Skull crushers are a strength exercise used to work the triceps in the upper arms. They’re considered an isolation exercise, as they use the elbow joint for their motion.
If you’re looking to add an upper-arm exercise to your weight training routine, skull crushers may be the perfect fit to finish off a well-rounded upper-body exercise!
A Metal-Sounding Name
Though the name may sound medieval, “skull crushers” references the fact that your body is positioned under your weights.
That being said, it is a popular exercise in the weightlifting community, as it has a multitude of benefits for building upper arm strength.
The Tricep Muscle Stimulator
Skull crushers are often referred to by several names: “lying triceps extensions”, “French extensions”, and “French presses”.
This strength training exercise is designed to stimulate the entirety of the triceps muscle group:
- Medial triceps brachii
- Long triceps brachii
- Lateral triceps brachii
In performing skull crushers each of these muscles is worked, adding to the lifter’s overall upper-body strength and stamina.
Using Positioning And Spotters For Skull Crushers
To add skull crushers to your exercise routine:
- Make sure that you have the appropriate weight equipment, and that you have adjusted your weights appropriately.
- Lay back on your weight bench with your feet flat on the floor, and engage your glutes so that your core stays active during the course of the exercise.
- Make sure that you have a dedicated spotter with you before starting the exercise.
Correctly Performing Your Exercise
Once you’re in position:
- Bend your elbows and carefully lower your weights toward your body without moving your upper arms. Try and keep your elbows steady to prevent them from flaring out.
- Slowly straighten your elbows out, lifting the weights back above your body.
- Repeat steps 1 and 2 for the desired amount of repetitions.
Elbow Joint And Tricep Benefits
Skull crushers are a great exercise to add to any strength training. In addition to helping increase your tricep strength, you can also help prevent injury in your elbow joint.
This push exercise will help you isolate the muscles in your triceps, making it a good workout to round out your upper arm and other upper-body exercises.
Decline- And Incline-Based Skull Crushers
If you’re looking to take your skull crusher exercises to the next level:
- Consider performing the skull crusher on a slight decline. You can achieve this by adjusting your weight bench so that your head is positioned slightly down towards the floor for a more intense workout.
- You can also set your bench up so that you’re sitting at an incline. This can help reduce any elbow pain you may otherwise have.
- If you don’t have a barbell or E-Z bar, you can use dumbbells to achieve a similar workout.
Add The Tricep Workout For Strength And Stamina
Working the triceps is a huge part of having a well-rounded upper-body workout. By focusing on all three of the tricep group muscles, you’ll ensure not only improved strength and stamina, but better range of motion and elbow support as well.