Exercise pullover – strength exercises for the development of chest muscles

pullover exercise

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Used in fitness training and bodybuilding exercise pullover, causes a lot of doubts and contradictory opinions among beginners and experienced athletes. On the one hand, it is considered to be one of the best for the development of the thoracic and dorsal muscles; on the other hand, it is quite dangerous, since, if performed incorrectly, it can overload the shoulder joint and the abdominal muscles, provoke a loss of control over the used burdens. What really represents a pullover, will allow to understand this article.


Pullover exercise
Pullover exercise



What is the essence of the exercise?

Pullover is an isolating exercise bodybuilding, aimed at stretching the muscles, expanding the volume of the chest, supporting work on the relief. Its name is due to two English words – “pull“, Which means pulling and”over“, That is, upward. As the name suggests, this exercise is built on stretching, while actively are involved The 2 largest muscle mass located in the back and chest area.

There are 2 types of pullovers:

  • power – aimed at training the muscles and performed on moderately bent arms;
  • respiratory – aimed at expanding the volume of the chest, for which it is performed on straight arms.

When performing both exercises, the movement is made by the shoulder joints, while the elbow remains immobile.

Exercise pullover is traditionally practiced in conjunction with other exercises. Thanks to the versatility of this exercise, it can be performed on the day of training of pectoral muscles, like power, together with “press“, The day of training of the dorsal muscles, performing along with the” pull “and the day of training the muscles of the legs, combining the breathable pullovers and squats.

Particularly useful inclusion of pullover in training will be for beginners, who have an asthenic physique, with a hollow, underdeveloped thorax. Correct execution of this exercise contributes to the all-round development of the chest, stimulates its growth in volume, allows the use of muscle massifs, which remain practically unloaded when performing standard exercises for the development of the muscles of the chest – press lying down.

The maximal effect in thorax can be achieved by performing a pullover exercise in the age of up to 27 years, while the ideal age category for his practice is 15-20 years, for both boys and girls. In the older age, this exercise will also be useful, although the effect of the deep chest will be less pronounced. Combining pullovers with respiratory squats at the age of up to 20 years, you can increase the chest in a volume of 3-5 cm.


Exercise pullover with a dumbbell
Exercise pullover with a dumbbell


What muscles work?

When carrying out pullover in the prone position, the following muscles are involved in different degrees:

  • thoracic – large and small;
  • triceps and beaky-brachial muscle;
  • anterior notched muscles;
  • the broadest and diamond-shaped muscle;
  • large round muscle.

When deciding what action the pullover exercises on the muscle mass, which muscles work as basic and which as auxiliary, it should be noted that the degree of congestion in muscle fibers is not the same and depends on the amplitude of execution, as well as the presence or absence of tilt at the bench used.

Being in the starting position, the triceps and pectoral muscles are stretched. When performing the exercise on a horizontal bench, the broadest muscles are included in the work at the beginning of the movement, but they do not show much themselves, since they are in an anatomically uncomfortable position. When the arms are lifted from behind the head, the chest muscles and triceps get the most tension, at this moment, at a stressful contraction. Returning to the starting position involves, again putting into operation, the latissimus muscles, thereby relieving tension from the pectoral muscles.

To use the latissimus muscles, having loaded them more strongly, pullover it is recommended to practice on the inclined bench, having occupied a position head down. If a pullover exercise is intended for the back, then you can also perform it by occupying a position across the bench. Being in a position across the bench, the dorsal muscles, without an abutment, are able to naturally stretch. Additional load on the back muscles is created by hands that are slightly bent. The lifting of the load must be carried out “vnatyag“, With a constant sense of tension in the widest muscles.

When pulling an exercise for pectoral muscles “in a supine position”, it is better to take the position along the bench, thereby reducing the load on the muscles of the back and maximally using the thoracic muscular massif. Hands should be straight and straight – this will make them work extra. Completely mastered the technique of exercise, it is permissible to slightly increase the weight of the load in order to increase the load on the muscular mass of the breast. In order to maximize the breast pullover, it should be combined with other power exercises for the thoracic muscle group.


Exercise pullover - working muscles
Exercise pullover – working muscles


Advantages and disadvantages

Considering that the pullover exercise trains, it should be noted that it will be especially useful for women. With a technically correct pullover version, it works:

  • on the pectoral muscles, stretching their upper parts, contributing to the acquisition of female breast elasticity and tightness;
  • on triceps – another problem area of ​​the female figure;
  • the broadest muscles, stretching them, strengthening the back;
  • straight muscles of the press.

In addition, the small and deltoid muscles of the back, the front serrated muscle, are involved.

