Christine Envall Female Bodybuilder Australia



To start the exercise, lay across a flat bench so that your body is at a right angle to the bench. Your upper back should be on the bench, with your shoulders nearly at the edge of the bench. If your shoulders are in the centre of the bench you will find the exercise too uncomfortable, and if they are off the bench you will not be able to perform the pullover correctly, so it is extremely important to get your body in the right position before you start. Feet should be flat on the floor, slightly apart.

You will need a spotter to pass you the weight for this exercise. Once you are in position, get someone to pass the dumbbell to you. To take the dumbbell, hold your arms up straight at right angles to your body, palms facing upwards (towards the ceiling). Hold the dumbbell with your palms flat against the inside of weights on one end of the dumbbell. The other end of the dumbbell should be hanging down towards your face. To start the pullover, drop your hips down as you slowly lower the dumbbell out behind your head. To do this, your arms will rotate at the shoulder as they move towards the side of your head. Make sure you keep your elbows pointing outwards, ie, the crook of your arm is next to the side of your head. At the bottom of the repetition your body should be arched, forming a bridge shape across the bench and you should feel a stretch in your torso, lats and triceps.

There are two ways you can do a pullover; one which puts more emphasis on your lats, and one which puts the emphasis more on your chest. I do both versions, once on a chest workout and once on a back workout.

For the back workout, put a bend in your arm (about 45o), and lower the weight as far as possible behind your head as if you are trying to touch the floor with it. To return to the starting position, do the movement in reverse, ie raise your hips as you raise the dumbbell back up until it is above your head. Keep the same bend in the arms all the way through the movement; don't be tempted to bend the arms more as you lower or raise the weight.

The power in the return movement should come from your lats and you should feel them contract as you raise the weight.

To work the chest more, have only a very slight bend in the arms and only lower the weight half-way (compared to the back version of the pullover). Instead of returning the dumbbell only as far as the starting position, bring the weight downwards towards your stomach, still keeping the arms almost straight, with elbows out. Raise your hips as you raise the dumbbell, but do not raise them above the level of the bench. As you bring the weight past the vertical position you will feel the chest starting to contract.

Once you have finished your set (10 reps is enough) have your spotter take the weight out of your hands once you are back in the starting position.

Pullovers are another 'heavy duty' exercise that are designed to be done with relatively heavy weights, however, don't sacrifice good movement for a weight that is too heavy for you. They do require a good deal of flexibility in the shoulders, chest, lats and torso, so start light and increase the weight on each set to ensure that you are properly warmed up. Pullovers are not a comfortable exercise and can feel awkward, but they are well worth the results.


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