After nearly 60 years of weight training, I’ve come to the conclusion that the most important upper-body exercise is pullovers. It’s unquestionably the most comprehensive of all upper-body moves. If you do pullovers using a heavy dumbbell and straight arms while lying across an 18-inch-high flat bench, you’ll work every upper-body muscle group, including lats, chest, shoulders, traps and arms. The exercise will also dramatically deepen and enlarge your rib cage, something missing in today’s bodybuilders.
Another important consideration, especially as you get older, is the fact that pullovers done with a deep stretch will keep your shoulder girdle very supple as well as strong. The key is the heavy stretch. After a few weeks you should be able to set a dumbbell on the floor behind you on every rep. I’ve had surgery on my left shoulder, left wrist and right elbow. I used to pride myself on my overhead pressing strength. After the elbow and shoulder surgeries in the mid-’70s I feared I’d lost the excellent pressing strength I’d worked so many years to attain. Straight-arm pullovers and patience brought it back.
If you’re not doing pullovers, you’re missing one of bodybuilding’s greatest exercises. IM
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