This exercise provided courtesy of Mike Clausen, founder and co-owner of DIAKADI Body training gym, voted best personal training gym in San Francisco by CitySearch in 2006.
Pull-overs are excellent for strengthening the lat and serratus muscles around your shoulder blades. If you go for too much range of motion on these, you risk injuring your shoulders, so be sure to use a contained motion with maximum control.
Back (lats, serratus)
Lie on your back on a flat bench with a medicine ball (or dumbbell) held in both hands by the ends with your palms facing in towards each other. Extend your arms straight up toward the ceiling while keeping your shoulders pulled down. Bend both elbows slightly toward the ceiling, but not out to the sides (see Photo 1).
- From the starting position, keep the angle in your elbow as you lower both arms toward the floor beyond your head. Keep your shoulders down and retracted as you do this, and do not lower beyond the level of your head, or you risk shoulder injury. Also be careful not to let your elbows poke to the sides as you lower your arms (see Photos 2 and 3).
- From the bottom of your motion, bring your arms back up until they are above your nose, keeping your shoulders down as your arms rise, and trying not to pause at the top of your motion (see Photo 4).