Learn how to Do the Skullcrusher: Type, 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 vital as a result of it ensures your triceps develop proportionally and helps you strengthen your whole triceps, which ought to enhance 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 helpful, tips on how to carry out it with correct type, the very best skullcrusher alternate options, and extra.

What Is the Skullcrusher?

The skullcrusher (also called the mendacity triceps extension) is a triceps isolation train. It entails holding a barbell above your chest whereas mendacity supine on a bench, decreasing the bar towards your head (therefore the title) by bending on the elbows, then straightening your arms

Whereas you need to 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 concentrate on 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 excellent for gaining all-around triceps measurement and power.

The skullcrusher additionally means that you can prepare your triceps when your different “pushing” muscle tissue are drained.

That is vital 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 might 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 could possibly deal with a couple of extra.

The skullcrusher is a useful workaround on this state of affairs, because it means that you can prepare your triceps after your different pushing muscle tissue are fried.

This ensures you prepare 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 embrace the skullcrusher in my very own coaching and my health applications for women and men, Greater Leaner Stronger and Thinner Leaner Stronger

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Skullcrusher: Muscle tissues 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: Type

One of the best ways to learn to carry out the skullcrusher is to separate the train into three elements: arrange, descend, and prolong.


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 palms about 6-to-10 inches aside and your palms going through 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 toes firmly on the ground about shoulder-width aside, pull your shoulder blades down and again, arch your again, and prolong your arms to push the EZ bar over your chest.

2. Descend

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

If this irritates your elbows, modify it by decreasing the bar excessive of your head till it nearly 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 mostly 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—your complete “extension” must be managed however solely take a few second.

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

Skullcrusher gif

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The Greatest Skullcrusher Alternate 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 possibility in case your fitness center 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 adjustments 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 means that you can take a impartial grip (palms going through one another), which some folks discover extra comfy. It additionally means you don’t must decrease a weight immediately over your head, which some folks want. 

Nevertheless, controlling dumbbells requires extra coordination than lifting a barbell, which implies the dumbbell skullcrusher might not be appropriate for new weightlifters.

3. Cable Skullcrusher

The principle good thing about the cable skullcrusher train (or “cable mendacity triceps extension”) is that by utilizing a cable, there’s fixed pressure in your triceps all through every rep. This taxes your triceps barely in a different way than the common skullcrusher.

The Greatest Skullcrusher Exercise

Right here’s a exercise that features all the very best 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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