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     Fitness Tips For 2/20/2008

Barbell Pullovers Exercise
By The Doctor

In the days of yore (which is anything before the late fifties in 
the bodybuilding world) doing heavy barbell pullovers was a rite of 
passage into bodybuilding manhood. In fact, I read a quote from the 
great George Turner that made me chuckle on reading it. He said that 
if you were not able to use 250 pounds on the pullover then you were 
nothing. Many lifters years ago said that this exercise would be all 
that one needed to get a complete upper body workout. Although I do 
not see people use this lift often, I must say that 250 pounds would 
be rather heavy. Nevertheless, this exercise is on the verge of 
becoming extinct. I tried it to see if it was worth bringing back to 
the forefront of resistance-training exercises. 

A Little Bit about the Pullover

As mentioned previously, this exercise is considered by many to be 
the best upper body exercise. 

Some people lie across a bench sideways and others lie on the bench 
in a regular fashion and perform them. Usually the trainees will 
have their preference of dumbbells or barbells. The variables of 
body positioning and equipment to use is up to personal preference. 

One advantage that is clear is that it removes the weak link of 
back work - the biceps - and allows for more direct lat work. The 
pullover is also great for those who are into pre-exhaustion 
methods or those who want something to use immediately after 
high-repetition squats. 

What muscles does this exercise work? 

Not only do pullovers work the latissimus dorsi but it also targets 
the posterior deltoid, the long head of the triceps, rhomboids, 
pectoralis major rather well. In addition, it works the following 
muscles in a less direct manner: the anterior deltoid, triceps 
brachii and wrist flexors. 

I do know a few people who have used this exercise and stated that 
their triceps were thouroughly worked on completion. What confused 
them was that this was not their intended purpose. 

How to do it...

Simply lay your back perpendicularly across a bench and grab a 
barbell from behind you and bring it to your chest. Then proceed 
to extend your arms to where the barbell is above your chest and 
your arms are straightened. You have the option of bending your 
elbows from there. Lower the barbell or dumbbell behind and past 
your head so as your upper arms are parallel or slightly below 
parallel to your torso. 

Bring the bar back to your chest and repeat the motion until 
muscular failure. 

I have used this exercise recently and I must say that it is an 
excellent addition to my back work when used as my main 
latissimus dorsi exercise. I have not used it for pre-exhaustion 
yet, but I plan to use it in combination with chins when I do. 

This will remove the biceps as the weak link as my back has always 
been my least-responsive muscle. It is an upper body exercise so 
I would recommend a repetition range from 6 to 10. As with every 
other exercise, if you respond better to other repetition ranges, 
then by all means use them. 

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