Primary Muscle Group: Triceps
Secondary Muscle Group: forearms
Equipment Needed: EZ Bar, Weight Plates, Weight Bench
The Benefits of Skull Crushers
The skull crusher is exercise used to strengthen and grow the muscles of the triceps.
The triceps can be trained in many different ways to promote growth and overhead extensions, such as the EZ bar skullcrusher, are an effective way to target the long head of the triceps.
Having bigger and stronger triceps are not only important from an aesthetic standpoint but also enhances pushing movements. They train your body to load weight with your elbows in a flexed position (a bent arm), and press the weight away into a locked out arm.
If you are looking for other exercises that are the best for building muscle or wanting to lose body fat then you should check our Free Workout Plan or our Workout Plans With Coaching for professionally designed workout plans that have been proven to get results.
The Risks of doing Skull Crushers
Many weightlifters tend to flare out their elbows when doing barbell skull crushers. Due to the fixed position of the wrists, some flaring of the elbows is inevitable when completing this exercise. However, excessive flaring risks injury to the shoulders and removes tension from the triceps.
So before giving Barbell Front Raise a go, here's exactly how to do them without risking pain or injury.
How To Do Skull Crushers
1. Select your desired weight and sit on the edge of a flat bench with the bar.
2. To get into position, lay back and keep the bar close to your chest. Once you are supine, press the weight to lockout.
3. Lower the weights towards your head by unlocking the elbows and allowing the ez bar to drop toward your forehead or just above.
4. Once your forearms reach parallel or just below, reverse the movement by extending the elbows while flexing the triceps to lockout the weight.
For Perfect Technique
Only extend your elbows. Avoid allowing your upper arms to move back and forth from their position as you raise and lower the weight. If you move your arms, you put some of the load on your shoulders.
Keep your elbows in tight as much as possible and avoid elbow flare to ensure the triceps do the bulk of the work. Allowing your elbows to flare out reduces the triceps' workload.
Don’t overextend through the lumbar spine as you lower the weight, keep some tension through the abdominals. Exhale as you extend the elbows and lockout the weight overhead.
If you experience elbow pain during the movement, consider implementing a slight angle (incline or decline) or adjust elbow position (in versus out).
You may slightly reduce tension through the ligamentous portions of the triceps during the movement by keeping the bar just above your head and not locking out directly over your line of sight.
Once you have mastered the Skull Crushers exercise you can try alternative exercises that target similar muscle groups such as;
How To Do Cable Triceps Pushdowns
1. With your feet shoulder width apart, face a pulley machine with an attached rope, v-bar, or solid straight bar hanging at chest height.
2. If you are using a rope, grab the rope towards the butt end with your palms facing together. If you are using a bar, grab the bar with your palms facing down.
3. Make sure your chest is high, your shoulder blades are together, and you are bending slightly forward to initiate the exercise. 4. With your elbows tucked in tight to your sides, bring the attachment down until your arms are fully extended.
5. Pause at the bottom of the repetition and flex your triceps for maximum contraction. Make sure you maintain a neutral wrist position the entire time.
6. Slowly release the weight and return to the starting position.
How To Do Cable Single Arm Pushdowns
1. Start off standing in front of a cable pulley machine grasping a handle with an underhand grip.
2. Slowly extend your arm down, keeping your elbow at your side, until your forearm and hand reaches your upper thigh.
3. Squeeze with your triceps for a second and then return back up to the starting position.