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Pull-over Is Equivalent of Squats for the Upper Body

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Improving your health requires establishing a lifestyle of consistent exercise, consistently good nutrition and adequate rest. The best way to reach this goal is to establish a routine. Soon the routine will become habit and part of your lifestyle. Block off 45 minutes to an hour for your exercise session.

Stressing the body on a continuous basis is how to build strength and endurance. Establish your training routine so that you can achieve the maximum benefits for the time you put in. You can do this by organizing your exercises by body part and scheduling the sessions throughout your week. Training from your largest body parts to your smallest will provide the greatest stimulus to change.

Squats lead off lower body development, but do you know the equivalent of the squat for the upper body? It's the pull-over, for the latissimus dorsi muscles. The pull-over utilizes an incredible range of motion, giving your body's second largest muscle group a complete workout. This full-range movement also incorporates the chest shoulders and abdominals.

Begin by adjusting the seat of the machine so that the axis of rotation for your shoulder lines up with the axis of rotation of the machine. This exercise relies on the muscles of the shoulder girdle to complete the movement, so begin with a light weight to help discover what range of motion your shoulders will let your arms travel. Women, select 10 to 15 pounds and men, 20 to 30 pounds.

Place your elbows against the elbow pads and with your palms facing each other, pull your elbows down to your sides, continuing to push until they are moving behind your body. When you cannot push your elbows any farther back, return to your starting position and then start your second repetition.

Perform 15 repetitions before getting out and stretching. Increase 10 to 15 pounds and then perform 12 repetitions. Increase another 5 to 10 pounds for women and 10 to 15 pounds for men and perform 10 repetitions. Again get out and stretch your lats before setting the weight for your fourth and final set of eight repetitions. Beginner women should be using 35 to 40 pounds with men 40 to 50 pounds.

This exercise can also be accomplished with a weighted medicine ball or a dumbbell as you lie across a bench.

Often called the upper body squat, the pull-over should be incorporated into your upper body routine. It not only develops the latissimus dorsi, but helps to keep your shoulder girdle flexible and strong.


(Michael Klepper is a certified strength and conditioning specialist and nutritionist who owns the MEDFIT gym in Miami Beach. Write to him c/o The Miami Herald, One Herald Plaza, Miami, FL 33132.)


(c) 2003, The Miami Herald. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service.

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