An old time exercise from bodybuilders in the 60’s and 70’s has been nearly forgotten, but I plan to keep that from happening. Many people seem to scoff at it and say it’s bad for shoulders. I laugh at them! Are you kidding me! You’ll do kipping pullups and 1000 rep pushups or squats and tell me that pullovers are bad for your shoulders?! Really!!!
Anyhow, pullovers are an excellent exercise when done properly and with your mind in your muscle. There are two different kinds of pullovers; bent arm and straight arm pullovers. The straight arm pullovers are usually the exercise modern trainers are afraid of as it can put excessive strain on the shoulders and place it in an awkward position susceptible to injury. That said I believe it’s all about the weight and how you do it. If you use light weight for either version of the pullover and perform 15-20 reps, you should be safe from injury.
The straight are pullover works the pectoralis minor and serratus anterior more-so, whereas the bent arm pullover will work the latissimus dorsi and long head of the triceps. Both versions will also work the shoulders and intercostals as well. Always breathe in as the dumbbell goes back over the head and breath in when you return the weight up towards the chest. Doing so will enhance your use of the serratus anterior and intercostal muscles.
When to Perform Them
Implement the bent arm pullover at the end of a back workout for a different kind of muscle stimulus. Try the straight arm pullover at the end of a chest workout. Either way you’ll get a pump that you haven’t felt before and better overall muscle development.