Versatility of the DB Pullover

Versatility of the DB Pullover


Exercise efficacy comes from intent. 

Without a clear understanding of what you're intending to get out of the movement you're performing, training is little more than a gym version of Russian Roulette. You can crush your sets with perfect technique and control, absolutely dominating the weights and progressing in every sense of the definition, but if there is no underlying goal to back that effort, how will that progression even be measured? 

Everything we do in the gym must have an explicit direction. 

The concept of intentionality filters down; from the macrocycle design all the way to how we execute each exercise. If we have a long term goal of bringing up our glutes but our squats are performed with a quad bias and our erectors tend to dominate our hinges, those micro misaligned goals add up to a massive macro divergence.

While goal setting might be a top-down exercise, goal achievement happens from the bottom-up. 

And this starts with ensuring the way in which we are performing an exercise is in alignment with the intent we have assigned to it. 

The DB Pullover might be one of the more stark examples of how this can play out in practice...

Depending on the ROM, tempo, joint angles, load used and even our body's orientation on the bench, the intent of the movement can drastically change. 

Let's look at a few of the ways that we can alter the intent of the DB Pullover: 

- Head slightly off the end of the bench to allow more comfortable shoulder flexion
- More low back arch 
- More shoulder flexion to fully lengthen the lats overhead
- Less shoulder extension to prevent the pecs from kicking in and keep the tension in the lats
- Elbows should remain in a fixed, minimal flexion

- Head and neck should be fully supported  
- Minimal low back arch; Feet can even be up and flat on the bench
- Shoulder flexion should be limited to the active range of the pecs (i.e. don't allow the tension to shift from pecs to lats)
- Shoulder extension should be all the way over the chest with arms perpendicular to the torso
- Elbows should remain in a fixed, minimal flexion

- Might be easier to have head off the bench so the DB is allotted more clearance
-  Low back arch should be comfortable but an afterthought 
- Full shoulder flexion is encouraged to lengthen the long head of the triceps
- Shoulder extension should be brought directly over the chest 
- Elbow flexion/extension will be dynamic and in line with the shoulder movement to resemble a quasi-skullcrusher

This analysis is independent of the merits of each variation and is meant to instead paint a clear picture of how subtle adjustments, some even unnoticeable in the moment, can critically affect the outcome. 

Pay attention to the subtleties—they are what direct your potential. 

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