Pullover refers to exercises of medium complexity, and because of the weak overall load exerted on the muscles – to isolated exercises. If we consider the table with the load exerted on the muscles during the pullover and evaluated on a 10-level scale, the following appears:

The widest muscles 8
Chest muscles 3
Triceps 3

These indicators do not allow you to practice pullover, as a center exercise in the training program. Its task is only to strengthen action squatspress lying, deadlift. Entering it into the training program, it is quite real:

  • strengthen the muscular framework and shoulder joints;
  • chest is added to the volume;
  • to emphasize muscular relief.

Failure to comply with the pullover technique, its improper execution, leads to an overload of the cartilage of the shoulder joint, which leads to the need to take a break in training for up to 6 months. Avoid this problem will allow a good warm-up, accurate performance with the observance of the amplitude, the use of small scales.

When carrying out pullover in the prone position on the bench, you should then watch that the head rests against the bench, otherwise, the load can provoke neck stretching and the appearance of chronic pain.

According to some representatives of sports medicine, pullover performance in the supine position on the bench, without support of the back, can negatively affect the abdominal wall.

What is the best way to make a pullover exercises: with straight arms or half bent?

Everything is very simple: Pullover with bent arms is a strength exercise that strengthens your muscles and gives them relief. Pullover with straight arms is a different exercise, the purpose of which is to enlarge the chest. Usually this exercise is performed after repeated repetitions, when the lungs are already well “rocked”. Such squats are called breathing.

Technique of execution

To perform a classic pullover in the “lying on the back” position, you will need a horizontal bench and a relatively heavy bar (up to 15 kg) or a dumbbell, which in time can be replaced by a load with a slightly larger weight.

Attention! The main purpose of the pullover is stretching muscles and forced breathing, and not lifting large weights.

So, how do you do pullover exercise? Let’s figure it out step by step:

  1. Lie down or across the bench, with your back pressed against it, rest your feet on the floor, bending your knees and spreading them wider. Take the dumbbell with both hands so that its handle fits into the hole formed by the large and remaining 8 fingers, and the palms are placed on the inner disc.
  2. During the starting position, compressing the dumbbells, the arms are almost in an extended position, just above the chest.
  3. After inhaling, gently, without jerks, lower the dumbbell backwards, winding it behind the head, so that one line with the body turns out. At the same time, the arms are slightly bent, and all the muscles are stretched. Exhalation.
  4. Lock the position for 2 seconds, after inhaling, and on exhalation return to the starting position.

You can achieve more if you strengthen the pullover complex of squats with its own weight or dumbbell, the bar – 2-3 sets of 10 exercises. Having loaded breath with squats, and tired muscles, without a break start to execute pullover. Other variations of the exercise are carried out on the same principle. Instead of a bench, while doing the exercise, you can use fitball. (we recommend exercises on fitbole for weight loss).


Exercise pullover on fitball
Exercise pullover on fitball


Having included the exercise pullover technique technique which was described above, into the training plan and, supplementing it with a set of pre-made squats or press legs on the simulator, you can achieve a more rapid and qualitative result of the growth of the chest. During training pullover it is recommended to perform 3 sets of 8-15 repetitions, increasing the number of visits to 4-6 with time.

See also: The best triceps exercises

Pullover exercise for women is performed with a weight of less weight – 5-8 kg, while the number of approaches and repetitions remains the same – 2-3 sets and up to 15 repetitions.

Types of exercise

Exercise pullover can be performed with a bar having a standard or curved neck, with dumbbells, block simulator.

Exercise pullover with a dumbbell without support from the bottom of the back

Most often practiced in gyms. For its execution, you need a dumbbell weighing 10 kg. It must be put on a bench, and then lie down perpendicularly, so that the upper part of the chest – the shoulder blades and shoulders – is placed on the bench. Forming a position similar to the bridge, the body has two points of emphasis – shoulders and legs bent at a slight angle. Further, having grasped the dumbbell with both hands “into the lock” under the upper part, it is withdrawn practically on straight hands to the position above the breast.

Since in this position the pelvic part is located below the shoulder girdle, the key load is placed on the latissimus muscles. Slightly bending his elbows and taking a breath, gently pull the dumbbell behind his head as low as possible. Having reached the point at which there is a feeling of maximum muscle stretching, also slowly take up the dumbbell and exhale, bring it to the starting position above the chest. During the exercise, make sure that the hips stay in a fixed position – without lifting or lowering together with the lowering of the dumbbell.

Attention! When carrying a pullover with dumbbells, it is practiced, as one heavy shell, and two light dumbbells taken by a neutral grip in each hand.

