Are you trying to add variety into your workout? Try the pull-push-legs workout, where you can work on certain parts of the body each day and recover the ones you are not working out. In this article, we will be focusing on the pull technique, and provide key workouts you can complete with dumbbells at home. So keeping reading for the best pull exercises with dumbbells, and why you should be adding this technique to your next workout.
What Are Pull Exercises?
Pull exercises are strength training movements that involve a concentric contraction. This means the shortening of the muscle while moving two connection points closer together, like your wrist up to your shoulder with a bicep curl.
Can I Have an Effective Pull Workout at Home?
Don’t stress if you don’t have workout equipment at home, as you can still do several impactful pull exercises without having to go to a gym. Some possible workouts with any equipment include pull-up bent-over row with objects, bicycle crunch on the floor, hammer curls with objects, and the superman back extension on the floor.
What Muscles Are Worked by Dumbbell Pull Exercises?
While doing pull exercises, you are working on a combination of these muscles: back, biceps, forearms, rear deltoids, trapezius, obliques, and rectus abdominis. You can get an upper body workout quite easily just by doing pull exercises.
Benefits of Pull Exercises
Pull exercises strengthen the muscles responsible for good posture, mobility, strength, and flexibility. There are a lot of movements we do throughout the day that actually use pull movements, like going up stairs or pulling a backpack to your chest. By strengthening these muscles, we can not only create balance but avoid injury in sports and daily life.
Best Dumbbell Pull Exercises
7. Alternating Renegade Row
Start in a pushup position holding two dumbbells on the floor with your palms facing each other. Without moving your torso, row (lift) the left weight up until it reaches your waist, and slowly return the weight to the starting position. Now, do the same movement with the right weight, lifting and lowering, and continue switching until you have completed 10 reps on each side.
6. Hammer Curl
Stand up with your legs straight and you knees aligned with your hips. Your arms should be at your side with a dumbbell in each hand, resting next to the outer thigh. Palms must be facing the thighs and your shoulders will be relaxed. Next, bend at the elbow to lift the lower arm and pull the weight towards your shoulder. Your upper arms will stay stationary during this movement. Once at the top of the movement, hold for a few seconds before lowering the weights to starting position and repeating the movement.
5. Rear Delt Fly
Stand with your feet hip-width apart with a dumbbell in each each. Push your hips back and bend slightly at the knees as you lean forward with a flat back. Let the dumbbells hang down towards the floor with elbows slightly bent and palms facing each other. Lift the weights slowly out to your sides until they are in line with your shoulders, hold for a second, and then lower them back to the starting position.
4. Zottman Curl
Start with a pair of dumbbells in your hands with palms facing each other. Curl the weights up to shoulder height, and turn your hands so the palms face up as you lift. Pause at the top of the movement and slowly rotate your grip so your palms are now facing downwards. Lower the dumbbells back to the starting position slowly, and when your hands reach your thighs, turn your hands so the palms are facing each other again. This exercise can be completed with one or both arms.
3. Dumbbell Bench Press
Once you have your dumbbells gripped in your hands lay back onto the bench with your dumbbells starting down towards your chest. The weights should be down and to the side, with your upper arm parallel to the floor or the weight to chest height. Make sure your elbows are always under your wrists. When everything is set, drive the dumbbells up and inward with your hands above your shoulders. Then, slowly lower your arms back into the starting position.
2. Overhead Pull
Start by lying on your back with knees bent and feet firmly on the floor. Have your arms extended above the chest to start. Lower the dumbbells past your head keeping them arms mostly straight with elbows slightly bent. Raise the dumbbells back to the start and repeat the exercise.
Note: Make sure your elbows are bent and fixed, meaning do not bend at the elbows or else the workout will not be effective for the triceps.
1. Concentration Curl
Sitting on a bench, have a dumbbell in one hand between your legs. Then, place your upper arm against your thigh with the goal of keeping your arm perpendicular to the ground the whole movement. Make a fist with your off hand and extend that arm to the side for balance. Curl the weight up with control with the wrist in a neutral position. Stop at the top and emphasize the squeeze, keeping all your focus on the bicep muscle.
What Is a ‘Pull Day?’
A pull day is when you focus primarily on your biceps and back muscles, and is part of a three group targeted exercise program. The other two categories are push day and leg/core day. Push day focuses on arms and shoulders, also called your upper body. Leg and core day on the other hand focus on your core and trunk muscles, giving your upper body a break.
How Many Exercises Should You Do on Pull Day?
According to Kelly Bryant, CPT, RYT, a coach with the training app Future, you want to include five to eight exercises in an effective pull day routine. It allows the upper and lower body to get a good amount of movement in each, and does not completely tire you out afterwards.
How Many Sets in a Pull Workout?
