Skull Crusher Exercise: A Complete Guide For Ripped Triceps

For a lot of gym-goers, skull crusher exercise, or otherwise known as barbell triceps extension is one of the most performed isolation exercises. Skull crusher workouts are an excellent way to build up your triceps while avoiding shoulder injury.

If you are looking to get your upper arms more ripped, then keep on reading about this workout discussed by our fitness experts!

Nowadays, one of the exercises that most gym enthusiasts perform regularly is the skull crusher. For them, doing other exercises like the close grip bench press is slightly uncomfortable to execute.

Moreover, doing these exercises on a flat bench may cause harm to their shoulders. Also, dips are also out of the picture because they tend to kill their shoulders. This circumstance leaves them to choose skull crushers. Along with other exercises, these have been gym the most favorite workout of many gym enthusiasts. But, what is a skull crusher?

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Last update on 2017-09-05 PST - Details

What Are Skull Crushers?

Even though its name may be alarming to a lot of people, skull crushers are just another term for triceps isolation exercises. Plus, they still engage in the same traditional elbow extension workout you apply on other triceps isolation exercises.

The only primary difference here is that you have to execute a skull crusher when you are lying down on a flat, incline, or decline bench. You should hold your weights above you similar to a bench press position. You then start lowering it down over your head as you bend your elbow.

Do you find that easy to execute? However, there is a little twist to this. You must be careful not to harm yourself as you perform this exercise.

Caution: Be Careful Not to Damage Your Elbows

Although some gym-goers think that dips are killer shoulder exercises, the skull crushers are also known to cause elbow pain. They are one of those workout routines that will tend to hurt many people.

Why is that so? Some experts suggest that the motion of skull crushers is the sole perpetrator in a lot of elbow and shoulder injuries. But in other cases, the way every person executes the workout is the one to blame for the problem of damaging your elbows.

The Typical Skull Crusher Variations

Here are some of the most frequent movements to execute for skull crushers:

Skull Crusher Using An EZ Bar

You should not utilize a close grip on a bar. Instead, execute it with a grip approximately shoulder-width apart. As you use the EZ bar, your wrists will become more comfortable compared to using a barbell. It will also make your grip simpler to balance. Thus, this reduces the chances of harming your elbows.

Skull Crusher Exercise Using Dumbbells

When you utilize the dumbbells, your arms should function in parallel. You have to work hard when you do this variation since dumbbells are challenging to manipulate.

However, this is not a bad idea. Not only that you can execute your skull crushers in varying grips, but it will also increase the improvements in your triceps.

Skull Crusher In Incline & Decline Benches

When you perform the variation with an incline bench, it will put more prominence on your long head. Therefore, you should not make your angle too steep. In a decline bench, your skull crushers will put more definition on the lateral head of your triceps.

Incline Bench

Decline Bench

Skull Crusher in a Cable Version with EZ bar/ Rope

When you perform this variation with an EZ bar, the pull comes from your side. So, you should not be a resting spot at the peak of the exercise. When it comes to using a rope, this will change how you put force on your triceps. You may put your hands in a prone position at the end of your movement to amplify your contractions.

Skull Crusher in a 45-Degree Angle

For this variation, the angle of your upper arms should be 45 degrees toward your head. It should remain in this position. It will enable you to have no resting spot at the peak of this exercise. It will also stress your triceps long head to a greater extent.

Skull Crusher with Smith Machine

It is an uncommon approach to use the smith machine when doing skull crusher exercises. Since the bar cannot move in a curve, you will have to manipulate the position of your arms. However, you still have to move the weights with your triceps. It will help you to increase your triceps’ size.

Tips & Tricks For Skull Crushers

With that, here are some of the elbow-friendly tricks and tips to consider when performing skull crusher exercises:

Do Not Execute Skull Crushers in a Straight Bar

Most gyms have EZ bars. However, a lot of people are still doing their skull crushers in a straight bar. But, what is disturbing is that after each set, they will start rubbing their elbows in pain. Thus, when executing this exercise, you need to use the EZ curl bar.

The arc will enable you to place your wrists and elbows comfortably. How is this possible? Well, when you perform skull crushers, you are positioning your elbows and wrists on its common state.

Do Not Lower Down the Weights to Your Forehead

Most of the time, you have to lower the weights in various points when executing skull crushers. These involve placing the weights close to your chin or your head. Sometimes, they are also known as “nose breakers” as they may harm your nose as you lower the weights down to this level.

If you also try to lower down the weights on your forehead, this may also cause harm if ever you will lose control. Instead of dropping the weights up to these levels, you may position the weights down slightly above your head.

Do Not Do Skull Crushers in Lower Repetitions

For skull crushers and other triceps isolation workouts, you need to execute them in higher repetitions. You should not go lower than ten repetitions for these exercises. You should have a minimum of 10 to 15 reps to lessen the pressure on your elbows.

Plus, when you do these exercises in higher reps you are also pumping up your triceps more.

You Should Not Execute Skull Crushers in Long Durations

If you are a person who wants to perform is or her exercises for 6 to 8 weeks without having an injury on your elbows, you need to take note of this tip. You must always remember to shift your exercises when you already reached this point in time. Thus, you need to rotate your triceps isolation workouts to prevent elbow damage.

Final Words 

Skull crushers are probably one of the most performed isolation exercises for to work on your triceps. All of its movements can significantly affect your triceps to certain points. In fact, only skull crushers work on your muscle groups it a complete range of motion. Thus, it will increase its growth and development.

It is also an excellent way to continue adding size to your triceps despite injuries. It is critical to take note of the different variations of this exercise, as well as its tips and tricks.

Moreover, a lot of customers wisely choose the XMark Chrome Olympic EZ Curl Bar to work on their triceps. Aside from the fact that it promotes comfort, it also does not put too much pressure on your elbows. Also, it is great when executing skull crushers.

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