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Added On October 25, 2011
Nautilus Pullover - The Forgotten Lat Exercise

by Rusi
The Nautilus pullover is one of the most successfull training devices ever made. The machine was created by the famous inventor and godfather of H.I.T training - Arthur Jones.
Arthur Jones on the Nautilius Pullover
The Nautilus pullover targets the latissimus dorsi (lats) and the long head of the triceps. The machine allows you to bring your lats to complete failure because the usual weak links - the biceps and the forearms are taken out of the movement almost completely. That way you can provide higher stimilus to your lats during your back workout without being stopped by biceps or forearm failure.

But what about dumbbell and barbell pullovers ? Aren't they superior as free weight exercises?

No. In this particular situation the Nautilius machine beats absolutely anything. The machine offers complete range of motion (ROM) and there is resistance at every point of the exercise.
As you can see the Nautilus pullover machine offers a lot of advantages. As far as stabilizers - the dumbbell obviously requires more effort but using this particular exercise for developing the stabilizers of your shoulders is a waste of time. Ring pus-ups, dumbbell overhead presses and so on will help you achieve much better results without the risk of overextending your shoulder at the bottom. So in my book even on that point the Nautilus machine is better because the stress on the shoulder at the top position is decreased. The only way to replicate the movement would be to perform a cable pull-over on a decline bench-press. But even that variation is not as good as the Nautilius - it comes very close but as a person who has tried both I prefer the machine.
Any other benefits to the Nautilus pullover machine?
The Nautilus pullover machine allows you to pre-exhaust your lats prior to back training. That way you are making them the weak link during the movement and you won't have to worry about your biceps or forearms giving up first.

Dorian Yates used to start his back workout with machine pullovers for the very same reason. And as you know the man had some of the greatest lats and overall back the world has ever seen.
Why Is Range Of Motion So Important?

As the great Mike Mentzer has said:

"Exercise is about movement. The greater the range of the movement the greater the exercise."

In order to damage more muscle fibers and to stimulate more growth you need perform full range exercises. Partial movements can be useful in some situations but in general stay away from them.

Conclusion: The machine pullover can be a very useful exercise for developing wide and full lats when used correctly. If your gym has a Nautilius pullover or similar machine consider yourself lucky and give it a try.
The first machine was sold in 1970 and there are many copies of the device today.
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