Ditch The Rope- Pullovers Done Right

The pullover is one of the most gangster exercises of all time. From circus strongmen to old school bodybuilders the pullover has endless utilities that make it a staple in anyone's program whos trying to get huge.

That being said, the pullover has seen many variations over its long evolution.  One of the more scalable options being the rope /cable variation, accessible and easy to set up, this variation has the lowest barrier of entry for anyone trying to throw their hat into the arena on the lat building exercise.

That being said, the pullover can also be performed for the pecs as well, but that's a nuance detail in execution to be covered at another time.

The problem with the cable-rope pullover when we're specifically trying to target the lats, is that for a lot of guys, the exercise doesn't fit the action of the muscle or the anatomy of the muscle. The lat is a complex muscle, with a fanning distribution that covers the majority of the thoracic spine, all of the lumbar spine, top of the sacrum and iliac crest of the pelvis. It acts to internally rotate, extend and adduct the shoulder.

And it's here where the rope pull over fails us. If the action of the latisimuss dorsi is to adduct the shoulder (bring humerus towards mid-line), and we are starting with our hands on the narrow implement of a rope, we are starting in an adducted position. Then, as you move through the concentric portion of the rep, our shoulders have to abduct (move away from the midline of our body) which opposes the action of the lat.

Now, we need to consider the differences between the size and shape of each individual performing the movement. For some, with narrower shoulders, the rope might be the perfect width to train pure extension of the shoulder. But for some wider, guys and girls, they might want to consider a wider implement, like a straight bar in order make sure that the shoulders aren't converging, and diminishing the action of the lats as a consequence.

Remember, there is no such thing as a bad exercise, an exercise without intent is a bad exercise.

Stay Strong,

Jordan

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