Apparently function of the tricep is also pulling the humerus back, and function of the chest is also pulling the humerus down.

And Indeed pullovers are listen as both back and chest builders.

And from doing high volume pull ups I always get sore triceps and chest but never a sore back, I can't even recall the last time I felt anything in my back.

What are the benefits of bench press as opposed to just ignoring the movement altogether and just doing pulling movements?

The only thing that comes to mind is the front delt.

2 Answers 2


The function of all muscles depends upon the relative positions of the bones that they control. Most anatomy references analyse muscle movement from standard anatomical position, and hence fail document the full breadth of movement that some muscles can affect. And this is particularly true of the shoulder girdle, since it is comprised of a shallow ball-and-socket joint, which itself is translatable through movement of the whole joint structure. The pectoralis major, for example, is exemplary in this regard because it can adduct, flex and extend, and medially rotate the humerus, but also depress and protract the whole shoulder girdle.

Thus, a single muscle can be dominant in numerous distinct or opposing movements—hence the apparent paradox of the pectoralis major's performing both pushing and pulling.

The complexity of the body's musculature is such that distinct muscles, muscle heads, and even the muscle fascicles within different regions of a penniform muscle work most efficiently through certain ranges of motion. Indeed, the very reason that the body contains such a large amount of apparent redundancy is that it is designed to handle complex movement through a vast range of angles and positions efficiently.

Hence, the regions or fibres of the pectoralis major that are dominant (and therefore most heavily loaded and stressed) in a pull-over are different from those which are dominant in a bench press, dip, fly, or other movement. And this is why one of the fundamental principles of hypertrophy is to employ a large variety of exercises, and variations on those exercises.

Without such variety and variation, our muscles are more specialised, but consequently less balanced and defined. That is, we develop size and strength for a particular purpose, but not for a broad range of purposes.

So whilst the pull-over and other pulling movements certainly do involve the pectoralis major, they will not develop it well for pushing movements. And the size and shape of the pectoralis major will reflect that difference.

I hope that answers your question.


Soreness is not an indicator of a good workout. Just because you’re sore in the “wrong” places doesn’t mean your working that muscle group properly. There’s a good chance, that because the lat, pec, and tricep all meet in the same area that there’s something about your technique causing this.

Furthermore, while it can be argued that the standing military press is probably a better measure of upper body strength, and more functional, the bench press can still provide heavier loading to the chest and triceps than virtually any other exercise. After all, there was an 800 pound bench attempt (failed) the other day. Good luck attaching a weight belt with 800 pounds to do pull-ups with.

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