Exercise Profile
  • Target Muscle Group
  • Exercise TypeStrength
  • Equipment RequiredDumbbell
  • MechanicsCompound
  • Force TypePush
  • Experience LevelIntermediate
  • Secondary Muscles
    Lats, Shoulders, Triceps
Target Muscle Group


Chest Muscle Anatomy Diagram

Dumbbell Pullover Instructions

  1. Grasp a dumbbell with both hands and position yourself on a flat bench with your shoulder blades resting on the bench.
  2. You should be at a 90 degree angle to the bench. Your back shoulder be straight, knees bent at 90 degrees, and feet firmly plated on the floor.
  3. Holding the dumbbell in both hands, straighten your arms so that dumbbell is directly overhead. This is the starting position.
  4. Bending at the shoulders only and keeping your arms straight, slowly lower the weight down behind your head until the dumbbell reaches the height of the bench.
  5. Slowly raise the dumbbell back to the starting position.
  6. Repeat for desired reps.

Pullover Tips:

  1. Do not bend at the elbows.
  2. Do not let the dumbbell go too far forward. The starting position is directly above your head and the dumbbell should not go any further than that.
Posted on: Fri, 03/22/2024 - 09:33

How much weight do I use being a beginner but want to grow muscle with these exercises

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Posted on: Tue, 03/26/2024 - 19:57

The lightest you can do that would help you learn the proper form. Start with a weight that you would bet money you could perform the exercise perfectly with. Then, gradually go heavier until you feel challenged without losing form.

Posted on: Tue, 01/02/2024 - 14:29

Hi, does it matter if I lie along the bench instead of at 90 degrees?

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Posted on: Tue, 01/02/2024 - 20:25

Hey Graham, you are supposed to lie 90 degrees to get the best stretch in the lats and longest range of motion. However, if you have back issues or are concerned about balance, lie on the bench in the traditional way. It works as well.

Posted on: Sun, 11/12/2023 - 12:56

Hi. I have a childhood shoulder injury and cannot lift weights above my head.

Are there any alternatives to this exercise?

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Posted on: Sun, 11/26/2023 - 19:54

I would suggest talking to your physician, Mark. Without knowing the extent of the injury, it would be unwise of me to make recommendations.

Posted on: Mon, 09/18/2023 - 18:48

Why is there a push work out on a pull day?

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Posted on: Wed, 09/27/2023 - 13:42

Hi, Dylan. Pullovers work the chest as well as the upper back, especially at the top half of the movement, so many programs include pullovers as well. Hope this helps!

Posted on: Thu, 09/28/2023 - 18:54

Thank you, I was confused because they page said none on secondary muscles lol

Posted on: Tue, 08/22/2023 - 10:51

Can I do it while lying down on the floor without the bench ?

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Posted on: Tue, 08/22/2023 - 20:47

You can. Lie folded blankets on the floor to get a little more range of motion. It won't be completely as effective, but it will work.

Posted on: Mon, 08/28/2023 - 10:38

Thank you

Posted on: Mon, 08/07/2023 - 06:10

Is it normal for this to hit the triceps? I get a serious tricep workout from doing this

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Posted on: Sun, 08/20/2023 - 21:26

Since your triceps are actually connected to the lats, then they will work somewhat. Concentrate on driving the elbows and feeling the stretch in the lats, and that may help minimize the tris working. Also, keep the bend in the elbow the same throughout the rep if possible. If they bend more as you come up, the tris will engage.

Posted on: Wed, 05/31/2023 - 17:36

Can you do it will lying down on a bench? Or do you have to do it specifically that way?

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Posted on: Sat, 06/03/2023 - 15:34

It can be done lying on a bench, Jacob. It isn't as intense, but it will still target the area you want.

Posted on: Wed, 04/19/2023 - 16:46

Can I do this on the edge of my bed, as I do not have a bench

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Posted on: Wed, 04/19/2023 - 20:40

Yes, you can. You may not feel it as much because of the bed being soft, but it will still be effective.

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Posted on: Mon, 05/08/2023 - 07:05

The arms are going to be somewhat involved, but they shouldn't feel it more than the area you're trying to work. Use a minimum grip to keep the weight in place and really concentrate on starting with the targeted muscle instead of simply lifting the weight.

Posted on: Wed, 05/03/2023 - 15:16

Thanks mate, I’ve got another question, I feel most of the exercise working on my arm, is that alright?

Areej Alhajji
Posted on: Fri, 03/03/2023 - 02:17

In day 2 for upper back and side delts.
Is the program wrong is this workout is wrong?

