You are currently viewing How to Make a Skullcrusher: Form, Advantages, and Modifications

How to Make a Skullcrusher: Form, Advantages, and Modifications

the skull crusher a triceps exercise involving the EZ bar and a bench.

This is a favorite among weightlifters because it trains all three heads of the triceps at a high level.

This is important because it ensures that your triceps grow proportionally and helps you strengthen your entire triceps, which should increase your performance in quick exercises like the bench and overhead press.

In this article, you will learn what the skullcrusher is, why it is useful, how to do it in the right form, the best alternatives to the skullcrusher, and more.

What is Skullcrusher?

The skullcrusher (also known as the false triceps extension) is a triceps exercise in isolation. This includes holding a barbell over your chest while lying on a bench, lower the bar toward your head (hence the name) by bending the elbows, then straighten your arms.

While you can use any kind of barbell to do the skullcrusher, most prefer to use an EZ bar. That’s because the EZ bar’s slanted grip reduces your wrists, making the exercise more comfortable. That being said, the EZ bar skullcrusher is the difference we will focus on in this article.

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Skullcrusher: Advantages

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

Unlike some triceps exercises that emphasize one head over the other, RESEARCH REVEALS shows that the skullcrusher effectively trains all three heads at a high level. This makes it ideal for gaining full size and strength in the triceps.

The skullcrusher also allows you to train your triceps when your other “push” muscles are tired.

This is important because during all the best push-up exercises, such as bench press, overhead pressand incline bench pressyour chest and shoulders bear the brunt of the load.

If your CHEST, shoulderor push workouts only consist of compound exercises like this, your pecs and delts will tire faster than your triceps. In other words, while your chest and shoulders may be ripped after 6 sets of these exercises, your triceps may be able to handle a few more.

The skullcrusher is a helpful solution in this scenario, as it allows you to train your triceps after frying your other push-up muscles.

This ensures that you train your triceps quantity they should grow without your chest or shoulders being a limiting factor.

These benefits are why I always include the skullcrusher in my own training and my fitness programs for men and women, Bigger Louder and Thinner stronger.

(And if you want more specific advice about what exercises to include in your training program to achieve your health and fitness goals, use Legion Strength Training Testand in less than a minute, you will know the perfect strength training program for you. Click here to check it out.)

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Skullcrusher: Muscles at Work

The skullcrusher trains all three heads of the triceps. Here’s how they look on your body:

Skullcrusher: Form

The best way to learn how to do the skullcrusher is to divide the exercise into three parts: set up, come down, and extend.


1. Set up

Load an EZ bar with weights and place it in front of a bench. Sit on the edge of the bench, lean forward, and grab the EZ bar with both hands about 6-to-10 inches apart with your palms facing away from you.

Raise the EZ bar through your legs and then simultaneously lean back against the bench, using your legs to push the EZ bar into your chest.

Plant your feet firmly on the floor about shoulder-width apart, pull your shoulder blades down and back, arch your back, and raise your arms to push the EZ bar in your chest.

2. Get off

Breathe in, and lower your hands over your face until the bar is directly in front of your forehead.

If this upsets your elbows, change it by lowering the bar over your head until it almost touches the bench at the bottom of each rep. This takes some of the stress off your elbows and adds to the range of motion of exercise (which is generally good for muscle growth).

3. Expand

Once the bar is 1-to-2 inches from your forehead, reverse the movement and return to the starting position. Don’t straighten your elbows too slowly—the entire “extension” should be controlled but only take a second.

Here’s what it looks like when you put it all together:

Skullcrusher gif

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The Best Alternatives to Skullcrusher

1. Barbell Skullcrusher

The only difference between barbell skull crusher and the regular skullcrusher is that of barbell skull crusheryou use a straight bar instead of an EZ bar.

While most people find the EZ bar version more comfortable on their wrists and elbows than the barbell skullcrusher, the barbell variation is a viable option if your gym doesn’t have an EZ bar.

2. Dumbbell Skullcrusher

You will perform the dumbbell skull crusher (or “dumbbell lying triceps extension”) using dumbbells instead of an EZ bar, which changes the form slightly: in the EZ bar version, you lower the bar toward your forehead, while in the dumbbell version, you lower the dumbbells in either direction. side of your head.

Using dumbbells instead of a barbell allows you to get a neutral grip (palms facing each other), which some people find more comfortable. It also means you don’t have to lower the weight directly over your head, which some people prefer.

However, holding dumbbells requires more coordination than lifting a barbell, which means that the dumbbell skull crusher may not be suitable for new weightlifters.

3. Cable Skullcrusher

The main benefit of cable skull crusher exercise (or “cable lying triceps extension”) so by using a cable, there is constant tension on your triceps with each rep. This taxes your triceps a little differently than the usual skullcrusher.

The Best Skullcrusher Workout

Here’s a workout that includes all the best exercises for training your “push” muscles, including the skullcrusher:

  • Bench press: 3 sets of 4-to-6 reps with 2-to-3 min rest
  • Overhead Press: 3 sets of 4-to-6 reps with 2-to-3 min rest
  • Incline Dumbbell Bench Press: 3 sets of 6-to-8 reps with 2-to-3 min rest
  • Skullcrusher: 3 sets of 6-to-8 reps with 2-to-3 min rest

The post How to Build a Skullcrusher: Form, Benefits, and Modifications appeared first on Legion Athletics.

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