- Target muscle: Sternal (lower) Pectoralis Major
- Synergists: Latissimus Dorsi, Triceps Brachii (long head), Posterior Deltoid, Teres Major, Rhomboids, Levator Scalupae, Pectoralis Minor
- Mechanics: Isolation
- Force: Push
- Lie perpendicular on a bench with only your upper back and shoulders being supported by the surface. Your head and lower body should be extending off the bench, with your lower body acting as a counterbalance.
- Hold a dumbbell with both hands directly above your chest, with your arms almost fully extended and your palms facing each other.
- Exhale as you slowly lower the dumbbell in a backward arc behind your head until your elbows are level with your ears.
- Hold for a count of two.
- Inhale as you slowly raise the dumbbell back over your head to the starting position using the same arcing motion.
- Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
Comments and tips
- Keep your arms slightly bent throughout the movement.
- Keep your hips lower than your shoulders.
- Do not arch your back.
- Do not lower the dumbbell too far down behind your head.
The dumbbell pullover can be performed with straight arms (as above) or bent arms (bent-arm dumbbell pullover), with a barbell or EZ bar instead of a dumbbell, or with a small dumbbell in each hand instead of one dumbbell. You can also perform the exercise on a stability ball instead of a bench, which will activate more core muscles to maintain stability.