Barbell Bent Arm Pullover – Movement Overview

The barbell bent arm pullover is a classic exercise that has been a staple in strength training and bodybuilding routines for decades.

It’s an effective way to target multiple muscle groups, particularly the chest, lats, and triceps, while also engaging the core and stabilizing muscles.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the technique, benefits, variations, and precautions associated with the barbell bent arm pullover.

Barbell Bent Arm Pullover

Movement Demonstration

Understanding The Barbell Bent Arm Pullover

The barbell bent arm pullover involves lying flat on a bench, holding a barbell with a bent arm position, and moving it through a controlled range of motion.

This exercise primarily targets the upper body, providing a unique challenge and promoting both muscle growth and strength.

Targeted Muscles

  • Pectoralis Major: The chest muscles are heavily engaged in the barbell bent arm pullover, particularly the upper chest. This exercise is excellent for adding thickness to the pectorals.
  • Latissimus Dorsi (Lats): The lats are crucial for achieving a wide, V-tapered back. The pullover targets the lats, helping to broaden the upper back.
  • Triceps: The triceps, located at the back of the upper arm, are used to extend the elbow during the upward phase of the pullover.
  • Deltoids: The front deltoids (anterior deltoids) assist in stabilizing the shoulder joint during this exercise.
  • Core: The core muscles, especially the rectus abdominis and obliques, are engaged to stabilize the torso and maintain proper form.


  • Muscle Growth: The compound nature of this exercise makes it an effective muscle builder. It targets multiple muscle groups simultaneously, promoting hypertrophy (muscle growth).
  • Upper Body Strength: As a challenging upper body exercise, the barbell bent arm pullover helps improve overall upper body strength.
  • Chest Development: The pullover is known for its ability to develop the upper chest, an area that can be challenging to target with other exercises.
  • Improved Flexibility: This exercise stretches the chest and lats, contributing to improved flexibility in these muscle groups.
  • Functional Movement: The barbell bent arm pullover mimics functional movements like pulling and pushing, making it a valuable exercise for daily activities and sports.

Proper Form

To execute the barbell bent arm pullover effectively, follow these steps:

  • Step 1: Setup: Lie flat on a bench, with your head and upper back resting on the bench, and your feet firmly planted on the floor. Grip the barbell with a shoulder-width grip, palms facing forward.
  • Step 2: Starting Position: Hold the barbell above your chest with your arms slightly bent. This is the starting position. Your upper back should be the only part of your upper body touching the bench.
  • Step 3: Execution: Inhale and lower the barbell in an arc behind your head while maintaining the slight bend in your arms. Continue until you feel a stretch in your chest and lats or until your upper arms are parallel to the floor. Exhale and use your chest, lats, and triceps to lift the barbell back to the starting position.
  • Step 4: Repetitions: Perform the desired number of repetitions, usually in the range of 8-12 for muscle building.

Tips for Proper Form

  • Keep your core engaged and maintain a slight arch in your lower back to protect your spine.
  • Do not allow the barbell to drift too far behind your head, as this can strain your shoulders.
  • Use a controlled motion throughout the exercise, avoiding jerky movements.
Barbell Bent Arm Pullover

Barbell Bent Over Pullover: Modifications & Variations

  • Dumbbell Pullover: Instead of a barbell, you can use a dumbbell in one hand, allowing for independent arm movement.
  • Machine Pullover: Some gyms have pullover machines that guide the movement and provide additional stability.
  • Incline or Decline Pullover: Performing this exercise on an inclined or declined bench targets the muscles from different angles, intensifying the workout.
  • Cable Pullover: This variation involves a cable machine and offers consistent tension throughout the range of motion.

Cautionary Tips

  • Warm-Up: Always warm up before starting any exercise to prevent injuries.
  • Start Light: If you’re new to this exercise, begin with a light weight to learn the proper form.
  • Proper Breathing: Coordinate your breathing with the movement to prevent holding your breath.
  • Range of Motion: Don’t force the barbell beyond your natural range of motion. Listen to your body.
  • Spotters: If you’re using heavy weights, it’s a good idea to have a spotter nearby.

Conclusion: Barbell Bent Over Pullover

The barbell bent arm pullover is a time-tested exercise that offers a wide range of benefits, from muscle growth to increased upper body strength.

When performed with proper form and safety precautions, it can be a valuable addition to your fitness routine.

Remember to start with a manageable weight, focus on form, and gradually progress to heavier loads to maximize the benefits of this classic exercise.

Barbell: Purchasing Options

Titan Fitness Barbells

Barbell Bent Arm Pullover

Related Content & FAQs - Barbell Bent Arm Pullover

Alternating Dumbbell Pullover: Movement Review

Dumbbell alternating pullovers engage both sides of your chest and lats, promoting balanced muscle development.

This exercise involves lifting a dumbbell with one arm while the other arm remains extended, providing a unique challenge for the upper body.

High Cable Row vs Low Cable Row, Which Is Better?

High cable rows target the upper back and rear deltoids, while low cable rows emphasize the mid-back and lats.

These variations allow for comprehensive back development and can be alternated in your workout routine for a well-rounded back workout.


mountaindog1 (YouTube) –

1 thought on “Barbell Bent Arm Pullover – Movement Overview”

  1. Wonderful beat I wish to apprentice while you amend your web site how could i subscribe for a blog web site The account aided me a acceptable deal I had been a little bit acquainted of this your broadcast provided bright clear idea

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *