Triceps Skull Crushers: 3 Variations for Bigger Triceps

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People are divided on the subject of dumbbell skull crushers. On one side, they won’t let you lift as much as with a barbell or a machine, but they have a positive side too: they make each of your arms work individually, without the support of the other arm, so you will be able to use this to improve your posture and your symmetry because your stronger arm won’t dominate the lift. Also, if you use dumbbells, you will be able to change your grip to activate different heads of the triceps – using a hammer hold may be better than a supinated grip sometimes! If you have cables around, you can use them too, but with even heavier weights!

#2. Barbell Skull Crusher

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This skull crusher has limits – when you use a barbell, the angle is such that you can’t mess up with the weight because it will literally crush your skull if it falls, so be careful if you’re using a straight bar. If you have access to a Z bar, use that and keep your skull crush-free. This way of lifting has some advantages too – you can use more weight because it’ll be spread around both your arms. To keep your symmetry and natural range of motion, use free weights, but don’t be discouraged to use fixed machines too, if they get the job done! They can help you become stronger and build your form as well!

#3. Incline Skull Crusher

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When you adjust the inclination on the bench, instead of doing the skull crushers with your arms perpendicular to the floor, they’ll be inclined to put even more stress on the long head of your triceps. Because of this, you will want to start off with a lighter weight and then progress forward when you’re sure your form is perfect and you can handle the inclination, which will, of course, make everything more difficult. Also, you might want to try a declined position on a decline bench.

Finally, while almost all presses will activate your triceps, they will also isolate your muscles in the specific way you’d want to be able to beef them up! Your biceps has the vanity curls, and your triceps has the skull crushers. These exercises aren’t set in stone either – you are free to play with their variations in equipment, angle, weight, grip and so on, but you can also target different heads on your biceps, or balance your arms out by only working the weaker one with dumbbells.