MVP Level Up: 4 Skull Crusher Progressions for Stronger Triceps

By | March 4, 2021

The skull crusher is one of the best exercises you can do to build strength and add muscle to your triceps, but it can be a tough move to pull off properly for every single rep if you’re not laser focused about your form.

Given the unique positioning required to really hit those muscles most effectively, the skull crusher is often performed incorrectly. Too many guys get lazy and allow their arm position to lag, so the exercise feels too easy. Then, they wind up adding weight too soon when they want to progress. That encourages bad habits, like using momentum and the back and shoulder muscles to compensate to help take on the load, rather than isolating the triceps.

To help you to stay engaged with your triceps training, Men’s Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S. is demonstrating five levels of skull crusher difficulty that you can use instead of reaching for heavier weights. These progressions will also help you to keep your whole body engaged, leading up to a tough move that asks as much from your core as it does your tris.

Work your way up through these progressions, only moving on to the next when you feel comfortable completing every rep. Once you master them all, you can stack every exercise together into one killer triceps workout.

Level 1: Basic Skull Crushers

3 sets of 10 to 12 reps

First, make sure that you master the base level of the move before you progress. That means that you take a strong position on the bench, with your feet flat on the floor and glutes and abs engaged.

Read More:  AI helps radiologists improve accuracy in breast cancer detection with lesser recalls

Here’s where you need to focus. Instead of raising your arms in a position where they’re perpendicular to the floor in a 90 degree angle, tilt them back slightly so that you form a 91 to 93 degree angle. That’s where you want to stay. From that spot, move only at the elbows to lower the weight down, then squeeze your triceps to move it back up.

Level 2: Paused Skull Crusher

3 sets of 8 to 10 reps

This variation forces you to eliminate the elastic energy that assists you in your standard reps. From the same starting position, repeat the same steps as the basic skull crusher—but pause for a two second count when you lower the weight. Then, squeeze to drive up from a full stop.

Level 3: Double-Explode Skull Crusher

3 sets of 10 to 12 reps

Now, you’re going to have to think. You have two muscle contractions to handle along with a pause. After your pause rep, immediately perform a second rep, exploding from the bottom position.

Level 4: Half-Iso Skull Crusher

3 sets of 8 to 10 reps per side

Add a unilateral element to your work to help you own the straight arm position. You’ll only move one arm at a time, just like an alternating movement. The catch is that your off arm is still holding the weight in the 91 to 93 degree position, meaning that you work the whole time.

Level 5: Half-Iso Hollow Body Skull Crusher

3 sets of 8 to 10 reps per side

Ditch the bench to challenge your base and core stability as you work your triceps. You’ll get down on the ground to assume a hollow body position, then get raise your arms holding the weight up to the 91 to 92 degree arm to ground angle position. From there, you’ll do the same half-iso reps as the previous position as your brace your core and squeeze your glutes to hold the spot on the ground.

Read More:  3D Printed Shields Protect Guts During Radiotherapy

This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io

Latest Content – Men's Health