Bodyweight Skull Crushers: Benefits and How to Do It

The classic skull crusher exercise employs a barbell as well as a pair of dumbbells, or any other weights specifically targeted at the muscles in your triceps.

What if you don’t have the equipment?

In this case, you can try out the bodyweight skull-crushing exercise, one of the most effective exercises to strengthen your triceps with bodyweight who are of any fitness level.

Bodyweight Skull Crushers: Working Muscles

Bodyweight Skull Crushers Working Muscles

First Muscle Groups

When you are weighing your skull during crushers the triceps muscles activate to stop your skull from being crushed.

Although your skull isn’t at much risk during the bodyweight exercise the triceps muscles are performing the majority of tasks.

The triceps muscle consists of 3 “heads:” the long medial, lateral, and long head.

While the bodyweight skull crusher targets all three heads of muscles, the machine primarily concentrates on the lateral and long parts of the triceps.

Secondary Muscle Groups

A bodyweight skull crusher also stimulates other muscles.

For instance, the anterior and posterior deltoids within your shoulders expand to stabilize your arms.

Your back and chest work to stabilize your torso. Your abs also work in support of your middle section. your legs and glutes are contracted to support your lower body.

Bodyweight Skull Crushers: Benefits

Bodyweight Skull Crushers Benefits

#1 Bigger Triceps And Stronger

The skull crusher that you can do with your body weight is a great exercise specifically working your triceps.

If your triceps muscles aren’t strong, it’s difficult to train properly your shoulders and chest.

The strength of your triceps improves your overall arm strength but it also improves your performance when doing various exercises at the fitness center.

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#2 Low Stress On The Elbows

For some, the conventional dumbbell or barbell skull crusher is not ideal for their elbows. Weighted exercises can put lots of strain on joints, especially when you lift massive weights.

In contrast to these exercises, The head-to-toe skull-crushing is gentle on joints. It will help you strengthen your triceps muscles without having to deal with joint pain.

#3 Convenience

Bodyweight skull crushers are considered to be one of the most effective exercises due to their ease of use aspect. For a workout, you do not require costly or heavy gym equipment.

All you require to have is your own body and wide space. In that regard let’s look at the design that the skull crusher is made of body weight.

Bodyweight Skull Crushers: Instructions


To complete the exercise you need an open area.


  • Start in a plank, by putting your arms slightly forward than normal with your spine straight.
  • Engage your core and pull back your shoulders. The head must be in the same position as your hands.


  1. Contract your triceps to lift your body off the floor and then slightly forward.
  2. Press your triceps with your hands for a long time at the top of the rep, and then slowly return to your starting position.
  3. Repeat this movement for the desired number of repetitions.


The goal is to finish three sets of between 8 and 15 reps in the skull crushers using body weight.

Bodyweight Skull Crushers: Mistakes

Bodyweight Skull Crushers Mistakes

#1 Using Momentum

If you notice you shifting your weight onto your arms, and then using your momentum to push back upwards, consider slowing down the thrust.

Although you’ll have an unnatural rhythm for every repetition, using momentum will relieve tension from your triceps.

Instead, make sure to stop after each rep and then restart to increase the strength of your triceps to maximize the gains.

#2 Using Your Abs And Hips

Another common mistake made by people who use their body weight to crush skulls is to use their abs to push their hips upwards in the movement.

This mistake also eliminates the tension in your triceps and transforms the skull crusher that you use to help your body weight into an abs workout.

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To fix this error To correct this error, keep your body still and focus on separating your triceps.

#3 Marching On Or Running Your Back

Bodyweight skull crushers are dependent on the stability of your upper body. If you are prone to arching your lower back or turning your upper body, it puts an excessive strain on your spine.

Back positions can make it difficult to perform each rep promptly. Instead, concentrate on keeping the back straight during your movement.

Bodyweight Skull Crushers: Variations

#1 Assisted Bodyweight Skull Crushers

In case you are finding the bodyweight skull crusher too difficult try dropping down the knees.

This setup is designed to eliminate any movement instability in your lower body, and it will also reduce the weight you’re putting on the ground.

You could also perform this exercise explosively, bouncing off the ground towards the top of each repetition. This will help you develop the strength needed to move to do the bodyweight skull crusher with your knees elevated.

#2 Dumbbell Skull Crushers

If you’re trying to add weighted loads on your triceps muscles take a couple of dumbbells. You can also try the dumbbell skull crusher on the floor.

For the first time, lie on your back, with your feet set firmly on the floor. Keep the dumbbells in your chest, keeping your palms facing one another, and then engage your core.

While your elbows are fixed and your elbows in a fixed position, bend your elbows to gradually lower the dumbbells to just below your ears.

Then, contract your triceps and lift your arms back to that straight posture at the bottom. Repeat!

#3 1-Arm Skull Crushers

Additionally, you can utilize the skull crusher to work your arms on a one-to-one basis to correct any imbalances in your muscles in your arms.

Make sure you are in the same way as the skull crusher for dumbbells using only one weight in your hand. After that, you can complete the one-arm skull crusher using a similar form to the dumbbell version.

Maintain your core active for stability throughout the exercise!

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Bodyweight Skull Crushers: Alternatives

If you liked the bodyweight skull crusher, be sure to check out these other triceps bodyweight exercises that will help you improve your upper body strength:

#1 Triangle Pushups

Place yourself in the triangle push-up position, with your thumbs and index fingers together to form an arc. Be sure that your spine is aligned and straight.

Begin to lower your body slowly until your chest is almost touching the ground. Then, tighten your triceps muscles to push towards the original position. Repeat!

#2 Tension Dips

You should lie on the floor with your knees bent slightly. Put both hands on the floor and then lift your buttocks off the floor.

With your hips still in place move your arms in a bend to drop towards the floor. After that, contract your triceps muscles back to your starting position. Repeat!

#3 Body Extension

With your legs stretched out and your body on its back, place your weight on your forearm.

Next, you should contact your left triceps and push the upper part of your body away from the ground until your hand is straight.

Return to the beginning position and repeat. It is possible to change sides.


  • Timothy P. Carnes

    Timothy P. Carnes is a certified personal trainer with a Bachelor's degree in Exercise Science from the University of Florida. With over 8 years of experience in the fitness industry, Timothy is an expert in strength and conditioning, body composition, and overall health and wellness. He also holds certifications in strength and conditioning through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) and corrective exercise through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). As an author at FitGAG, he shares his knowledge and expertise on a variety of topics, including strength training, body composition, and overall health and wellness tips. Timothy believes that consistency and discipline are the keys to achieving fitness goals, and he strives to inspire his readers to prioritize their fitness and wellness journey. Through his articles, Timothy aims to empower his readers to take control of their health, enhance their performance, and live their best lives.

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