How To Do Skullcrushers

At last – an exercise with a fun name! There’s nothing wrong with accurate, descriptive terms like “squat” or “dumbbell pull-over” but do they excite like skullcrusher? They absolutely do not.

With that excitement might come a twinge of fear, but rest assured, there will be no actual crushing of skulls during a set of skullcrushers unless things go very wrong indeed. What the exercise does do is work your triceps, making it a good addition to the routine of any gym-goer looking to develop strong upper arms.

The skullcrusher bears many similarities to the dumbbell pull-over and the French press (which doesn’t involve coffee, sadly), and can be done with a variety of free weights and at different bench angles to provide different benefits. First though, we’ll run through a flat bench skullcrusher using dumbbells, because it’s as good a place as any to start.

How To Do Skullcrushers

Lie on a flat bench and hold a dumbbell in each hand above you with your arms extended and palms facing. It’s very important not to go too heavy with the dumbbells, or the whole skullcrushing thing might start to feel like a possibility well before the end of a tough set.

Keeping your upper arms straight, lower the dumbbells slowly and under complete control by bending at the elbows until they are just above your forehead, then raise them back to the starting position.

The advantage of using dumbbells is that each arm works independently so one side of your body doesn’t compensate for the weaker side. The disadvantage is that you have to use less weight than with an EZ-bar or barbell to avoid losing control. Other skullcrusher variations involve setting the bench up at an incline or decline or altering your grip to put more emphasis on different parts of the triceps.

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