The Kettlebell Pullover is a great bang-for-your-buck exercise. When performed properly, it can be used as an effective regression that gives a large amount of feedback to the user while accomplishing a few things that will help to better groove overhead movement and core stability.
Because the rectus, iliacus and psoas so often pick up slack for the abdominals, the KB Pullover is a great alternative to Dead Bugs or any core exercise involving long-lever hip flexion. Those individuals who are accustomed to using or prescribing the Dead Bug and who find that performance of the exercise is limited by premature hip flexor fatigue can use the KB pullover instead. The difficulty of the exercise can be easily progressed with increasing how far the legs extend, and easily regressed by lifting the hips and knees to a 90/90 position off the ground. Best of all, the KB Pullover does not reinforce poor muscle-firing patterns or other problems experienced by those with hypertonic hip-flexors. This also makes the KB Pullover a good offseason option for athletes fresh off of a tough season.
Secondly, people who cannot maintain their natural lordosis in the overhead position can use this exercise to help address some of their issues. The weight of the kettlebell helps to establish length at the pecs and lats and allows the arms to “sink” into a good overhead position. Also, because the athlete is on the floor, there is immediate feedback against any excessive extension or arching at the low back. It therefore provides a safe environment to work on maintaining a healthy rib-to-pelvis relationship as the arms move overhead. A dowel or towel can be placed underneath the lumbar curve for greater feedback, and the athlete can be instructed to maintain contact with it as he or she moves overhead.
Lastly, because the lats are lengthened during the exercise and we are challenged not to over-engage the erectors, the KB Pullover can be a helpful tool for correcting an anterior pelvic tilt. Cueing the individual to not overly flatten the low back into the floor, we can encourage the maintenance of a completely neutral spine (a natural lordosis) in challenging positions. With time and practice, this can engrain the neurological “awareness” required to maintain relative stiffness in the abdominals during general movement throughout the day.