Skull Crusher

Exercise / Triceps

Skull Crusher overview

The Skull Crusher, also known as the Lying Tricep Extension, is a potent isolation exercise that targets the triceps. This exercise is performed lying down, allowing for focused triceps engagement while minimizing stress on the shoulders. Explore the specifications, step-by-step instructions, and variations to optimize the benefits of the Skull Crusher in your tricep training routine.

The Skull Crusher primarily targets the triceps.

Skull Crusher how to perform

  • Step 1: Lie on a flat bench with a barbell or EZ-curl bar in your hands.
  • Step 2: Hold the bar with an overhand grip, hands placed slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • Step 3: Extend your arms straight up above your chest, keeping your elbows locked.
  • Step 4: Inhale and slowly lower the bar toward your forehead by bending your elbows.
  • Step 5: Descend until the bar is just above your forehead or as low as your flexibility allows.
  • Step 6: Exhale and push the bar back up to the starting position, fully extending your arms.


Perform each repetition with controlled movements, focusing on the contraction of the triceps.

Starting position

Final position

CAUTION: Rember to consult with a fitness professional or healthcare provider before starting a new exercise program, especially if you have any pre-existing conditions.

Exercise Tips

  • Maintain a stable and relaxed grip on the barbell.
  • Keep your elbows close to your head and pointed forward throughout the movement.
  • Control the descent and ascent to maximize triceps engagement.
  • Use a weight that challenges you while allowing for proper form.


  1. Dumbbell Skull Crusher: Perform the exercise using dumbbells for unilateral training and increased range of motion.
  2. EZ-Curl Bar Skull Crusher: Utilize an EZ-curl bar for a different hand position and reduced wrist strain.
  3. Close Grip Skull Crusher: Bring your hands closer together on the bar for increased triceps involvement.
  4. Skull Crusher with Bands: Attach resistance bands to the bar for added resistance and variability.