Dumbbell Pull Overs are one of our favorite Lat exercises because they’re easy to coach and we feel they’re very effective at building bigger and stronger lats when used in conjunction with more compound Back-Training exercises.
In addition to using the traditional style Dumbbell Pull Overs, there are a few other Lat Pull Over variations we also utilize in the Performance U training system.
This video displays our top 3 ways to do Dumbbell Pull Overs:
Personal Trainer Tips on using Dumbbell Pull Overs:
The hardest part of the dumbbell pullover (i.e. the point of maximal loading on your lats) is when your arms are parallel to the floor, because this is when the lever arm is the longest. With this physics fact in mind, we change the angle of the torso (as displayed in the video above) to change the point of maximal loading on the lats within the range of motion of the dumbbell pullover exercise. Doing so allows us to get more juice out of this great lats exercise application by adding training variety (to keep things fresh) without completely changing the movement.
Put simply, based on the above:
- Inclined Dumbbell pullovers create the greatest stretch on the lats.
- Flat Dumbbell pullovers also create the point of maximal loading on the when the lats are put on stretch. But, due to the bench angle, the stretch is not as great as when performing this exercise from an incline bench.
- Decline Dumbbell Pullover’s create a point of maximal loading on your lats further into the range of motion, closer to the lat muscles’ midrange of action.
When we want to perform flat dumbbell pullovers, will utilize either the traditional method (pictured below) or we’ll lie the length of the bench (as displayed in the video above). The body position we utilize really depends on the individuals’ personal preference.
When performing flat dumbbell pullovers, regardless of how the body is positioned on the bench; we’ll coach up the client to slightly posteriorly (i.e. backward) tilt their pelvis before starting the exercise. We’ve found doing this helps personal training clients to better maintain the spinal alignment we’re looking for, which is avoiding going into excessive lumbar extension as their arms go overhead. Plus, this also creates an anti-back extension element to the dumbbell pullover exercise, which makes this move a nice way to strengthen the abdominals while also strengthening the lats.
Dumbbell Pull Overs Aren’t for Everyone?
Put simply, we like Dumbbell Pull Overs for some folks and not for others. It depends on the individual. To get into how we determine this (via an assessment) is far beyond the scope of this post.
We’re aware that some trainers aren’t into using Dumbbell Pull Overs (for anyone) for one reason or the another. If we felt they were “generally dangerous”, we would not use them. That said, we don’t get caught up in these trainer vs. trainer debates, as they go nowhere. All we can do is share the exercise application that we uses. If you’re not comfortable using this move (or anything else displayed in my articles and posts) for whatever reason, that’s cools as no one said it’s a “must do” exercise. In fact, NO single exercise makes or breaks a lifting program.”