The Skull Crushers: Tone Your Triceps Like a Pro!

The triceps are the largest part of the upper part of your arm and they are engaged during the overhead press, bench pressing as well as other exercises for pushing. If you’re trying to create an impressive arm while enhancing the strength of your upper body the best thing to do is must not neglect your triceps.

It is considered to be one of the most effective exercises for strengthening your triceps. Everyone from experienced powerlifters looking to increase their bench strength, to bodybuilders seeking to increase their size and general gym-goers who are looking to build a strong pump — this is an exercise to strengthen your triceps for people!

Below, we dive deep into the crusher of your skull, providing guidelines for form, outlining the benefits, and offering alternatives and modifications to meet your specific needs in training.

Skull Crushers: Working Muscles

It is a single joint exercise that specifically targets the triceps. In contrast to other triceps exercises, such as close-grip bench pressing as well as dips that work several muscles The skull crusher, on the other hand, primarily targets the triceps. But there’s a second significant — and frequently ignored muscles group that can benefit.


The triceps play a role in elbow extension which plays a role in a lot of pressing exercises (bench press overhead presses, push-ups the dip, etc.). The skull crusher is a device that isolates the triceps, allowing the lifter to engage in deep elbow flexion, while stabilizing the wrist and shoulder joints.

Shoulder Stabilizers

Although the shoulder muscles aren’t as active as they should be in the shoulder socket, the scapular stabilizers and the deltoids in the rear are working hard to support the shoulder socket and allow the lifter to stay in a fixed posture. By limiting the shoulder to move the lifter can cause the elbows to bend to attain the required ranges of motion, putting more tension on the triceps muscles to stretch the elbow joint completely.

Skull Crushers: Benefits

Skull Crushers Benefits

Here are four advantages of the use of the crusher in your skull that athletes can anticipate when incorporating it into their workout routine.

#1 Stronger Triceps

The strength of your triceps is essential to all pressing motions as well as the stability of overhead. Powerlifters should have strong triceps to assist in locking out exercises for bench pressing. Weightlifters need to perform triceps workouts because they are essential to extend the elbow during the receiving stages of snatch and jerk. Strongmen who lift logs that weigh more than 300 pounds need strength in their triceps to complete the lift. The more powerful you become the more weight you can lift, and the greater the weight you lift, the more your triceps will become an element.

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#2 Enhanced Lockout Strength

The triceps control elbow extension which is an essential aspect in the completion of the movement range in exercises like the bench press Snatch, clean and clean & and overhead press. A majority of power and strength athletes will notice an improvement in the performance of their locks due to the addition of triceps strength and hypertrophy exercises (assuming they can fix any technical flaws that cause presses that are not working).

#3 Healthier Elbows

Healthy joints usually result from the proper amount of training, the right technique, and a rise in force production and muscle hypertrophy to ensure that loads and volumes are absorbed by muscles rather than the ligaments, tendons, and joints.

A stronger triceps (along with the correct form) is crucial to increasing the effectiveness of your pressing and minimizing injuries to joints and connective tissue.

#4 Bigger Arms

For certain power and strength athletes, larger, leaner arms can be an objective. The triceps make up about two-thirds of an arm, and more exercise for the triceps can assist you to get a more powerful pipe set.

Skull Crushers: Instructions

Here is a step-by-step instruction on how to set up and operate the skull crusher with an exercise bar.

#1 Adjust Your Shoulders & Shoulders

Begin by lying on your back, with your back facing up on a solid bench for your workout. The barbell must be secured at the top with your hands placed at a distance of about shoulder width. The size of your grip will vary depending on its flexibility and ease of use.

Coach’s Tips

The most important thing is to ensure that you can move your back muscles in the upper part of your body and press your shoulder blades.

#2 Reduce The Barbell

Begin to lower the barbell toward your forehead (hence the name skull crusher). You must keep the elbows kept in place. If your elbows are sagging just a bit, that’s fine however, the excessive flare could cause your triceps to become weaker.

Coach’s Tip 

Squeezes the barbell hard. When you hold this bar, the other muscles will be engaged which makes it more difficult to hold your posture throughout the workout.

#3 Stretch Your Triceps

When the bar is placed on your forehead lower your shoulders and turn your arms so that the bar is placed behind your head. At this moment your body should begin to feel your arm’s back engage and stretch out with a lot of force.

Coach’s Tips

Don’t haphazardly let the bar fall over your head. Be sure to control it. Slowly lower it towards your forehead and then behind until you feel the stretch.

Hold tight and lift once you’ve held the lowest position for a few seconds, push the bar up again in the opposite direction to the one you followed to drop the bar. Your elbows should remain in a tucked position during this lift (or eccentric) phase.

Coach’s Tips

Make sure you take the same direction you followed in lowering the bar. This will give you a more smooth lift and will keep you from throwing the bar off of its alignment.

Skull Crushers: Sets & Reps

Fortunately, this type of crusher doesn’t need to be nearly as complicated as the squat, or deadlift. This means that it doesn’t require any complicated programming skills to reap the benefits. Because it’s an isolated exercise Your choices in programming are restricted However, it doesn’t mean skull crushers can’t be used in a variety of ways.

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Beginners: 3 sets of eight reps using the right weight to allow you to concentrate on your training.

Strengthening: 2 to 4 sets of 8-12 reps using a tough but easily manageable weight.