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Posted on: Sun, 03/12/2023 - 19:15

Trick question, Areej. The pullover actually works both the chest and back. The stretch and first half of the movement focuses on the lats, while the final pull over the head to the chest gets the pecs. That's why it was a favorite of the old legends of the Golden Era.

Posted on: Wed, 02/08/2023 - 20:18

Can I lie down fully on the bench? I find it uncomfortable for my lower back to be in that position

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Posted on: Tue, 02/21/2023 - 21:08

You can, Sarah. It's best to lie across, but it isn't necessary.

Posted on: Thu, 09/22/2022 - 14:39

Is it normal to feel a pretty heavy ab activation with this?

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Posted on: Sat, 09/24/2022 - 09:58

Yes because the abs are being stretched when you lower the weight back, and you also have to work to maintain stability. You shouldn't be crunching, and my guess is you are not doing that.

Posted on: Thu, 06/16/2022 - 06:55

Can I do this with an EZ bar? I find it rather awkward to balance the dumbbell and I am wondering if an EZ bar would be easier to hold in this position. Thanks!

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Posted on: Thu, 06/16/2022 - 08:16

Hey Jay, you can do it with an EZ-Bar if you like, but the chest may be more involved than the lats. I found that using a triceps bar, the one with the vertical handles, is the best bet. The grip is wider, and you can maintain a tighter grip. The weight distribution will hit the lats a little better as well.

Posted on: Fri, 06/10/2022 - 13:11

My neck hurts when I do this workout is it something with my form

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Posted on: Mon, 06/13/2022 - 09:14

Possibly. Do it by lying on the bench traditionally and see if that helps since your head is resting on the bench, and your neck isn't straining. If you still feel neck pain, go see a doctor.

Posted on: Mon, 01/24/2022 - 06:16

Hi, do you recommend anything as an alternative to this? I have a long term shoulder injury and this exercise aggravates it. Thanks!

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Posted on: Tue, 01/25/2022 - 18:53

Two questions before I answer, Gary. I want to make sure I get it right.

Do you know what the injury is?
Are you training at home or in a gym?

Posted on: Fri, 08/20/2021 - 16:56

Hey I can see Reverse Grip Dumbbell Row link can someone send it to me

Posted on: Mon, 05/17/2021 - 18:27

Is there an alternative for this? I do not have a bench

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Posted on: Tue, 05/18/2021 - 10:22

Hey jj - are you using this exercise to target your back or your chest?

Posted on: Tue, 05/18/2021 - 18:48

Back...but this exercise is part of Day 2: Pull Dumbbell Workout A (I think this is because it targets back - secondary muscle)

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Posted on: Wed, 05/19/2021 - 10:16

This exercise can be used to target the chest or the lats based on how you hold the dumbbell. You can do banded lat pulldowns, regular lat pulldowns, pull ups, or barbell/dumbbell rows.

Posted on: Sun, 05/16/2021 - 20:03

How do I get into this position?

Posted on: Sun, 10/10/2021 - 17:44

As a newbie, I get in this position as following. I put the dumbbell on the right end of the bench when I am facing the bench. Rare handed I put my shoulder blades on the bench as this position required but without the weight. I rotate to left side to grab the dumbbell with both hands. Then rotate back to get into this position. While rotating back, I keep the dumbbell close to chest.

Posted on: Sat, 01/16/2021 - 12:12

I do not have a bench at home, can I just do these exercises from the ground or would you recommend an alternative workout?

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Posted on: Mon, 01/18/2021 - 09:25

Hey Darryl - are you using this exercise to target the lats or the chest?

Posted on: Wed, 01/20/2021 - 07:31

I did this lying down. Comes close to this.

Luke M
Posted on: Tue, 01/12/2021 - 15:36

I am getting right shoulder pain. Is there a possibility where I could be doing the exercise wrong?

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Posted on: Wed, 01/13/2021 - 09:11

Hey Luke - this could be a form issue or a mobility issue.

Posted on: Wed, 12/30/2020 - 18:04

For the dumbbell pullover instead of only putting my shoulders on the bench, can I just lay on the bench like I would for a pench press and perform the same movement? Would that not be the same workout? Just not as comfortable.

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Posted on: Mon, 01/04/2021 - 09:30

Hey Hasib - yes you can

Posted on: Wed, 10/21/2020 - 00:12

I'm feeling weird tension in my neck
Should this be happening?
If not what could I do to prevent it

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Posted on: Wed, 10/21/2020 - 10:13

Hey Noah - you shouldn't be feeling any strange tension in your neck. Are you using this exercise to target your lats or your chest?

Posted on: Thu, 10/15/2020 - 22:54

If the force type is Push,how come I'm doing it on Pull day???