It really depends on the type of exercise you are completing, as well as the intensity of the exercise suited to your body. People who are more in shape may be able to do 3 sets of 12 reps, while others may only get to 3 sets of 8 reps before feeling sore. The best thing to do is research the type of workout you want to do and compare different workouts to find the best one for you. An average range of sets in a pull workout are 2 to 3, with 8-12 reps in each set.
How Is It Different From Push Day?
A pull day is different from a push day because you are targeting different muscle groups with the exercises that you are performing. A pull day works on your biceps and back muscles, while your push day will focus on arms and shoulders, also known as your upper body. This also allows your other muscles to have a relax day, so they can recuperate for your next workout.
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What’s a Good Push/Pull Day Schedule?
Check out three different types of workout routines that include pull exercises with dumbbells.
- Monday: Pull Day
- Pull-up: 4 sets of 6 reps
- Bent-over Row: 3 sets of 8 reps
- Barbbell Curl: 3 sets of 10 reps
- Cable Row: 2 sets of 12 reps
- Lat Pull-down: 1 set of 20 reps
- Tuesday: Push Day
- Bench Press: 4 sets of 6 reps
- Decline Bench Press: 3 sets of 8 reps
- Incline Bench Press: 3 sets of 10 reps
- Overhead Press: 2 sets of 12 reps
- Clap Press-up: 1 set of 15 reps
- Wednesday: Core and Legs Day
- Deadlift: 4 sets of 6 reps
- Dumbbell Squat: 3 sets of 8 reps
- Good Morning: 3 sets of 10 reps
- Jump Lunge: 2 sets of 1 minute
- Hanging Leg Raise: 1 set of 20 reps
- Thursday: Rest Day
- Friday: Pull Day (repeat exercises)
- Saturday: Push Day (repeat exercises)
- Sunday: Core and Legs Day (repeat exercises)
- Monday: Push Day A
- Front Squat: 5 sets of 5-10 reps
- Barbell Bench Press: 5 sets of 5-10 reps
- Hack Squat or Leg Press: 3 sets of 5-10 reps
- Dip: 3 sets of 5-10 reps
- Dumbbell Lateral Raise: 4 sets of 10-15 reps
- Cable Tricep Pushdown: 4 sets of 10-15 reps
- Tuesday: Pull Day A
- Lat Pulldown: 4 sets of 5-10 reps
- Romanian Deadlift: 4 sets of 5-10 reps
- Lying Hamstrings Curl: 4 sets of 10-15 reps
- Machine Row: 4 sets of 5-10 reps
- Close-Grip EZ-Bar Curl: 4 sets of 5-10reps
- Barbell or Dumbbell Hip Thrust: 4 sets of 10-15 reps
- Wednesday: Rest
- Thursday: Push Day B
- Hack Squat: 4 sets of 10-15 reps
- Barbell Incline Bench Press: 4 sets of 10-15 reps
- Leg Extension: 4 sets of 10-15 reps
- Dumbbell Fly: 4 sets of 10-15 reps
- Dumbbell Shoulder Press: 4 sets of 15-20 reps
- Cable Rope Overhead Triceps Extension: 4 sets of 15-20 reps
- Friday: Pull Day B
- Assisted Wide Grip Pull Up: 4 sets of 10-15 reps
- Good Morning: 4 sets of 10-15 reps
- Bent Over Barbell Row: 4 sets of 10-15 reps
- Seated Leg Curl: 4 sets of 15-20 reps
- Hammer Curl: 4 sets of 10-15 reps
- Walking Lunge: 3 sets of 20-30 steps
- Saturday & Sunday: Rest
Workout 3 (Best Pull Exercises with Dumbbells)
- Day 1: Push
- Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press: 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
- Dumbbell Incline Chest Press: 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
- Bodyweight Triceps Dips: 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
- Cable Rope Triceps Pushdown: 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
- Incline Dumbbell Chest Fly: 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
- Dumbbell Lateral Shoulder Raises: 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
- Day 2: Rest
- Day 3: Pull
- Bent-over Barbbell Row: 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
- Cable Pulldown: 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
- Dumbbell Shrugs: 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
- Biceps Curls: 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
- Day 4: Rest
- Day 5: Legs and Core
- Deadlift: 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
- Barbbell Back Squat: 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
- Quadriceps Leg Extensions: 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
- Seated Hamstring Leg Curls: 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
- Dumbbell Standing Calf Raise: 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
- Hanging Leg Raise: 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
Pull exercises with dumbbells can be a little intimidating at first, but in the long run they will help with your mobility, balance, and flexibility, leading to a better quality of life. Always remember to do a combination of pull, push, and leg workouts in order to strengthen your whole body and keep your workouts as balanced as you are.
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