Bigger and stronger triceps ‚Äď that is the main aim of a skull crusher exercise. Also known as French press, French extension, or just lying triceps extension, skull crushers can be incorporated in an upper-body workout.¬†

If you too have been planning to get stronger triceps, we have a perfect guide on skull crusher. From its step-by-step guide to skull crusher alternative and benefits, you will get to know it all. Let’s get started. 

What is Skull Crusher?

Skull crushers are popular isolation exercises that target your triceps and develop them, They are one of those rare gym workouts whose names are meant not for what they are but what will happen if you drop the weight just like a guillotine press. 

Skull crusher can challenge tricep muscles through a deep range of motion and this is what leads to strength and muscle development. Traditionally, tricep skull crusher is done using dumbbells but you can also try other weights and change the slope of the bench to create different skull crusher workout. 

How To Do Skull Crusher Workout?

Since Db Skull Crushers or dumbbell skull crusher exercise is more popular, here is a step-by-step guide of the same: 

  • Lie down on a flat gym bench with face up. Your legs should be flat on the floor with your knees bent. Arms should be extended above the chest with elbows shoulder-width apart. Grab dumbbells in each hand. You can also use just one dumbbell.¬†
  • Now, flex your elbows and lower the dumbbells down toward the top of your head. At this moment, your upper arms should remain relatively perpendicular to your body to keep the tension on the triceps and not let it shift to the shoulders.
  • Keep lowering the weight behind the head till the bottom of the dumbbell head is in line with the bench's top.¬†
  • Raise the weights back up until the weight is above the chest in the original starting position. Avoid locking the elbow to maintain tension in your triceps muscle.
  • Maintain the skull crushers form and repeat.

Skull Crusher Exercise: Variations and Alternatives

If you wish to try some other skull crusher alternative, try the following workouts: 

  • Incline Skull Crusher¬†

To target more muscles and make the workout more challenging, perform incline skull crusher. The steps are the same as mentioned in dumbbell skull crusher. All you need to do is use an incline bench instead of a flat one. 

  • Lying Skull Crusher¬†

In case you want to try a skull crusher in your workout at home and do not have any bench, you can also do it on the floor. Just be careful when you lower down the weight behind your head. Try not to let the weight touch the floor during lying skull crusher.

  • Barbell Skull Crushers¬†

As the name suggests, this lying triceps extension requires a barbell rather than a dumbbell. Many people prefer barbell skull crushers as the weights are easy to control but they can put higher pressure on wrists. 

  • EZ Bar Skull Crusher¬†

An EZ bar skull crusher is quite similar to the barbell. They are just more comfortable on your wrists and the wider gap makes it easier to balance them. 

  • Cable Skull Crusher 2

To this alternative, you need a cable column and cable bar and hence you need to do this at a gym. It may look easier but performing cable skull crusher is quite complicated and require an extra step. 

Skull Crusher Benefits

No doubt that tricep skull crusher targets a specific muscle group but the workout also offers many other benefits. Some other skull crusher benefits include the following: 

  • It can be used to fix any tricep imbalance or rehabilitate an injury,¬†
  • It can also be used to build chiselled triceps and arms like a bodybuilder.¬†
  • The workout also strengthens your muscles to perform everyday activities like pushing a door or lifting heavy weights easier.¬†
  • By performing skull crushers, you also train your body for other workouts such as overhead press, bench press, push-ups, etc.,¬†
  • You can also improve your grip strength by regularly performing Db skull crushers.¬†
  • You can also reduce your risk of injuries with stronger arms and shoulders.¬†


Just knowing the steps of the skull crusher is not enough. You need to know the right tips and techniques to maintain your skull crusher form. Below are some such tips along with a few precautions to ensure your safety during the workout: 

  • Always have controlled movements of weights so that you can handle the barbell and dumbbells with safety and ensure the weights don‚Äôt drop on your head.¬†
  • To avoid elbows flaring, keep them tighter and engaged.¬†
  • Pull the rib cage down on the bench to avoid flaring.¬†
  • Having a strong grip is quite crucial to avoid any accidents.¬†
  • When you are doing skull crushers, always use lower weights and higher reps just like hypertrophy training.¬†
  • If you have any elbow injury or condition such as tennis elbow, avoid skull crusher workout.¬†
  • Do not eat heavy meals at least 2 hours before and after the workout.¬†
  • Do not put extra stress on the arms with higher weights. Instead, start with lighter weights and gradually increase the weights once you master the early phases.¬†
  • If you are using a barbell, have a spotter available in case you run into difficulty.
  • If you notice any sharp pain or discomfort, stop doing the workout and consult a doctor if the pain persists for a few hours.¬†


Whether you are a bodybuilder who wants to improve his body muscles or a regular gym goer who wants to pump up the triceps, skull crushers is a great workout to try at least once. And thanks to its multiple variations, it will not become boring after a few workouts. 
To learn the right way to perform skull crushers, you can also talk to your fitness expert. Nowadays, you can also find online classes and videos wherein high-class experts teach such hypertrophy training workouts at affordable prices. Find one and sign up.


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December 31, 2021

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