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DB Pullover Tips

Have added these but having a couple of problems - what are your experiences with this?

  1. Trying to do it where only your back is touching the bench (lying across the bench) and when I lower the weight it feels like the whole chest regions is about to be crushed. Is this something you just get used to? Or can the exercise be done by lying conventionally on a bench?

  2. SEEM to feel it in the lats a lot. Is this common? Or does it mean I’m doing it completely wrong (I assume that by increasing range of motion you engage lats more, but I may be wrong)

Any help would be massively appreciated.

I’d also like to hear opinions on this. Arnie endorsed them as a means of ‘expanding the rip cage’, if such a thing is possible.
I also seem to predominantly feel my lats.

If memory serves, they are both a chest stretch and lat build exercise. Try them on a decline bench, I started doing them that way and never looked back.

Lats should be the primary mover with these, and yes, doing them at a decline is a superior movement, in my opinion. It increases the range of motion, while reducing shoulder impingement.

I actually prefer doing these with cables…provides constant tension, and you don’t have to waste as much energy on stabilizing the weight. A rope, short EZ bar, or short straight bar all work well. I prefer the rope the most, as it’s easier on the wrists.

I don’t focus on “working” my chest when doing these (other than keeping a big chest at the bottom of the movement)…focus on the stretch (not maximal stretch) of the lats at the bottom of the movement (don’t come to a complete stop at the bottom of each rep, but be sure to remain “tight” at the bottom), and initiating the pull with the lats. When using cables, I like to pull each rep all the way up, until my hands are basically over my stomach (the cable provides tension throughout the whole ROM). If using a DB, I’d stop your pull when your hands are above your upper chest, otherwise you lose some tension in the lats, and if you’re arms are locked out, you’d basically be supporting the weight due to a locked elbow position.

Also, if you internally rotate your upper arms each rep as you pull the weight up, it would involve the chest a bit more, as they are internal rotators of the upper arm.

Pullovers are great for working the serratus…which may be why people confuse them with a “chest” exercise.

best tip

do them with a curl bar off the floor.

I have some difficulty really feeling my lats work on DB pullovers, so I started doing straight-arm pulldowns, sometimes with a rope, but mostly with wide placement on a lat pulldown bar. That really does the trick for me, and I get an awesome stretch and burn in my lats.

I’m going to keep working on my form/execution with DBs, but for the purpose of working that movement into my routine, I like doing 'em standing up.

I used to do pullovers across a bench quite a bit, both heavy and also light sets in between squat sets. Had to stop for a while because they hurt my shoulders (due to neglecting flexibility work, not because they are a bad movement). Just started doing them again and I think they are valuable for mobility (thoracic extension I believe) even if you didn’t actually build any muscle - and I think you will, with pullovers. I’m starting to think there are some ‘worthless’ exercises that might be good for this same reason (broomstick twists as a warmup, for example).

To answer the OP, the less flexible/mobile you are in your shoulders/lats/chest (upper body, period) the less comfortable they are. Keep working them while being mindful not to aggravate your shoulders.

They’re almost worthless

Free weight pullovers are hard to manage when you get into heavy weight.

Find your way to a Nautilus pullover machine instead.