T Nation

Pull Overs- Lats, Chest, Triceps?

I’ve always thought that pull overs worked the lats, and whenever I would do them it would be on back days. However i’ve seen a few videos where guys do pull overs in their chest routine. I’ve even read on here where one guy says he does it as a triceps exercise. I guess it’s kinda like the DL where some guys use it as a leg exercise and others use it as a back exercise.

I’m just curious as to which muscle is most active when performing pull overs?

And if any of you do pull overs, on what split do you perform them?

Well,depending on form,I think there is a shallow line between tricep extension and a pullover. According to exercisenet, the pullover affects the pec minor as a synergist but is mostly lats. Minor is supposedly not affected by bench and so pullover is a chest novelty in that way perhaps?

Some old-school lifters say it expands the rib cage, not sure if it does, maybe when one is younger. I think of it as mostly a lat move though, unless you incorporate an elbow bend and extension along with moving at the shoulders, that incorporates more tri’s, what someone here called PJs. Haven’t tried them yet myself.

It’s arm extension in the sagital plane from a full flexion


The main mover is the lat. But it is helped by the sternal portion of the pec and the long head of the tricep.

Really it would depend on how you do the movement. If the elbow is fixed then there’s a fat chance you’re getting any tricep involvment. Lower the weight and focus on moving your lats. Squeeze them to initiate the movement. Think of your arms as part of the apparatus and your lats as your arms.

I use a pullover floor press as my main form of chest training now. I definitely feel it in the lats and have notice growth there too. The key is to vary the grip and elbow position

to hit the chest

lay on the floor with the bar behind your head
use a narrow or nuetral grip to grab the bar (bent elbows)
arc your elbows to your waist and push the bar straight up when your elbows touch the ground

for lats

same as above. but keep your arms straightand rather than pushing up, just move your arms back and forth

either way you do it all three will get hit and evn the abs…i’ve found those two variations to be the best at “targeting” each

you should do them on the floor for the protection. the floor limits the risk over over extension

The Immortal

try them on a decline bench for the chest, think of the movement as 180 degrees of a circle or pt A to pt B of a line, from behind the head to resting a top the abdomen, however stop the movement well prior to extending that far.

the decline position allows your ROM to be greater during the chest activation part of the movement. Not a primary chest exercise by any means but it’s nice to put into a routine now and again.

Arnold was a big advocate of the pullover. He said it expanded the rib cage and worked the pecs. And Arnold did indeed have nice pecs.