Dumbbell pullover exercise
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Dumbbell pullover

Exercise details

  • Target muscle: Sternal (lower) Pectoralis Major
  • Synergists: Latissimus Dorsi, Triceps Brachii (long head), Posterior Deltoid,  Teres Major, Rhomboids, Levator Scapulae, Pectoralis Minor
  • Mechanics: Isolation
  • Force: Push

Starting position

  1. 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.
  2. Hold a dumbbell with both hands directly above your chest, with your arms almost fully extended and your palms facing each other.


  1. Exhale as you slowly lower the dumbbell in a backward arc behind your head until your elbows are level with your ears.
  2. Hold for a count of two.
  3. Inhale as you slowly raise the dumbbell back over your head to the starting position using the same arcing motion.
  4. 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.
  • See also the double dumbbell pullover and the decline barbell pullover.


The pullover can be performed with a barbell or EZ bar instead of a dumbbell, or with a dumbbell in each hand instead of one dumbbell (double dumbbell pull-over). You can also perform the exercise on a stability ball instead of a bench, which will activate more core muscles to maintain stability.

Dumbbell pullover video


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