The dumbbell pullover -- which targets the triceps and pectoral muscles -- can be a little awkward to execute, to say the least. The balancing act while you’re lying prone and extending a dumbbell over your head can be tricky. You also increase your risk for a lower back injury if you don’t keep your abs tight. Thankfully, there are great pullover exercises you can do without the dumbbell.
Not sure where to start? We can help! Read on to learn how to do the pullover exercise-- but without the dumbbell.
But First, What’s So Bad About Dumbbells, Really?
When stepping into a weight room, the variety of strength-training equipment is sometimes overwhelming. And what some people don’t realize is that most equipment is geared toward different levels of fitness and goals, core stability, and coordination. For fitness newbies, using dumbbells may pose risks -- without proper form and technique, you could seriously injure your muscles and joints.
Here are a few of the cons of using dumbbells:
Risk From Unrestricted Movement
Dumbbells are a type of free weight. According to the experts over at the American College of Sports Medicine, using dumbbells increases the risk of injury because movement is not restricted -- when you use free weights such as dumbbells, your body isn’t held in proper alignment by a machine or piece of equipment like a resistance band, your core and stabilizer muscles have to do all the work.
Form and technique become extremely important when using dumbbells. If you don’t use proper form during the entire range of motion when using dumbbells, you’re much more likely to strain, hyperextend or tear a muscle or joint.
Difficult To Target Certain Muscles
Because your motion isn’t fixed, using dumbbells is much more challenging compared to weight machines and resistance bands. It’s more difficult to isolate and target specific muscle groups.
Beginners need instruction in proper technique, and workouts require conscious care and control. You may need to find a helper or spotter to monitor your workout -- especially when lifting heavier weights. A spotter can help with form correction, set completion, and injury prevention.
If you’re a heavy lifter or training to lift heavy, another disadvantage to dumbbells is their limited weight. It’s tough to find a dumbbell that’s heavier than about 90 pounds. That means if you’re the person who bench presses 250 pounds, dumbbells simply won’t work for every exercise.
Plus, the small handgrip also means it’s going to be difficult for someone to spot you when you’re lifting -- if you mess up and drop a dumbbell, there’s no room for a buddy to grab the bar and protect you from the falling weight.
Why Is The Dumbbell Pullover So Beneficial?
While dumbbells may have a few disadvantages, the dumbbell pullover exercise comes with a ton of great benefits for both lifters and athletes of all types.
Builds A Bigger Back And Chest
The dumbbell pullover can help to increase your back and chest as well as strength at the same time. This popular movement is one of the more well-known bodybuilding staples down by seven-time Mr. Olympia winner Arnold Schwarzenegger, and rightfully so! By performing this exercise for moderate to higher reps, you can increase the stretch placed upon your upper body muscles and provide a great stimulus for growth.
Improves Full-Body Stability
As you lower the dumbbell behind you, you will need to really brace your glutes and core muscles to prevent yourself from rocking off the bench. It’s also important to contract your scapulas and upper back muscles to stabilize the load throughout the movement. This learned stability will carry over to similar exercises like chest presses.
Improved Shoulder Mobility
The pullover exercise can improve shoulder mobility in that it stretches the triceps and lats -- two muscle groups often responsible for impeded overhead mobility. Also, achieving such a deep stretch will help you establish greater control and stability, essentially enabling your body to feel capable of achieving and supporting this deeper range of motion.
Is There A Way To Do The Pullover Exercise Without The Dumbell?
By now, we know that the pullover exercise is really beneficial, but the dumbbell -- not so much. Thankfully, there is a way to do the coveted pullover exercise, but without the dumbbell. But how?
How To Pullover The Right Way With Resistance Trainings
For a correct pullover, you’ll need to fix your HYGEAR device above your head. We love the HYGEAR Gear 1 System because it comes with everything you need to properly anchor your setup. You can either use a door anchor or fix your device to a pull-up bar at home or in the park. Make sure that the surface of the object you attach your device to is smooth to prevent any damage from your device.
Always, always, always, do a proper warm-up before doing any type of training. This will lower the chance of injury, and you’ll be able to make progress quicker!
Here are the steps to perfect the pullover:
- Attach your HYGEAR device -- to an anchor point on a level above your head.
- Grab each handle with one hand.
- Take a step back until you have no slack in the band in the top position.
- Now, place your feet about shoulder-width apart and brace your core.
- From here, bring your hands towards your hips while having almost straight arms, making sure that your elbow passes your upper body.
- Return to the starting position
- Repeat for reps
Our body doesn’t know the difference between weights, machines, bodyweight, resistance, groceries, furniture -- you get the idea. The only thing our body knows is resistance. And it’s quite smart -- if the resistance is great enough, your body will react to that by becoming stronger, over time, of course!
So as long as your muscles have to work against a load, they will get a stimulus to grow and will, with time, be able to handle greater and greater loads.
Why use resistance for your fitness training, you ask? Some of the top reasons are as follows:
- No cheating: Due to the specific strength curve of resistance, it’s almost impossible to use momentum to cheat through your workouts.
- Fewer injuries: resistance training is much easier on the joints compared to free weights like dumbbells. This will greatly reduce the chance of injury.
- Portable: Resistance training is super portable -- simply pack the components in your bag, and you can do your workout anywhere you go!
The dumbbell pullover is an excellent exercise to strengthen your upper body, but unfortunately, using dumbbells comes with a few risks. Thankfully, you can simply swap out the dumbbell for the HYGEAR Gear 1 System, and those risks essentially disappear.
Whether your goal is to rehab an injury, burn fat, build muscular endurance or increase your strength, HYGEAR can get you there. Are you ready?