Choose an appropriate weight matching your fitness level. Leaning your head and shoulders against a flat bench, lie down and grab the dumbbell near the weights with both hands using a shoulder grip width. Your feet are supported (knees are perpendicular to the floor).
Keep your torso upright and your pelvis in a neutral position. Holding the dumbbell with both hands, move it over your chest while maintaining dorsiflexion in your wrists.
Lower the weight slowly behind your head by flexing your elbows. Continue with the motion (hands behind your head) until your elbows are in line with your head and shoulders. Breathe in as you go down and breathe out as you go back to the starting position. Repeat as required.
Make sure your starting hand position is correct.
Keep your torso upright with no lower-back arching (lower-back lordosis).
Choose your weight to match your abilities and fitness level. Start with lighter weight to master the technique well.
Bent-arm dumbbell pullover is performed in an unusual position perpendicular to the bench with only shoulders touching the bench.
You are going to place the dumbbell just over your head so only use the fixed-weight modern dumbbells – traditional dumbbell with welding will sooner or later fall on your head.
Make sure the only joints involved in the exercise are shoulder joints.
Although technically an isolated exercise (only one joint is working – the shoulder joint), every form of pullover involves several muscle groups: lats, pectorals, triceps, deltoids, obliques, rhomboids, teres major, levator and intercostals. There are very few other exercises involving so many muscles.
Do not move your hips during the exercise! It is a common mistake to lower the hips during the pulling motion and raising them during the lowering phase.
Do not lower the dumbbell too far behind your head. This will almost inevitably cause shoulder problems.
The bent-arms version of dumbbell pullover allows for much heavier weights than the straight-arm variant. It is more suited for gaining mass but also promotes chest expansion (well, this is a subject of discussion among athletes and scientists – while some swear that pullovers do expand the rib cage, others claim this is just a widespread myth).
Bent-arm dumbbell pullover is done with heavier weights than the straight-arm pullover.