Skull crushers are an effective mass-building exercise for the triceps. You can perform them using anything from a straight bar, an EZ-bar, dumbbells or even cable machines.
Perform each movement correctly to avoid injury. Keep weight under control during both the eccentric and concentric phase, particularly when lowering it behind your head. Build Insane Triceps by Doing Skull Crushers – Laz Tymoff
Skull crushers are an effective way to increase the strength of your triceps brachii – the three-headed muscle located along each arm’s backside – which allows for easier Bench Press and Split Jerk performance while also providing more injury-proof shoulders.
Skull crushers can be performed using any weight, be it dumbbell, EZ bar, or standard barbell; however, according to certified strength and conditioning specialist Mike Durney a standard barbell or an EZ bar is easier for moving.
Dannah Bollig, an ISSA-certified personal trainer, recommends keeping elbows in during this movement to optimize results and reduce injury risks. Many lifters let their elbows flare out when lowering weights, which strains shoulder muscles as well as taking pressure off of triceps. Furthermore, moving slowly is key in controlling eccentric (lowering) phase of exercise so you can better target triceps more effectively and limit momentum used when returning barbell back up towards starting position.
Skull crushers (a.k.a. nose breakers and lying triceps extensions) challenge triceps in an extended range of motion that cannot be duplicated through other isolation exercises. This movement strengthens bench press strength while building bigger arms – an invaluable addition to bodybuilding and powerlifting workouts alike.
Start slowly, paying close attention to form, as you gradually add weight. Focusing on maintaining proper form is the key to mastering any exercise; weight can always be increased over time as you gain proficiency at performing it. When performing skull crushers, it’s essential that the barbell remains close to your head — hence its name — in order to activate the triceps more effectively and activate other muscles such as shoulders and forearms more efficiently. However, avoid letting elbows flare out as this could deactivate other muscle groups in shoulders/forearms/shoulders/forearms thus deactivating other muscles involved.
Movement should also be slow and controlled when lowering a barbell; many injuries associated with skull crushers result from either rushing the movement or failing to monitor where the barbell lands – this is particularly pertinent when using heavier loads.
Skull crushers are an excellent triceps isolation exercise designed to allow you to lift an abundance of weight over a wide range of motion. Furthermore, skull crushers help powerlifters and athletes who perform overhead lifting to hone their bench press strength – an integral element for powerlifting success.
Pabon believes that key to successfully using the skull crusher exercise is focusing on hinging at the elbows instead of shoulders, packing down your shoulders to avoid shrugging during movement which could take you out of position and undo its isolation effects.
Once you’ve locked out your bench press, hinge at your elbows slowly to lower the bar toward your forehead – hence its dramatic name. Take care when conducting eccentric lowering; many injuries occur when lifters move too quickly or fail to fully lengthen their elbows between reps. Furthermore, maintain consistent grip width with no flaring of elbows that reduce activation of triceps muscles.
Skull crushers are single-joint exercises, making them great for targeting your triceps. Unfortunately, though, they rely on shoulders to move weight around, and may become dangerous to perform if your body is unprepared. To reduce risks when performing skull crushers, pack down shoulder muscles while tightening and stabilizing arms as O’Donnell suggests.
Your options for performing skull crushers include using a standard barbell, an EZ bar, or dumbbells. When starting out using a barbell it’s recommended that you start off light and increase reps – this will reduce stress on elbow joints while helping you better control movement.
Another way to reduce elbow stress is to flex your elbows as you lower the weight. Make sure that your upper arms remain parallel with the bench as you try to lower it until it reaches level with your head; then push back up into starting position for maximum triceps growth.