Aesthetics & Athletics: EZ Dumbbell Pullovers

Posted on May 2, 2016 at 12:00 AM

In college, my strength and conditioning coach took us through the intricacies of cleans, snatches, jerks, squats, and presses,but left us alone, for the most part, on our upper body conditioning days. One day late in the fall, she gathered us around a flat bench. She explained that the exercise she was about to demonstrate would help us with throwing power, core strength, and it would help define our lats and chest. The exercise was the EZ dumbbell pullover. To this day it’s one of my favorite exercises for increasing power and building wider lats.

To get started, you’ll need a dumbbell and a flat bench. I prefer to lie across the length of the bench, rather than just use the bench to support my shoulders. I feel more stable this way. But, give both a try!

  • Secure the dumbbell between both thumbs and lay back on the bench. Your head should be at the edge of the bench and your feet planted firmly on the ground. Slightly arch your lower back to help pin your shoulders to the bench and engage the lats.

  • Extend the dumbbell directly over your head, keeping just a bit of a bend in your elbows. Slowly lower the weight backwards until you feel a good stretch through your lats and chest. Keeping your arms extended, pull the dumbbell back to the starting point of the exercise (almost directly over your forehead).

Some key points to remember:

  • Keep your arms extended throughout the exercise. Otherwise, you’ll hit more triceps and might not be able to move as much weight.

  • Start with a lighter weight than you’d normally use. Full range of motion and proper form are key to reaping the benefits of this exercise.

  • Try not to allow the dumbbell to reach perpendicular - constant tension on the muscle will help grow and with strengthening the mind-muscle connection.

  • If you opt for a heavier weight, always use a spotter.

For working on power, I might do 5 sets of 5 reps with a heavier weight. If I’m trying to build my lats, I’ll focus more on slower tempo and 4-5 sets of 8-10 reps. With either method, I love how PEAK ATP helps me lift heavier for longer! I have been able to do more volume and have seen great results!

Don’t forget to check out the demonstration video for more tips and tricks! Thanks for reading. Until next time, train hard, y’all!!

- Erin Stern, 2x Ms. Olympia


That's a great exercise
Andrew Mclachlan | 1/30/24 at 1:25 AM
This is an excellent pull over exercise using lighter weight with mind-body connection-keep flexing. You will feel the stretch of your Lat by focusing on the way down, then push with your chest on the way up. It's amazing experience mind-body connection switching fluidly from Lat to chest and then repeat. Professionals bodybuilders quite often using this exercise as their warm up or pre-exhausted exercises before they hit their heavy chest routine.
Tommy T | 1/30/24 at 1:25 AM
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