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A Controversial Yet Very Effective Exercise For A Thick Chest And Back

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Dorain Yates, on Joe Rogan's podcast, once said that the exercises to build muscle will never change. And every day, in the gym, hustling my way through iron, I find this as the supreme truth. That's exactly what the old school exercises gave us- thick and big muscles. Fancy new school exercises are well, yeah, just fancy to look at. The big compound moves will always be the cornerstone of the muscular development. One such old school giving is the dumbbell pullover. Lost in time, this exercise was once a staple in every meathead's upper body routine. Now, not many people do it. Why and how did the pullover become such a controversial exercise? Let's decipher.

The Dumbbell Pullover

A Controversial Yet Very Effective Exercise For A Thick Chest And Back© Pinterest

Right through the 50s till the early 70s, the dumbbell pullover was a staple chest and back exercise. Reg Park, Sergio Olivia, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lou Feriggno and many other golden era kings advocated this exercise.

The Disappearance Of The Pull-Over

A Controversial Yet Very Effective Exercise For A Thick Chest And Back© Facebook

Enter Arthur Nautilus, the man who introduced the pullover machine into the world of bodybuilding. Nothing was the same after that. Since the bodybuilders now had access to a more specific machine, the inclination towards the free weight dumbbell pullover diminished. Soon after, the 90s saw the exit of the pullover with the pompous entry of the functional fitness advocates. Bashed left, right and centre and the pullovers were labeled a 'shoulder-killer'.     

Does It Really Cause Shoulder Injuries?

Almost any exercise done wrongly can cause injury. Either you are just too weak or simply lack the mobility to perform the pullover. Before jumping right into a pullover, check your over head shoulder pressing. Can you press with a full range of motion? If yes, go ahead. If no, you need mobility work. Can you do dead-hang pull-ups- all the way down and all the way up? If yes, you can try the pullover. To know whether if this exercise is for you or not, take a lighter weight and perform some initial reps. If you feel something weird in your shoulders, it's not for you. 

How Bros Do It Wrong!

1) Not bracing the core. 

2) Dead straight arms by locking the elbow. Always maintain a slight bend. 

3) Bending the elbows way too much and hence involving the triceps. 

How To Do It Right

1) First things first, tighten your core.  

2) Use a moderately heavy weight to start with. 

3) Don't lock the elbows into a straight arm. Keep a slight bend, not too much either.

4) Don't over-stretch in the over head position. 

5) Keep the shoulders depressed (retracted) into the bench. 

What Does it Really Build Though?

A Controversial Yet Very Effective Exercise For A Thick Chest And Back© Facebook

Well, both. The pullover was once called the upper-body squat for a reason. It hits nearly every damn inch of your back and the chest. Depends on how you perform it, chest and back can be targeted separately. But all in all, it does hit both the muscle groups.

MeToo And The Sum Of Its Parts

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