Dumbbell Pullover


Form Friday: Dumbbell Pullover

by Devin Sarno, NSCA-CPT

Exercise: Dumbbell Pullover

Muscle Groups: Pectoralis Major, Latissimus Dorsi, Triceps

Importance: Aside from horizontal pressing and vertical pulling, this unique exercise allows for you to target both pecs and lats in a different way. While this exercise works more pecs than lats, it is unique in that it targets both at the same time. 

Proper Form:

  1. Using one dumbbell, place both hands on the inside of one of the dumbbell heads
  2. Lie with your upper back/shoulder perpendicular on the bench with your feet flat on the floor and your hips up in the air so that your body and the bench are forming a “T” (similar to the set up of a hip thruster)
  3. Extend your arms so that the dumbbell is over the top of your forehead with nearly fully extended arms; you should keep a slight bend in your elbows
  4. Moving at the shoulder joint and keeping your arms relatively straight, slowly begin to lower the weight down behind your head
  5. Lower the weight until the dumbbell reaches approximately the height of the bench
  6. Moving only at the shoulder joint, slowly raise or “pull” the dumbbell back over the top of your head until it reaches the starting position
  7. Repeat for the desired number of reps

Progression/Regression: Perform the exercise laying on the floor for more stability, or on a stability ball for more of a challenge.


  • Do not flex or extend at the elbows at all throughout the movement
  • Do not pull the dumbbell too far forward; this will take the tension off of the muscles you are trying to work
  • Ke ep the hips up throughout the movement so that you have a neutral body line

Sample Workout-5 rounds:

  • 15 Push-ups
  • 10 Dumbbell Pullovers
  • 5 Pull-ups