Add these dumbbell pullovers for lats to your list of exercises if you train at home with minimal equipment and don't have access to a cable pulley system. These dumbbell pullover movements will help you build a wider back.
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The Dumbbell Pullover was first introduced back in 1911 as a chest exercise, but over the years we've seen the emergence of dumbbell pullovers for Lats (db lat pullover). If you train at home and haven't got access to a Cable Pulley system or a chin-up bar, this multi-purpose alternative Lat Pulldown exercise is a godsend for adding width to the latissimus dorsi muscle.
What makes the dumbbell pullover exercise a lat builder or chest movement is down to where the arms are placed. When the arms are straight, it puts stress on the pectoralis major (chest). On the flip side, doing the dumbbell pullover with arms bent will build bigger lats (latissimus dorsi). For this article, we're going to focus on dumbbell pullovers for lats.
I'm Psymon H., the man behind the Mission Jacked brand and the creator of the BIG-Up Training System, one of the best programs for building muscle at home with minimal equipment.
In this db lat pullover article, we're going to build bigger lats with 4 dumbbell lat Pullover variations. So that you can be up and using any of these db lat pullover exercises on your next back workout, we'll also cover each of the dumbbell pullover techniques with cues and pictures.
1: Bench Dumbbell Pullover
2: Dumbbell Lat Pullover
3: Decline Bench Dumbbell Pullover
4: Decline Bench Dumbbell Pullover Reverse Grip
This is the most common Dumbbell Pullover variation and the easiest Lat Pullover to master.
Items Needed: One flat bench and one dumbbell
db Lat Pullover Technique:
Cue 1: Place a dumbbell on its head in your lap. Lay on a flat bench with the crown of your head towards the top edge.
Cue 2: Move the dumbbell up to your chest and slide your palms under the top knuckle of the dumbbell. The edge of the index fingers and your thumbs on both hands should create a triangle shape.
Cue 3: Lift the dumbbell over your chest so your biceps face you. Slightly bend at the elbows.
Cue 4: Tense your lats and your core as you slowly lower the dumbbell over your head. Keep your arms slightly bent to fully engage the latissimus dorsi muscle as you return the dumbbell to the top of the movement. Repeat these dumbbell pullovers for the desired amount of repetitions.
While this dumbbell pullover variation is quite popular, it's one of the hardest lat pullover exercises to master due to lying across the bench. For this bent-arm dumbbell pullover, you will be lying with your shoulders and upper back across the bench instead of lying directly over the bench.
Items Needed: One flat bench and one dumbbell.
db Lat Pullover Technique:
Cue 1: Place the dumbbell on its head within reach for when you’re ready to start the exercise.
Cue 2: Lay across the bench with your shoulders and upper back being supported by the bench. Your head should come over the edge as you lay back in a hip thrust position.
Cue 3: Lift the dumbbell onto your chest and slide your palms under the top knuckle so your fingers create a diamond shape while securing the weight.
Cue 4: Lift the dumbbell over your chest with your arms bent.
Cue 5: Slightly drop your hips and tense your lats and core muscles to start the dumbbell pullover.
Cue 6: Slowly and under control, lower the dumbbell overhead to create a full range of motion. Lower to a position that feels comfortable to you, and briefly hold before returning the dumbbell to the top position.
The Decline Bench Dumbbell Pullover is a great way of improving the standard db lat pullover. If you're new to this version it may feel as if you're about to fall on your head, but you'll quickly get used to the movement and may find it an upgrade to the traditional dumbbell bench lat pullover exercise.
The other aspect of this decline bench dumbbell pullover is that you have two choices. The first option is to use one dumbbell similar to the above two db lat pullover variations or upgrade to a pair of dumbbells. For this dumbbell pullover tutorial, we'll use two dumbbells.
Items Needed: A decline bench or a flat bench and a small platform or stack of bumper plates. You will also need one pair of dumbbells.
The Setup: if you have not got a decline bench, place a low platform or stack of bumper plates under one end of a flat bench.
db Lat Pullover Technique:
Cue 1: Have both dumbbells in hand and lay back on your decline bench station. Lift the dumbbells over your chest using a pronated grip. Have the edge of each dumbbell lightly touch each other and maintain a slight bend at the elbows.
Cue 2: Retract your shoulders and tense your Lats and core muscles.
Cue 3: Slowly lower the dumbbells overhead to a position that feels comfortable to you. So you don't put unwanted stress on the shoulders, try not to take the dumbbells too far back behind the bench.
Cue 4: Briefly hold this position before bringing the dumbbells back to the start position.
If you want to attack your lower Lats, this is the dumbbell pullover exercise you want to be adding to your back growth and strength-training program.
Items Needed: one decline bench or a flat bench and a low platform or small stack of bumper plates. You will also need one pair of dumbbells.
db Lat Pullover Technique:
Cue 1: Lay back on a decline bench with your arms behind the head and the dumbbells together in a supinated position (reverse grip) and arms slightly bent at the elbows
Cue 2: Retract your shoulders by bringing them down and tensing your Lats.
Cue 3: Bring the dumbbells back just over the lower portion of your chest. Repeat this dumbbell pullover motion for the desired amount of repetitions.
Not only does db pullovers work and target the Lats when you use a bent arm approach, it also works the chest, triceps, core and serratus anterior.
As both the chest and back muscle groups are primary movers with the db pullovers, this exercise can be performed on either a chest or back workout.
The lat activation comes from arm placement. If you pullover with your arms straight, you mostly work your pec muscles. If you perform db pullovers with your arms slightly bent, you transfer most of the stress to your Lats.
If you use dumbbells to perform this exercise, it forces the rotator cuff muscle to clamp the shoulder griddle together. You should only bring the dumbbell down to a comfortable level and not too far past the crown of your head as this could dislocate the shoulder or at the very least put unwanted stress on the shoulder joint.
If you train at home with minimal equipment and don't have access to a cable pulley system, build a bigger back with dumbbell pullovers for lats.
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