Skip to content

Dumbbell Pullover Alternatives [Exercise Guide]

Dumbell Pullover Alternatives

A dumbbell pullover is a staple in the world of weight training because of its ability to strengthen the chest and back. With this pushing movement, the bottom of your pecs, abs, lats, and triceps will all get an excellent workout. Read on to know more about the dumbbell pullover alternatives and choose your perfect one!

Dumbbell Pullover: Chest Or Back Excercise? 

The way you complete a dumbbell pullover determines whether you will mainly activate your chest muscles or your lat muscles when you perform the exercise. 

You’ll get more of a workout for your lats if you flare out your elbows, pointing them ever-so-slightly to the sides while keeping your elbow joints bent. Do you want to activate your chest more? Maintain your arms as straight as possible and keep your elbows far out.

Choose the dumbbell pullover alternative according to your workout goals. We have compiled a selection of exercises that satisfy the requirements of both – athletes who want to load chest or back muscles. Check out our list and pick what’s best for you.

1. Straight Arm Cable Pulldown (Back Exercise) 

If you want to attain your ultimate aim of having broader and stronger back muscles, then this exercise may help you get there. The straight arm cable pulldown wide range of motion will help you work the lats strongly at the bottom of each rep.

How to do a straight-arm cable pulldown:

  • Place your feet shoulder-width apart in front of a high pulley cable machine. Spread your palms wider than your shoulders while holding the handle.
  • Extend your arms straight before you while bending your body forward at 30 degrees. Keep your elbows somewhat straight. 
  • Don’t let the elbows bend as you exhale; bring the bar down to your thighs. 
  • Take a deep breath in as you slowly bring yourself back to the beginning position.

2. Pull Up (Back Exercise)

Pull-ups are commonly used to strengthen the upper body and are extremely beneficial bodyweight movements. The move enhances your strength and overall health. It’s a compound exercise that works the latissimus dorsi, biceps, pectoralis major, triceps, and other muscles.

How to do pull up:

  • To properly do pull-ups, your feet should be freed to dangle. So set your bar high enough.
  • Jump up and grasp the bar with your hands shoulder-width apart.
  • Bring your knees to the chest and keep your ankles crossed for a stable posture.
  • Draw your shoulders back and up so your chin touches the bar as you exhale. Hold for a few seconds at the peak of the motion.
  • When you’re down low, your elbows should be fully extended.

3. V Bar Pulldown (Back Exercise)

The V bar pulldown works lats, biceps, rhomboids, and rear delts. As the title says, you need a V bar to practice this movement. Also, the technique entails using a cable machine to draw weight down from above.

How to do V Bar pulldown:

  • Put the pulley at the highest position of the cable machine. Get a firm hold on the bar.
  • Puff up your chest and drag your shoulder blades back.
  • As you lower the bar to your chest, keep your elbows tucked.
  • Initiate the lowering movement with your elbows rather than your hands.
  • Go back to the start after a brief pause. Avoid moving only via the glenohumeral joint and locking the shoulder blade in place.

4. Kettlebell Row (Back Exercise) 

The latissimus dorsi, biceps, and rhomboids may all benefit from this workout. The only equipment you need is a kettlebell. One more good news is it’s rather simple to perform. 

How to do a kettlebell row:

  • Put the kettlebell in between your shins. Spread your knees wide and squat down. Maintain a nearly horizontal back position.
  • Lift the weight by pulling the kettlebell up. Elbows should be bent, and hands retracted back to start the motion. If you can, try bringing your arms in closer to your chest. Don’t let the wrist go beyond the elbow.
  • To get the most out of this move, keep your spine in a neutral position during the whole routine.
  • Hold that posture for two seconds, then straighten your arms to return to the starting position.

5. Cable Pullover (Back Exercise) 

The cable pullover is great for strengthening the lats and other stabilizing muscles in the back and core. The technique is based on extending the shoulders. You will need access to the cable machine to practice this workout.

How to do a cable pullover:

  • Pick the relevant add-on and secure it to the cable machine’s upper post. You might use either a V-bar or a straight bar.
  • You should stretch your arms completely, grab the bar, and then step back with your feet shoulder-width apart. Keep a 45-degree incline in your upper body. Bend your knees slightly and swing your hips back. Put your weight on your forearms and shrug your shoulders forward.
  • Squeeze your lats to initiate the action and pull the bar down and back towards your torso. 
  • Reverse the motion by thrusting your shoulder blades forward.

6. Bench Press (Chest Exercise) 

The chest, arms, and shoulders muscles may benefit from practicing a bench press. Regular workouts develop upper body strength and make the body hardier.

How to do a bench press:

  • Set up your bench and barbell. Lay down under the bar.
  • Grab the bar with your hands shoulder-width apart. Bring the bar up and hold your shoulder blades together.
  • Don’t bend your wrists. Please make sure they are straight. Lower the weight, holding the barbell over your nipple area. Come down at 90 degrees. Breathe in on the way down.
  • Push straight up and return to the starting position.

7. Cobra Push-up (Chest Exercise) 

Essentially, this cobra push-up combines the traditional push-up with a yoga-inspired position. Cobra push-up primarily engages the chest area. However, it’s a compound movement that simultaneously works lower and upper body muscles.

How to do a cobra push-up:

  • Get down on the floor. Hold your hands around shoulder distance apart. Your hips and feet should remain on the ground. 
  • Tilt your head upward.
  • Pause for a moment at the top of the movement.
  • To return to the beginning posture, lower your body until it is parallel to the floor and bend your arms.
  • If you are a newbie, you may find kneeling easier than keeping your legs straight while exercising.

8. Svend Press (Chest Exercise) 

The Svend press is an isolated workout for the chest muscles. If conventional chest pressing hurts your shoulders, you might use the Svend press to make your chest bigger and stronger without putting too much strain on your delts. You’ll need two weight plates that you can grab with both to practice this movement.

How to do a Svend press:

  • Standing straight with your shoulders back and your feet hip-width apart is the beginning position.
  • Put two small plates against each other and hold them in front of you with both hands.
  • Choose a grip with your palms facing in and your fingers pointing forward.
  • As you slowly extend your arms in front of you, keep the plates in front of your chest.
  • Set your weights on your chest and pull them back down once again.
  • Keep your elbows bent 90 degrees. Your shoulders and chest will feel the load the most.


The dumbbell pullover has proved its efficiency to many generations of athletes. It builds strength in the upper body, shoulders and back, working both your chest and back muscles. The most pleasant part is you can focus on the chest or back area by changing the elbows’ position. If you want to work the chest, keep your elbows tucked in and your arms as straight as you can manage. To strengthen the lats, it is important to flare your elbows gently. Also, there are many dumbbell pullover alternatives you might try to target chest or back muscles specifically. We hope our selection will help you to make the right choice.7.