Jay Cutler Discusses Elite Exercise To Build Wide Lats

Jay Cutler Continues to Provide Wisdom to Weightlifters on How to Build Size and Strength.

Jay Cutler is arguably one of the greatest bodybuilders of all-time. Winning the Mr. Olympia a grand total of four times, even against the great Ronnie Coleman. Even after retirement, Cutler still sports an incredible physique to this day. While Cutler is not competing anymore, he remains an influential voice in the sport of bodybuilding, as well as the fitness industry as a whole. Cutler provides wisdom to the next generation whenever he can. This includes sharing some tips on different exercises to build size.

The four-time Mr. Olympia champ recently took to Instagram to share one of the best exercises to build wide lats. It was an exercise that has seemingly been forgotten, but was used by some of the greats. What was the exercise? The dumbbell pullover.

Cutler displayed a classic pullover using a dumbbell and explained how to do this specific exercise to target back.

“I’m going to do a pullover and this is going to be for the lats…For my lats, I’m going to pull with a full, I’m going to grip with one hand on the handle and grip over. So check this out. I’m going to focus on 12 reps. Try these to get a little more width in your lats.”


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A post shared by Mr Olympia Jay Cutler (@jaycutler)

“Dumbbell pullover for lats

-Note the grip I use
-12 reps
-Get the stretch

#Lifting #GymTips #Fitness

Jay Cutler Explains

Jay Cutler made it a point to explain the ins and outs of this lift. The dumbbell pullover can be used to target either the back or chest. It all depends on the grip that is being used at the time. Cutler displayed the correct grip in order to target the lats.

Cutler laid across the bench and lowered the weight toward the ground. When it got near the ground, Cutler paused to feel that stretch in the muscles. This is important when building size. Once the weight was returned to the starting position, Cutler began his set of 12 reps.

Cutler Still in Shape

Photo from Jay Cutler’s Instagram account

Even in retirement, Cutler has remained active in the gym and bodybuilding. He has been able to keep his physique in great shape but has transitioned into teaching rather than competing. During his career, Cutler built a rivalry with Ronnie Coleman, who has the most Olympia victories with eight. Coleman is tied with the great Lee Haney. This helped build the Open division at the time and it remains the top group in the sport.

Jay Cutler is as good as they come and remains a legendary figure in the sport. He is an athlete who gets plenty of attention when he speaks, especially when it comes to sharing techniques on a certain exercise.

Diving Deeper into The Dumbbell Pullover

The exercise known as the dumbbell pullover has been somewhat abandoned by newer age bodybuilders. It is an old school training method used by some of the greats, such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Dorian Yates. Look at their backs and seratus muscles, they were well developed.

The targeted muscle groups from this exercise are the seratus, lats, with a little bit of the chest. Some have even credited the dumbbell pullover with expanding the diaphragm, so they are able to pull in the vacuum pose better.

Dumbbell Pullover Alternatives

Now, the dumbbell pullover is a great, classic exercise, but you may not really enjoy it in your workouts. Many argue how “optimal” the exercise actually is for growing the lats. Some say it is pointless, some say it is great. Overall, the pullover movement is beneficial, regardless of what you do it with. But in the case that you don’t want to do it with dumbbells, there are things you can do in substitute of it. Let’s take a look at those.

Cable Pullover

The cable pullover is meant to simulate the dumbbell pullover, just with more emphasis on the lats. You can do this with a bar attachment, or the ropes.

To set up, set the cable at a height where you can get a good stretch. Hinge at the hips so your torso is slightly above parallel to the floor. Pull the attachment to your hips, squeezing the lats at the top of the movement. Reset and repeat.

For a visual demonstration, check out this video from the Hypertrophy Coach on the cable pullover:

The Pullover Machine

This machine is becoming almost as forgotten as the dumbbell pullover. It is a staple of Dorian Yates’ back workout. The late John Meadows used it. Mike Mentzer used it too. Some of the greatest names in bodybuilding used this machine, and for good reason. Chances are if some of the greatest names in the sport use it, it works. This machine puts a great amount of emphasis on the lats as well as that seratus.

To set up, it is a seated machine with a bar overhead. Start by sitting in the machine, you may want to buckle the seatbelt to make sure you are not incorporating other muscle groups into the movement. First thing to do after sitting is push the pedal at your feet down. This brings the bar that is somewhat behind you to a position that you can grab it. Then, grab the bar overhead, and place your elbows on the pads. After that, pull the bar towards your waist, but try to keep the pressure on your elbows. This engages your lats more. Finally, reset and repeat.

Pictured: The pullover machine


Overall the great Jay Cutler is still rocking a great physique with awesome strength even in his retirement. You see many bodybuilders retire and completely shrink down after they retire. Not Jay though, he still looks like he could be stage ready in no time. Although he recently stated that he would never compete again.

Cutler has shown us a classic exercise he incorporated for a wider and thicker back, which was the dumbbell pullover. The dumbbell pullover has been utilized by many famous bodybuilders throughout the ages. Although unfortunately now, you do not see it used as much by lifters today.

If you do not like the dumbbell pullover, there are other options to complete the movement with. There are cable pullovers, and even machines that create a similar movement. There is nothing wrong with trying different variations. Although do not completely rule out the dumbbell pullover. Always keep in mind that if the big guys do it, (especially Mr. Olympia champions), there is a good chance it works as far as building muscle.


Latissimus Dorsi Muscle. Physiopedia. (n.d.). Retrieved October 25, 2022, from https://www.physio-pedia.com/Latissimus_Dorsi_Muscle

Serratus anterior. Physiopedia. (n.d.). Retrieved October 25, 2022, from https://www.physio-pedia.com/Serratus_Anterior#:~:text=The%20serratus%20anterior%20(SA)%20is,inferior%20angle%20of%20the%20scapula.

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Greg Patuto
Greg has covered the four major sports for six years and has been featured on sites such as Sports Illustrated, Fox Sports, SB Nation, NJ.com, and FanSided. Now, he is transitioning into the world of bodybuilding and strength sports.