When you need to build strong arm muscles, you need to push yourself beyond the limits and when it comes to building arm muscles, you cannot forget triceps as neglecting them means no effective results. Triceps exercises should be your priority if you want to grow those strong muscles. Skull crushers are a group of single-joint triceps exercises that can be done as a part of upper body strengthening and muscle building workout. There are many variations of this workout as well if you want to focus on the different heads of the muscles. So, are you excited to know more about skull crusher exercises that push your triceps to work harder? Read on to find out more about skull crushers and how to do dumbbell skull crushers! 

Also read: Triceps Push-ups

What are Skull Crushers? 

Skull crushers that also go with the names, french extensions, french presses and lying triceps extension are effective workout to build tricep muscles and improve their strength and size. The triceps are one of the most fundamental muscles to be focused on for upper body conditioning. Skull crushers are performed by lying down on a bench or a mat on the floor with dumbbells. It involves holding the dumbbells or weights over your face with elbows pointing up, using your triceps to straighten the elbows and pulling the weight upwards. If performed in the wrong way, it can put your skull in danger and that’s how this workout gets its name. 

You can use dumbbells, barbells, EZ bar or cables to perform skull crushers. You may also use a different variation of the angled benches as well. Every variation gives a slightly different effect and feeling. Skull crusher is an exercise that can build the triceps muscles in the upper arm and with variations you can also focus on other muscle heads as well. 

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Benefits of Skull Crushers 

Skull crusher is an incredible exercise to help tone your upper arm muscles and build strength. Skull crushers focus and work on primary muscle groups and secondary muscle groups which involve your triceps working hard to stabilize the arms and prevent the dumbells from crushing the skull. Yes, it sounds intimidating, yet you can benefit a lot from this workout. Here are some benefits of performing skull crushers. 

1. Strengthens your triceps 

Dumbbell skull crushers are one of the effective exercises that can make your triceps stronger.  If you have stronger tricep muscles, you can perform other upper body exercises without finding them too tough. Skull crushers are proven to build tricep strength as well as improve your overall upper body strength. 

Benefits of Skull Crushers
Benefits of Skull Crushers 

2. Can be performed with limited mobility 

Skull crushers are a great exercise for people who have limited mobility or a low range of shoulder motion and want to improve their tricep strength. Skull crushers isolate the triceps by using the elbow joint. Shoulder mobility isn’t something everyone has so skull crushers might be a good option for those with a limited range of motion. 

3. Puts less pressure on the wrists

Many upper body workouts require great stress on your wrists which are painful at times. But not with dumbbell skull crushers as your wrists stay in a neutral position during this workout. If you find other heavy upper body exercises uncomfortable, you can surely try out skull crushers. 

Also read: 9 Isolation Exercise Reps

4. A great exercise when you are recovering from an injury 

Skull crusher is an amazing low-impact exercise for those who are recovering from an injury. When you are lying on your back with the weight overhead, you put less pressure on other joints and the focus is on the triceps. 

Also read: Drop Set Workout

How to do the Skull Crushers? 

As you know the potential benefits of working out your triceps with the amazing skull crushers, it’s time for the step-by-step guide to doing the skull crusher exercise. Remember to be careful and do this exercise under the supervision of an instructor. Here’s how to do it: 

What you need: A dumbbell of suitable weight to perform 10-13 extensions per set. 

Level: Intermediate 

  • Start by lying face-up on a gym bench with your legs on the footrest.
  • Hold the dumbbell with both your hands above your chest, look straight and hold the dumbbell shaft in an upright position. Inhale.
  • Now, move the weight downwards slowly towards the sides of your head with the help of your elbows. Exhale while doing this.
  • You need to move your elbows while your upper arms remain perpendicular to the body.
  • Do not move the upper arms to move back and forth as you may lose focus from the triceps and transfer it to the shoulders.
  • Continue lowering the weight behind the head until the dumbbell is in line with the benchtop or a little higher will also work.
  • Reverse the movement until the weight is above the chest and come to the starting position.
  • Do not close off the elbows to maintain the tension in your muscles.
  • Repeat and do 10-20 extensions for 3 sets.

Also read: Superset Workout

Common Mistakes to Avoid 

Make sure to avoid some mistake as this exercise may endanger your skull, you need to perform it with proper form and under supervision. 

  • Make sure your grip is strong as the weights go over your face. You don’t want them to fall on your face. Be careful of it.
  • Do not lower the weights towards your face. You should take them behind your head and make sure you pass the weight over your head.
  • Do not flare the elbows, instead keep them close and tight to the body. Flaring elbows is a sign of bad form which makes you lose focus from the triceps.
  • Be safe, do not hit the back of your head while lifting the weight from behind the head.
  • Go slow, do not perform this exercise too fast or hastily.
  • You should choose the lower weight and more reps. The lighter the weight, the less stress your elbow encounters. Your form and control may also improve.

This was all about the great tricep workout “skull crushers”. Make sure to perform it with proper supervision and safety. 

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