Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Cross Bench Pullover

When I was 15 years old, I was a competitive swimmer who loved to lift weights. I was looking for exercises that could carry over to the pool - the cross bench pullover became one of my go-to exercises in the weight room. Since then, I've noticed that, outside of the super-squats program, it is rarely a recommended exercise.

I never really understood why this exercise fell out of fashion. I suppose that some genius hooked up some sensors to a bodybuilder's chest, realized that it wasn't making the pec swole, wrote a few articles for Flex, and that was that - an exercise that used to be an absolute staple among bodybuilders and pencil-necks alike who wanted to add inches to their chest size was now regulated to the status of "old school odd lift of questionable value".

The cross-bench pullover is a great exercise. Its value lies in the stretch it provides for the lats, the ribcage, the shoulders, and the t-spine. It can be done strictly with less weight, straighter arms, and greater stretch, or it can be done loosely with more weight, more elbow bend, and less range of motion - either way, it's an exercise worth revisiting.


Brandon Bailey said...

I love this movement, especially for my wrestlers. For us it simulates pulling in a leg when you are most exposed on the mat. It also builds shoulder stability thru the other muscles to avoid the tearing we are subject to as wrestlers.

Thanks for this.

Brandon Bailey
York College of PA
Asst. Wrestling Coach

Tom said...

Consider them added.

Boris Terzic said...

Still a great exercise that I'd also recommend. I never thought of them as out of fashion, only as being in the realm beyond the abilities of those who rely on machines.

Anonymous said...

A strength writer somewhere along the line (might have been Paul Kelso) referred to the The Cross Bench Pullover (with straight arms) as the squat of the upper body.

Tom said...


I thought that was Dips he was referring to?

Perhaps I'm getting my authors confused though.