How to Do Lying Triceps Extension

Also Known As:Skull crusher, French extension, French press

This exercise is also known as Skullcrushers and is a formidable drill. The lying triceps extension exercise is perfect for building your triceps at an advanced level. It has so many ways to perform it, but your elbow extension remains constant. This exercise is not for beginners. This exercise can be completed with a barbell or dumbbell. Adding weight is useful for building mass or increasing the number of calories burned.

Lying triceps extensions are one of the most stimulating exercises for the entire triceps muscle group in the upper arm. It works the triceps from the elbow all the way to the latissimus dorsi.

lying tricep extension

How to do Lying Triceps Extension?

  • Lie down on a flat bench or grab an underhand grip on the EZ bar and extend your arms straight up. Your grip must be closer than shoulder width.
  • Keeping your elbows tucked in and your arms perpendicular to the floor
  • Inhale and slowly lower the bar until it is about an inch from your forehead.
  • Exhale and then extend your arms back to starting position, without locking your elbows. Repeat the procedure.
  • Sets: 3.
  • Reps: 12-8.
  • Rest: 60 seconds.

Why Lying Triceps Extension

The skull crusher is a good exercise to activate the medial head of the triceps, as compared to standing triceps extensions or other exercises in which your upper arm is at your side. This can help add mass to your triceps, which is important for bodybuilders.

Skull crushers Tips!

  • It’s very important that you keep your elbows in during the set. Your elbows will have a tendency to flare out as you move the weight, and you must keep them pointing forward.
  • Keep the rep timing slow and control the weight.
  • And finally, don’t lock your elbows out at the top of the movement. This will take the tension off the triceps.

Benefits of Lying Triceps Extension

The skull crusher is an isolation exercise for the triceps brachii, working it from the elbow up. The triceps brachii has three heads, which you can target by doing various lying triceps extension variations.

You can use this exercise to fix triceps imbalances or as part of a bodybuilding routine. We use our triceps for both push and pull motions, so strengthening them makes it easier to perform everyday activities.

There are other forms of triceps extensions, such as the overhead extension, which can be an alternative. Both extensions work the triceps similarly.

 One advantage of the lying triceps extension is that it doesn’t place pressure on the wrists.

Advanced Move as Compared to SkullCrushers

The below exercises are advance movement to target your all triceps group. It create more pressure that generate more pump and scuplt your triceps. These advance movement target long head and lateral head tricep muscle included medial tricep head muscle.

1. Cable Lying Triceps Extensions

Place a flat bench in front of a cable machine and lie back on the bench, your head toward cable machine. Grab the cable bar and do the same as a simple variation of skullcrusher.

Why Skullcrusher with cable: The cable lying triceps extension is an isolation exercise that strengthens the triceps. This triceps extension is an isolation move that directly targets your triceps. This means that your triceps — particularly the long head of your triceps — do most of the work.

2. Incline Lying Triceps Extensions

Attach the pulley below the machine, and place an incline bench in front of the cable machine. Grab the bar and lie back on the incline bench. Do the same procedure as a simple skullcrusher.

Why Incline: The incline lying overhead tricep extension is an isolation exercise that targets all three tricep heads, especially the long head one. The incline bench with cable creates more tension on your tricep muscle.

3. Decline Close Grip Bench Press

Lie on your back at the decline bench, make an arch at your lower back (having space between your lower back and bench), and grab the bar slightly closer than shoulder width.

Off the bar from the rack and hover it against the lower chest. Now, slowly lower the bar, and make sure your elbows go parallel to the core not parallel to floor. When the bar comes closer to the chest (having four-finger space), push it back to the starting position. Repeat it.

Why decline close grip bench press: The decline close grip bench press is a variation of the close grip bench press and an exercise used to build muscle and strength in the triceps. The movement will also indirectly target the muscles of the chest and shoulders.

As compared to a flat close grip bench press, the decline is more effective, you can easily feel the pressure that creates. Also, every person does not have the same muscle connection, so if you do not feel as much as a flat bench, you can do a simple one.

4. French Press

Lie down back on a sturdy bench with your knees bent and feet flat. Hold lightweight in each hand and straighten your arms directly over your chest. Engage your core, make an arch on your back and keep your palms facing each other. Now bend your elbows, and slowly lower the dumbbells towards your shoulders until your upper arm is parallel to the floor. Pause for a second, and then press back to the starting position. That’s one rep.

Why French Press: The Dumbbell French Press is an exercise in which you raise your arms, bend them at the elbows, bring your forearms toward the shoulder, and then straighten them back up. This is one of the best-isolated exercises for the triceps that build your tricep shape.

5. Cable Tricep Kickback

Set the pulley on a cable machine to the lowest setting and attach a single handle. While still facing the pulley, grab the handle in one hand and take a large step back so that there is tension in the cable. Bend at the hips so your upper body is almost parallel to the ground and tuck your elbow into your side. Slightly bend your knees and stagger your stance if it feels more comfortable. Push the handle straight behind you by straightening your arm, then reverse the movement to return to the starting position.

Why Tricep Kickback: A kickback triceps workout is a very effective and faster building exercise of your lateral head triceps. When you kick the handle back with full force, it generates great pressure on your triceps that you feel by doing exercise.

6. Cable Tricep Overhead Extension

Turn back in the front of the cable machine and bend slightly your torso forward, keeping your neck and back straight. Drop one leg back behind another one and create a stable position. Grab the cable in both hands, above your head, with your elbows tucked in next to your ears. Pull the cable with full extension in front of your head. Keep your elbows tight.

Allow the cable to retract with control, pulling your arms back to the side of your head. Let your elbows go as far back as your body will allow, so the long head gets a full extension. By doing this, you’ll achieve a full contraction in that long head.

Why Overhead Extension with cable: Whenever the exercise with a cable, that means the exercise gonna be more isolated that increasing more pressure on your muscle.

An Overhead Cable Extension is the perfect exercise for long head muscle and working through its full range of motion. The denser your long head muscle is, the overall larger the triceps appear. It is the best workout to build the muscles of the triceps.


What tricep head does Skullcrushers work?

The skull crushers work all of your tricep head. Long Head, Lateral Head, and Medial Head Triceps.

triceps brachii

Lowering the bar to your forehead primarily works the medial and lateral heads of the triceps. These are the muscles on the inside and outside of the back of your arm.

While when you push the bar over your head works primarily the long head of the triceps. This is the upper part of the triceps that inserts under your rear delt.

Actually, when you perform it correctly you can feel the pump on lateral head and long head tricep muscle.

Where do you hold bars for Skull Crushers?

The innermost grip of the EZ bar is the perfect grip hold bar for skullcrushers. This grip target primarily lateral tricep head and secondary long head.

You can also hold the bar with shoulder width wider, this grip effect most of your long head than lateral head. But the innermost grips is recommended for greater tricep hypertrophy.

What is a good skull crusher weight?

The good weight is depend upon your strength, select that much weight where you can easily do 12 to 5 reps in 4 sets.

You can go fairly heavy with skullcrushers, they make a good second exercise in most triceps workouts. Choose a weight you can do for 3 sets of 5-12 reps, but occasionally vary the rep target to prevent stagnation.