Exercise pullover with a bar in the supine position with support for the back

Performed by athletes with some experience. To perform a breathable pullover with a bar, it is necessary to take the position of “lying down on a bench”, to rest your feet on the floor, bending your knees. Starting position: both brushes grasp the bar with a grip on the width of the chest, holding it on arms outstretched just above the chest. Take a breath, then fix your hands in your elbows and slowly drop the bar to the parallel with the floor, winding her by the head, as if describing a semicircle and stretching the muscles of the chest. Having reached the bottom point, once again inhale the air and stay for a second. Keeping the tension in the pectoral muscles, repeat the trajectory of the movement in reverse order, returning to the starting position while simultaneously exhaling.

Attention! For a pullover with a barbell, it is most convenient to use a projectile with a small neck, for example, with a wavy “EZ”.


Exercise pullover with a barbell
Exercise pullover with a barbell


Pullover on the simulator

You can perform the exercise using a block simulator “Nautilus” or cross-trainer. In the first case, the trajectory will be clear and unchanged. When running on a cross-trainer, the trajectory and its amplitude can vary slightly due to the distance between the athlete and the simulator, the grip applied, the adjustment of the cables and wheels. You can carry out a pullover with a simulator by taking a position sitting or standing.

As an isolating exercise for training the dorsal muscles, the pullover is practiced with a block simulator. To perform it, you need to stand up, turning your face to the simulator and take up the width of your shoulders with a grip on the handle. In this case, the back should be straightened, the lumbar region slightly bent, and the whole body tilted at a slight angle, the arms – practically straightened in the joints. On exhalation pull the handle of the simulator down. Pointing it to the hips, fix the position for 1 second, then return to its original position.

Pullover, performed with burdening or with a simulator, differ in the load. It is believed that the simulators give a smaller stretch, compared to the exercise performed with dumbbells or a barbell. Nevertheless, due to the stability of the load provided by the simulators, their practice, unlike burdening, allows you to effectively increase the muscle mass.

To expand the chest, it is important to master the only sure way to exercise pullover. The most common version of the pullover exercise is the classic one: on a bench with a dumbbell and barbell. Other variations are not much different from it.

Before proceeding to the training, it is important to learn how to feel the target muscles involved in the work: the dentate anterior and the broadest. To achieve this, stand upright, straight arms (palms down) stretch in front of you, with your chest forward. Raising your arms slowly up, stretch out like a string. Also, slowly lower your hands, trying to catch the work of the muscles listed above.


Common Mistakes

The most common errors allowed when performing different pullover options are:

  • jerky movements performed during the exercise, reduce its effectiveness, cause injuries;
  • improper breathing, its delay can cause dizziness;
  • an increase in the amplitude of motion when the barbell or other projectile is excessively dislodged by the head leads to an increase in the level of trauma;
  • high speed of movement reduces the quality of muscle training;
  • lifting the hips during the exercise, leads to a shift in the load from the thoracic region, and therefore, reduces the effectiveness of the exercise;
  • the emphasis in the floor with the arching of the back during the “breathable pullover” can lead to a trauma to the waist;
  • the alignment of the arms in the elbows during the exercise can provoke a loss of control over the dumbbells and as a result – shoulder injuries;
  • rocking and sharp tearing movements when carrying a pullover with a simulator or bar creates stress for the shoulder joint, or rather, its cartilaginous tissues. A sharp return to the starting position, when the bar of the simulator rises upwards, in combination with the arms straightened in the elbows, leads to the appearance of inflammatory processes;
  • the use of shells with a large weight – a typical mistake of beginners, resulting in overload of the shoulders. In the pullover, weight is not the main thing, therefore at the initial stage of training it will be enough to have a light bar – about 15 kg or dumbbells – 10 kg. Unsure in the forces of beginners, and at all at development of exercise, it is recommended to carry out it with an empty stamp to provide safety of a humeral belt and a press.


exercise pullover
Exercise pullover


One of the typical mistakes also made by newcomers is the combination of a pullover with other exercises for the development of the shoulder girdle. Pullover is designed to “finish” the chest muscle mass, but not the shoulder. Shoulder joints can not cope with the load obtained by combining the pullover with other exercises of the shoulder girdle.

Doing pullover with dumbbells or barbell, you should pay special attention to the second part of the exercise, because as the hands are raised, the load exerted on the muscles being worked on decreases.

As a complex exercise, the pullover involves the muscles of the front of the body, the shoulder girdle, the arms and the abdominal press. It is optimal for “endeavors“Working muscles at the final stage of complex training, both beginners and experienced athletes. To avoid painful injuries during training exercises, beginners should be careful, mastering a pullover with a light weight and avoiding sudden movements.

To summarize:

In this article, we tried to analyze in detail the Pulover exercise, the purpose of which is to expand your chest. Perform it regularly, just fall in love with it, and the result of your efforts will not slow you down. After only some three to four months, you will notice that the size of your pectoral muscles is gradually, at a steady pace, approaching the desired result. After all, it is so important to see the effect of what you are doing. I wish you success in your hard work!