contract directly against the resistance for a much greater percentage of the movement pattern. Problem solved. For best results, use a decline bench.

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