Dumbbell Pullovers

Why Should You do Dumbbell Pull Overs?

The side muscles of the back, your lats, attach to the humerus and are therefore responsible for pulling the arms down towards the body. This exercise is only about pulling down the arms in this way, which makes it a good lats exercise.

Exercise Details for Dumbbell Pullovers

  • Primary Muscle
  • Secondary Muscle
  • Equipment
  • Level


Use a suitable weight; it can be a dumbbell or a barbell. Take out a bench and lie on your back so that your head is on the edge of the bench. You can also lie cross-legged with only the upper back of the bench. The advantage of this is that you can lower your hips below the height of the bench and get an extra good stretch in your lats muscles. If you want to lie as usual on the bench, you can tilt it slightly upwards for the same effect as the hip. Lift the weight against the ceiling just above your shoulders so that your arms are straight—prone grip for a barbell and both palms under the top weight of a dumbbell. Pull your shoulders back and push your chest forward. You are now in start mode.

Now slowly shift the weight backward and at the same time bend your arms so that the upper and lower arm has an angle of about 90 degrees between them. Once you have bent your arms, they should be fixed in this position. Pull back and lower your arms as far as you can and feel your lats control the weight. Stop immediately if you feel pain in your shoulders; they must be in the correct position. When you have come as far down as you can, slowly pull up the weight again with the same angle on your arms. However, do not go all the way up but stop when the weight is a little above head height seen from the side. If you go higher up, you will train your chest and triceps muscles, but now you will train lats. When you have reached the right height, lower the weight to the floor again in a controlled manner.

Different Weights and Different Grips

You can vary this exercise by running with a barbell or a single dumbbell that you lift with both hands. However, it works just to run with two dumbbells; it will also be easier to try out different grips. In the text above, we have used a prone grip for the bar, which means that your elbows will flap out from the body a little. With two dumbbells, you can run a neutral grip, palms of your hands facing each other; this makes the elbows go in slightly and can feel better for your shoulders. You can also use an underhand grip, both for barbells and dumbbells, and then the elbows will definitely go in. Try what works best for you!

Tips for Dumbbell Pullovers

  • Feel free to lie across the bench, you can then lower your hip for extra stretch
  • You can also tilt the bench slightly upwards for a lower hip position and an extra stretch effect
  • Bend your arms at least into a 90-degree angle,  rather too much than too little
  • Lower the weight in a slow and controlled manner with tension in the muscle you are exercising
  • Do not go all the way up with the weight but stop just above your head
  • Remember that the lift is done by your lats
  • The exercise can be done with a barbell, a heavy dumbbell or two smaller dumbbells
  • Try different grips. Underhand and neutral grip brings your elbows in and can more gentle to your shoulders

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