Endurance: 3 to 4 sets of 15 to 20 reps using an easy weight and only a few minutes of rest.

Skull Crusher: Mistakes

Skull Crushers Mistakes

It could appear to be foolproof because it only works only one muscle, however, the skull crusher could fail. You must avoid the most common mistakes if you choose to incorporate the skull crusher into your training program.

#1 Lifting Too Much

The exercise itself isn’t necessarily hazardous, but the skull crusher puts the greatest amount of tension on your wrists and elbows. Additionally, the way you set up the exercise could make it difficult to safely leave the exercise when things go wrong if you experience failure.

This is why it’s not an exercise you should concentrate on using maximum weights. There is plenty of triceps strewn from an average load as well as a strong muscle contraction.

#2 Not Respecting Your Anatomy

There’s not a universal method for the skull crusher, as everybody has different wrists, shoulders, and elbows. If the straight barbell feels uncomfortable or a burden for your joint, you don’t have reason to struggle with one.

A cambered bar and maybe dumbbells could help you perform the workout more easily and in a manner that is more aligned with your individual structure.

Skull Crushers: Variations

If you’re ready to alter the way you do things You can do a few minor adjustments in the design of the jaw crusher to notice a huge difference in the amount of stimulation and results you experience.

#1 Dumbbell Skull Crusher

Dumbbell skull crushers can be performed like the standard barbell model, but you can unilaterally target the triceps. This could be helpful for those with muscle imbalances or who have coordination issues. Furthermore, this could permit a greater elbow flexion angle that could help in enhancing muscle growth.

#2 Incline Skull Crusher

The skull crusher on the bench that is inclined is possible with any type of load (barbell or kettlebell, dumbbell, etc.) and is installed by placing the bench on an incline of just a little. By inclining the bench and incline, you can increase the stretch of the triceps, and also hit the muscle at slight angles.

Skull Crushers: Alternatives

It’s entirely feasible that the jaw crusher doesn’t work for you. If you don’t have the right equipment, have persistent elbow problems, or just aren’t a fan of the exercise it is possible to crush your triceps similarly by utilizing some suitable alternatives.

#1 Close-Grip Bench Press

The close-grip bench press is a variation of the bench press which will target your chest and triceps by reducing the grip width of the barbell. By doing this you should put your elbows into the crooks and this will increase the intensity of your triceps’ involvement. It is possible to add close-grip exercises in place of the standard bench press program to increase the strength of your triceps and size.

#2 Dips

Dips are an excellent training exercise that builds mass for the chest, triceps, and the anterior shoulders. They can be done with your own body weight or use an incline belt to boost your weight and push the target muscles further.

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#3 Overhead Triceps Extension

The overhead extension of the triceps can be performed with the use of a barbell, dumbbell, an EZ bar, or specifically on the cable machine. This workout targets the same parts of the triceps, that skull crushers do and, if you’re using a cable machine, might be less painful for joints if your joints are sensitive to free weights.

Who Should Do The Skull Crushers?

It’s a fact The skull crusher is a multi-faceted move that can be used for any purpose and should be included in the arsenal of every serious gym-goer. However, there are some specific groups of people who have a distinct advantage from the practice.

Power And Strength Athletes

Skull crusher is a fantastic accessory move to build the strength of your triceps and increase hypertrophy. If you are a competitor in a strength sport such as weightlifting or powerlifting it is essential to have an additional routine that can help strengthen your weak points. Skull crushers are a good option because of their capacity to isolate muscles that are frequently used in larger movement patterns.

Olympic Weightlifters

The triceps control the stability of your overhead and elbow extension during the snatch and jerk parts of the lifts that are competitive. In addition, by enhancing triceps strength training by using single-joint exercises such as skull crushers, you will be able to increase more power as well as muscle size (assuming there’s no technical error).


It is a skull crushers exercise that, although not quite the same “functional” as other press movements such as dips and push-ups can be an excellent option for bodybuilders looking to build their triceps quantity without having to rely on endless sets of dips or presses.

In this way, the skull crushers are a staple of the majority of bodybuilding pros’ workouts. They are also vital to the proper extension of the elbow and higher body muscle strength.

Last Words

Everyone who works out is likely to have their preferred exercise to work a specific muscle. Some people rely on push-ups to build their triceps while others are adamant about using the kickback. There’s a reason that skull crushers are performed in almost every specialty or commercial gym across the globe. They’re effective.

Triceps exercise is straightforward in the beginning however, you must be able to master the correct technique for you to get the greatest gains you can. If you have the right set-up the skull crusher is second-to-none for building strong arms.


  • Todd Miller

    Todd Miller is a CrossFit Level 2 Trainer with a Bachelor's degree in Kinesiology from the University of Colorado, Boulder. He has been a CrossFit athlete and coach for over 8 years, and he is passionate about helping people achieve their fitness goals and improve their overall health and wellness. As an author at FitGAG, Todd shares his knowledge and expertise on a variety of topics related to CrossFit, including functional fitness movements, Olympic weightlifting, and overall health and wellness. He believes that CrossFit is a fun and effective way to improve overall fitness and well-being, and he strives to inspire his readers to incorporate CrossFit into their fitness routines. Through his articles, Todd aims to provide his readers with practical tips and strategies for optimizing their performance and achieving their fitness goals.

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