Working the muscles in your upper body can happen in many ways. Find out the specific and the more general benefits of dumbbell pullovers.
One thing to note first is that dumbbell pullovers can also sometimes be too uncomfortable on the shoulders. If this applies to you, you likely want to start with other exercises first.
1. Dumbbell pullovers can give you stronger muscles
The movement in dumbbell pullovers makes it easy to pressure your muscles in a large range of motion.
If you combine this with a good exercise plan, dumbbell pullovers can help you grow and strengthen a few muscles.
Some of the muscles worked in dumbbell pullovers include:
- Latissimus dorsi (big upper back muscle)
- Pectoralis major (chest)
- Serratus anterior (small muscles rib cage)
- Teres major (small muscles next to lats)
Your exact technique influences what muscles you focus more on during a dumbbell pullover. By keeping your arms straight and elbows turned inward the movement will work your chest muscles more.
On the other hand, by somewhat folding your arms and pointing your elbows more outward, dumbbell pullovers focus more on your latissimus dorsi, the big upper back muscles.
Growing and strengthening these muscles benefits your health in many ways.
Additionally, many people will find the wider back you get from training the latissimus dorsi to be visually appealing.
2. Dumbbell pullovers can improve flexibility and mobility
The combination of flexibility and mobility basically means how far you can move certain body parts.
After doing a few reps of dumbbell pullovers, you likely understand that this exercise can push your boundaries in these areas.
By doing this in a safe way, you can then improve the flexibility and mobility of your shoulders and the muscles around them.
This is a benefit of dumbbell pullovers because this reduces your injury risk and can improve your performance in a variety of movements.
3. Dumbbell pullovers can improve athletic performance
The extra flexibility and mobility you can get from dumbbell pullovers are not the only reasons why this exercise can benefit athletic performance.
Resistance training exercises can also often offer more and faster muscle growth and strengthening than just doing a specific sport more often.
More specifically, dumbbell pullovers can help improve your performance in sports like rugby, javelin throwing, baseball, etc. where extra throwing power and shoulder mobility is helpful.
4. Dumbbell pullovers can increase bone density
Your bones are not just static pieces of material inside of your body. Similar to many other tissues, they can actually adapt themselves to the way you pressure them.
That means in the bones around your shoulders and in your arms.
In turn, this is a benefit because it helps reduce your risk of breaking your bones.
This can be valuable even if you are not yet at the age where this is a concern.
The older you get, the harder it becomes to improve bone density. Preserving the density you already built tends to be easier.
One thing to note is that dumbbell pullover alternatives where you lift more weight tend to be even more useful for this benefit.
5. Dumbbell pullovers can improve cardiovascular health
You typically do activities like running or cycling to improve cardiovascular health but weight lifting exercises like dumbbell pullovers will work this system to some extent too.
The heavier your movements, the more oxygen and nutrients your body parts need to function. In turn, your heart will start beating faster and you will start breathing faster.
This tends to be good because it can lead to strengthening (or at least slowing down the degradation of) your cardiovascular system.
One study divided 42 healthy people with a sedentary lifestyle into a control group that just received health education and an experimental group that did a resistance training program consisting of chest presses, dumbbell pullovers, and the dumbbell fly 3 times a week for 8 weeks.
They measured that the individuals who did the 8-week exercise program, which included dumbbell pullovers, had a significant improvement in cardiopulmonary functions which are tests to measure the function of the heart and lungs (4).