What Is a Dumbbell Pullover?

The dumbbell pullover is an exercise that is included in strength training and can work on your pecs and lat muscles. If you want to work on your upper body strength, dumbbell pullover exercise can prove to be helpful. 

This exercise is touted as beginner-friendly since you can increase or decrease the weight according to your comfort. You can start with less weight and then increase it gradually to hit your chest and lats harder. 

How to Do Dumbbell Pullovers

Just like most other strength training exercises, perfecting the dumbbell pullover chest exercise form is essential. If you do this pullover workout for back incorrectly, you might end up putting strain on your lower back or the abdominal muscles. Here is a step-by-guide that will help you do dumbbell chest pullover exercise the right way:

  1. Sit on a weight bench, place your feet on the floor, and slide them sideways to create a gap that is wider than the bench.
  2. Hold dumbbells in your hands, roll back on the bench, and ensure that your head, neck, and back have support. 
  3. Now, extend your arms forward, right over your chest. 
  4. Bend your elbows a little and make your palms face each other. 
  5. Breathe in, engage your core, and bring back the weights, over your head. 
  6. This movement should be so slow that 3 to 4 seconds should pass for the weights to reach behind your head. 
  7. Breathe out and return the weights back to over your chest. 

Dumbbell Pullover Exercise: Muscles Worked 

Here is a list of the major muscle groups that get hit by dumbbell pullover workout:

  • Pectoral Muscles
  • Latissimus dorsi
  • Triceps
  • Serratus muscle

Benefits of Doing Dumbbell Pullovers

A regular practice will give you the following pullover exercise benefits :

1. Increases Your Upper Body Strength:

As we just mentioned above, the dumbbell pullover exercise for chest hits a number of major muscle groups of your upper body. These major muscles lie in your chest, hands, and the side of your rib cage. 

2. Improves Your Shoulder Mobility:

A large number of strength training exercises need you to use your shoulder joint. If this joint isn’t able to provide enough mobility, you can not do those exercises. Dumbbell pullover exercise paves the way for other strength training exercises by increasing the strength of your shoulders and improving mobility. 

3. Stabilizes Your Core:

During the full range of motion in cross bench pullover, you activate your core muscles, lower back muscles, and even glutes. If you practice this exercise in the right form, you will be able to stabilize your core. 

4. Ease of Practice:

Most strength training exercises are infamous for how hard they are to practice. While dumbbell pullover chest exercise is included in strength training, it is quite adjustable. There are two reasons for that: first, an incline bench is used in this pullover workout for back, and second, you can increase or decrease the weight according to your body comfort. You can also do its variations like the cable pullover exercise and the medicine ball pullover exercise at home.

Other Variations of Dumbbell Pullovers

You can make changes in the dumbbell chest pullover exercise according to your fitness level and the goals you want to achieve. Here are some variations of cross bench pullover that you can add to your gym or home workouts:

1. Decreasing The Number Of Dumbbells:

If you feel that lifting two dumbbells is too hard for you, you can use one dumbbell instead of two. Just place your free hand on the hand with the dumbbell and complete the pullover gym exercise. You can also use a cable instead of dumbbells for cable pullover exercise.

2. Work More On Your Back:

If your end goal is to work more on your back instead of the chest, you can simply point your elbows towards the feet instead of pointing them towards the outside. This way, you will hit your back muscles harder with this pullover chest workout. 

3. Work On Your Whole Body:

Use a stability ball for the bench and your lower body will get engaged in stabilizing your upper body. This way, your whole body will start working for the dumbbell chest pullover workout. 

Precautions And Safety Points

Here is a list of some precautions and safety points to keep in your mind while you practice the dumbbell pullover workout:

  • Before jumping straight to dumbbell pullover exercise for chest, you should do some warm-up stretches or exercises. This will activate your muscles and make the joints flexible to lift heavy weights in pullover exercise at home.¬†
  • If you have any recent injury to your shoulders or there is a structural limitation in your body that is stopping you from using your shoulder mobility, you should avoid dumbbell pullover exercise back. However, there are a number of other strength training exercises that work on your chest without needing full shoulder mobility.¬†
  • Before you start the dumbbell chest pullover workout, ensure that your hand muscles are comfortable in lifting dumbbells. During this pullover gym exercise, you have to lift the weights over your head, and there is a huge risk if you are not comfortable with weights. If you are a total beginner, you can practice the shoulder pullover exercise movements without adding weights.¬†
  • If you feel pain in any part during the practice of pullover chest workout, you should immediately stop the exercise. Consult a physical therapist or your doctor to make sure that the pain is not a symptom of any other major health problem.¬†
  • If you are just starting with the dumbbell pullover exercise back, two sets of 7 to 10 reps each are enough for you. Once you feel that your body is strong and flexible enough for the shoulder pullover exercise, you can add more weight and do more reps.¬†


The dumbbell pullover is an easy yet effective exercise to be added to your workout for beginners. You can start the exercise with zero or fewer weights and increase according to your strength expertise. If you stick to your workout, this exercise will end up making your pecs and lats muscles strong.

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December 31, 2021

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