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These 5 Tips Can Help You Master Your Skull Crusher Workout

When I first began my fitness career, I didn't know a lot about exercise. The only thing I knew how to do were simple weight lifting machines. I didn't know how to lift with free weights, I didn't know what most of the major muscle groups were called. And I sure as heck didn't know what a Skull Crusher Workout was.

Throughout my studies as a personal trainer, I had learned so much. But it is so amazing to be able to look back at how far I've become. I truly enjoy helping others learn and grow with their own fitness journey.

That brings me to the topic today: The Skull Crusher Workout. Some of you might be thinking 'I've never heard of this before', and before you ask - yes, it's a real workout, and no - I promise I didn't just make it up either.

I'll explain everything you need to know about the Skull Crusher Workout including how to perform the exercise and explain 5 tips to help you master the workout so you can get the most out of your workout session.

How to Do Skull Crusher Lying Triceps Extensions

The Skull Crusher Workout can be performed by lying face up on a flat bench. Make sure your entire body is on the bench, except your lower legs. Double check to see if your knees are bent, and make sure your feet are flat on the floor. Then, extend your arms above the chest, elbows shoulder-width apart (not locked), and both hands hold one end of a dumbbell.

  1. Flex your elbows and lower the weight toward the top of your head. Your upper arms should remain relatively perpendicular to your body.

  2. Continue lowering the weight behind your head. Make sure the bottom of the dumbbell should be about in line with the bench's top, or even a little higher.

  3. Reverse the movement until the weight is above the chest in the original starting position. Make sure you don't lock your elbows and maintain the tension in your triceps muscle.

  4. Repeat the number of desired reps. I would recommend 8 - 10 reps and 2 - 3 sets depending on your fitness level.

Before you start the skull crusher workout, you can decide if you want to use a dumbbell with both hands or you can hold two dumbbells, one in each hand.

Benefits of Lying Triceps Extensions

There are so many benefits to the Skull Crusher Workout. Since this exercise is a push exercise it isolates the triceps, working from the elbow up all the way to the muscles in your back.

The Skull Crusher workout can be used in order to fix triceps imbalances from injury, so it's an essential exercise that you could be adding to your workout. When this exercise is incorporated within your workout, you may find it easier to perform everyday activities such as pushing a cart, or pulling doors open.

Off course there are other variations of the Skull Crusher workout such as the overhead extension, as well as other variations you will find in detail below:

Variations of Triceps Extensions

If the Skull Crusher workout is a bit hard on your wrist, there are many ways to do this exercise, so you can still work those triceps and get in a good workout.

Lying Triceps Extensions on the Floor

The lying triceps extensions is usually completed on a weight bench. If you don't have a weight bench, no worries, you can do this exercise on the floor. Just be careful when lowering the weight behind your head, you don't want to hit yourself with the weight, or hit it against the floor.

Barbell Skull Crushers

You can perform a lying triceps extension with a barbell instead of a dumbbell. Be warned though, using a barbell might put more strain on your wrists. Some people like the barbell better. You might have to try out which one you prefer.

Incline Lying Triceps Extensions

I've seen a lot of seasoned gym goers perform the skull crusher workout on an incline bench. When you do the exercise this way, you can target different muscles in the triceps than when you perform the exercise lying flat on a bench or the floor.

5 Common Mistakes

Now we can talk about the 5 ways to crush your Skull Crusher workout now that you have the basics. Skull Crushers can be a great way to strengthen those triceps, but it's always a good idea to know ahead of time what not to do so you can be mindful of it when you do perform the exercise.

1. Loose Grip

No matter if you are using one dumbbells, two dumbbells or a barbell, it's so important to keep a firm grip to keep the weight from accidentally slipping from your hands. I've seen this mistake happen at a gym a few years back. The guy accidentally dropped the weight and it almost landed on his head - thank goodness he moved quickly out of the way. If you think your grip is weak, try working on strengthening your grip first before attempting a workout where you hold something above your head.

2. Lowering Weight Toward the Face

Always take caution when lifting a weight above your head. Make sure you don't lower the weight toward your face or forehead. For safety, make sure you are moving the weight behind your head. Go slowly and at a controlled pace so you don't accidentally hit yourself with the weight.

3. Hand Position

Yes, hand position is so important! When gripping the weight, your hands should be about shoulder-width apart during this movement.

4. Lifting Too Fast or Sloppily

As always, when lifting weights it is so important to conduct the movement slowly and controlled. When you are able to control the movement, you also get the most out of the exercise, but also reduce the risk of injury.

5. Too Much Weight and Too Few Reps

Some people try to add too much weight to this exercise, but in reality, this exercise should be done with lower weight and higher reps. The reason why is because too much weight can put stress on your elbows and lack of correct form. The lighter the weights, the better your form will be, just make sure the weights aren't too light, or else you won't be doing your muscles any favor.

Safety and Precautions

I've experienced this first thing: this exercise can lead to elbow pain. If you have had an elbow injury, it should be avoided. It's so important to be aware of your body and if you feel elbow pain at any time, end this exercise imminently.

I would recommend that you start with just a few reps of this exercise. As you begin to build strength, work your way up to 3 to 5 sets depending on your fitness goals.

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