The way to Do the Skullcrusher: Kind, Advantages, and Variations

The skullcrusher is a triceps train involving an EZ bar and a bench.  

It’s a favourite amongst weightlifters as a result of it trains all three heads of the triceps to a excessive diploma. 

That is essential as a result of it ensures your triceps develop proportionally and helps you strengthen your total triceps, which ought to increase your efficiency on urgent workout routines just like the bench and overhead press. 

On this article, you’ll study what the skullcrusher is, why it’s useful, the way to carry out it with correct type, the perfect skullcrusher options, and extra.

What Is the Skullcrusher?

The skullcrusher (often known as the mendacity triceps extension) is a triceps isolation train. It includes holding a barbell above your chest whereas mendacity supine on a bench, decreasing the bar towards your head (therefore the identify) by bending on the elbows, then straightening your arms

Whereas you should use any kind of barbell to carry out the skullcrusher, most want to make use of an EZ bar. That’s as a result of the EZ bar’s slanted grip places much less pressure in your wrists, which makes the train extra comfy. As such, the EZ bar skullcrusher is the variation we’ll deal with on this article.

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Skullcrusher: Advantages

Every triceps has three sections or “heads”: the lateral head, medial head, and lengthy head.

Not like some triceps workout routines that emphasize one head over the others, research reveals that the skullcrusher successfully trains all three heads to a excessive diploma. This makes it very best for gaining all-around triceps measurement and energy.

The skullcrusher additionally permits you to practice your triceps when your different “pushing” muscle tissue are drained.

That is essential as a result of throughout all the greatest pushing workout routines, just like the bench press, overhead press, and incline bench press, your chest and shoulders bear the brunt of the load.

In case your chest, shoulder, or push exercises solely include compound workout routines like these, your pecs and delts could fatigue sooner than your triceps. In different phrases, whereas your chest and shoulders could also be bushed after 6 units of those workout routines, your triceps might be able to deal with just a few extra.

The skullcrusher is a useful workaround on this state of affairs, because it permits you to practice your triceps after your different pushing muscle tissue are fried.

This ensures you practice your triceps with the quantity they should develop with out your chest or shoulders turning into a limiting issue.

These advantages are why I all the time embody the skullcrusher in my very own coaching and my health packages for women and men, Larger Leaner Stronger and Thinner Leaner Stronger

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Skullcrusher: Muscle mass Labored

The skullcrusher trains all three heads of the triceps. Right here’s how they give the impression of being in your physique:

Triceps-Brachii (1)

Skullcrusher: Kind

One of the simplest ways to discover ways to carry out the skullcrusher is to separate the train into three elements: arrange, descend, and lengthen.


1. Set Up

Load an EZ bar with weights and place it in entrance of a bench. Sit on the sting of the bench, lean ahead, and seize the EZ bar with each arms about 6-to-10 inches aside and your palms dealing with away from you. 

Hoist the EZ bar onto your thighs after which concurrently lean backward on the bench, utilizing your thighs to push the EZ bar over your chest.

Plant your ft firmly on the ground about shoulder-width aside, pull your shoulder blades down and again, arch your again, and lengthen your arms to push the EZ bar over your chest.

2. Descend

Take a breath of air, and decrease your arms towards your face till the bar is straight over your brow.

If this irritates your elbows, modify it by decreasing the bar excessive of your head till it virtually touches the bench on the backside of every rep. This takes a number of the stress off of your elbows and will increase the vary of movement of the train (which is usually good for muscle progress).

3. Prolong

As soon as the bar is 1-to-2 inches out of your brow, reverse the motion and return to the beginning place. Don’t straighten your elbows too slowly—all the “extension” must be managed however solely take a few second.

Right here’s the way it ought to look while you put all of it collectively:

Skullcrusher gif

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The Finest Skullcrusher Options

1. Barbell Skullcrusher

The one distinction between the barbell skullcrusher and the common skullcrusher is that within the barbell skullcrusher, you utilize a straight bar as a substitute of an EZ bar. 

Whereas most individuals discover the EZ bar model extra comfy on their wrists and elbows than the barbell skullcrusher, the barbell variation is a viable choice in case your gymnasium doesn’t have an EZ bar.

2. Dumbbell Skullcrusher

You carry out the dumbbell skullcrusher (or “dumbbell mendacity triceps extension”) utilizing dumbbells as a substitute of an EZ bar, which modifications the shape barely: within the EZ bar model, you decrease the bar towards your brow, whereas within the dumbbell model, you decrease the dumbbells to both facet of your head.

Utilizing dumbbells as a substitute of a barbell permits you to take a impartial grip (palms dealing with one another), which some individuals discover extra comfy. It additionally means you don’t need to decrease a weight straight over your head, which some individuals want. 

Nonetheless, controlling dumbbells requires extra coordination than lifting a barbell, which suggests the dumbbell skullcrusher will not be appropriate for new weightlifters.

3. Cable Skullcrusher

The primary advantage of the cable skullcrusher train (or “cable mendacity triceps extension”) is that through the use of a cable, there’s fixed rigidity in your triceps all through every rep. This taxes your triceps barely in another way than the common skullcrusher.

The Finest Skullcrusher Exercise

Right here’s a exercise that features all the perfect workout routines for coaching your “pushing” muscle tissue, together with the skullcrusher:

  • Bench Press: 3 units of 4-to-6 reps with 2-to-3 min relaxation
  • Overhead Press: 3 units of 4-to-6 reps with 2-to-3 min relaxation
  • Incline Dumbbell Bench Press: 3 units of 6-to-8 reps with 2-to-3 min relaxation
  • Skullcrusher: 3 units of 6-to-8 reps with 2-to-3 min relaxation

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