How to Dumbbell Pull Over

About the Dumbbell Pull Over

The dumbbell pull over is a hazardous exercise which involves bringing a dumbbell over the athletes head. We would recommend against this exercise, especially using a dumbbell which can be difficult to grip. Many gyms now have a pull over machine which is a much safer alternative.

The exercise targets the chest and the latissimus dorsi (otherwise known as the "lats"). Some athletes incorporate the pull over as part of their chest training, while others see it primarily as a back exercise. Truth is, both the latissimus dorsi and the sternal head of the pectorals (which composes the bulk of the chest) are exercised, yet interestingly, exercises which similarly involve the extension of the shoulder, such as straight arm pull downs, are often seen as a back training exercise. We have included the dumbbell pull over within the chest training category due to common beliefs, although it could quite easily be in either categories.

How to perform


  1. Find a dumbbell of a suitable weight, and ensure the dumbbell is full tightened up
  2. Rest your upper back on a bench, and form a bridge with your knees bent at ninety degrees, torso parallel to the floor and heels planted on the ground
  3. Grasp the inner side of the dumbbell plate with both hands and then bring the dumbbell above your head (only if you are 100% confident you have a secure grip)


  1. Keeping your arms locked, with a slight bend in the elbows, out stretch your arms above your head so that the dumbbell descends
  2. Once your upper arms are parallel to the ground, reverse the movement back to the starting position
  3. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions

Other Chest Exercises