Build Bigger Triceps by Doing Skull Crushers

Skull crushers are one of the best triceps exercises for mass-building, yet can be risky if executed incorrectly. This exercise involves lifting a barbell overhead while simultaneously bending your elbows, creating an extremely precarious situation.

There are a few tricks available to ensure safety and proper form when conducting skull crushers, helping avoid injuries while increasing effectiveness of this great muscle-building movement. Build Insane Triceps by Doing Skull Crushers – Laz Tymoff


Skull crushers (commonly referred to as lying triceps extensions or French presses) isolate the triceps like few other exercises can. While other triceps exercises involve shoulder or upper arm exercises, skull crushers focus solely on targeting elbow joints – an ideal movement for those seeking bigger and leaner arms.

Skull crushers provide more than isolation benefits; they also help strengthen and develop shoulder and elbow joints as well as the supporting tendons and ligaments, thus decreasing injury risk from compound overhead and pressing movements such as bench presses, incline presses, dumbbell bicep extensions or overhead dumbbell tricep extensions.

Slingshot skull crushers require more wrist strength, so be wary when moving the weight with a barbell than they do when done with dumbbells, so use caution and move gradually through your reps. For optimal results, start off on a flat workout bench while holding one end of a barbell (or use an EZ curl bar to keep shoulders stable) using both hands simultaneously – aim to lower all of its weight behind your head!


An EZ bar may actually make skull crushers simpler to execute when performed correctly, as its weight distribution across your shoulders and elbows is more even. Furthermore, when performed correctly it allows for slower weight transfers which helps avoid flaring out elbows and increase control during movement while decreasing risk. By maintaining control during these workouts more likely injuries are avoided such as accidentally dropping it onto your head or face!

For an additional challenge in performing the skull crusher, try doing it on the floor instead of on a bench. Doing it this way requires engaging your legs and core as well as tightening up your back in order to maintain neutral spine alignment. In addition, performing this version limits range of motion so it becomes harder to obtain maximum stretch and squeeze from your triceps muscles.


As opposed to other triceps exercises that focus on elbow extension, skull crusher isolates your triceps brachii instead. This allows you to lift more weight over a longer range of motion – and ultimately get bigger arms!

But skull crushers don’t come without their challenges: when done incorrectly they may cause shoulder and elbow pain as well as damage your wrists if too much weight is used or you come down too quickly.

To avoid this scenario, be sure to slow and control the eccentric (lowering) portion of each lift. Doing so will increase muscle tension time, making exercise more effective according to certified strength and conditioning specialist Jake Harcoff MS CSCS. Also using an EZ bar will provide greater stability as well as making movement more challenging.


Skull crushers make an excellent lower-rep finisher, as they allow your triceps to fatigue without risking shoulder and elbow discomfort that often accompany pressing movements such as overhead presses. Plus, with additional movement variables like decline skull crushers you can put more focus on the lateral head of your triceps for added benefits!

Simply lie on your back with two barbells or dumbbells extended above your head, then bend at your elbows slowly as you lower them towards your forehead (hence the term skull crusher).

Coach Ash Wilking advises that keeping shoulders and chest pin-backed against the bench allows you to isolate triceps. Your triceps will work hard at returning the weight back up into starting position; using a barbell instead of dumbbells will increase difficulty as you engage your upper body and core to control weight; for optimal results use a spotter when performing this exercise.