T Nation

The Pullover's Place?


In all my readings of the main T-Nation program writers, (CT, Waterbury, etc) i have yet to read any recommending the use of pullovers, which i find strange since they are heavy, compound movements.

I certainly have not been at this game as long as most of the other T-men and women out there, so please enlighten me to why pullovers do not seem to be a popular option for vertical pulling exercises, along with chins/pullups.



Unless I'm doing them wrong, pullovers are not a compound movement. Pullovers and siimilar movements are good for targeting the lats without involving the elbow flexors.


If I recall correctly the pullover mostly hit the long head of the tricep more than the lats and/or chest. I remember seeing charts for muscle activation %'s in certain exercises and this was the case.

Personally I think pullovers are a waste of time. Give me heavy pressing movements, dips and dumbbell flyes any day of the week! Just my opinion.


It's a good movement. I'm not sure why it's not more popular.

Having said that, I don't do too many myself either. They are most definitely compound if you use a full range.


CT does include them in his Mutation Program. I believe he mentioned them somewhere in a Prime Time as well.

I love them, done crossbench with a DB, full rom.  Powerfull movement, feels just right for my body.


What does range of motion have to do with it? You are only moving the shoulder joint. Unless you are flexing/entending the elbow as well, it is not a compound movement.


I like the db pullover to tricep extension movement. You can go pretty heavy and really blast the tri's/serratus/lats.


I love the pullover done crossbench with a dumbbell. I do it on chest days or a chest/back day. I do not feel it much in my lats unless done strictly, but I get a awesome feel in my upper chest/triceps and ribs (pullovers do not work the serratus, so I like to compliment them with standing barbell raises.)


One of my favorite super sets/giant sets of all time:

  1. Preacher curls, ez bar
    add some weight, then
    go to the decline (or flat) bench, and
  2. close-grip bench press
  3. pullovers
  4. upright hows

I discovered this by accident, and can't explain how good the pump I get off of it is. I don't do it aften, but it's a good end of workout on chest, lats, and/or triceps day.


Bodybuilders did plenty of Pullovers in the 50's 60's and into the 70's as they believed them to be great for expanding the chest and working the small muscles in and around the rib cage. And obviously other larger muscles as well.

While they have fallen out of favor (like everything does given enough time) I think they are a great movement.

Do they actually expand the chest (very controversial)? I have no idea. But like many movements that the old timers did, they did them for a reason!



I've been bodybuilding since 1977 and while the pullover is a great exercise the idea that it enlarges the rib cage is very doubtful.

John Paul Catanzaro did mention in his T-Nation article "Pop 'Em Out Muscles" that the pullover does hit the pec minor. Developing both the pec major and minor the would give the appearance of thicker pecs (just look at Arnold or Franco Columbo).


That makes sense. As I said it is very controversial.