Skip to main content

How to Do the Skull Crusher Exercise for an Arm Workout

Learn how to do the skull crusher exercise from personal trainer Brett Azar in this Howcast home arm workout for men video.


Today we're going to go over how to do a skull crusher. This exercise is many names, I've heard them all - skull crusher, nose breaker, line tricep extention. It's all the same thing.

For the most part, I like to use bar, which is the zig zag bar. You can use a straight bar. Some people even use dumbbells for it.

You're going to perform it on the bench. You could have the bench angled if you'd like, I'm going to perform it on a flat bench. It'll just change the angle of the muscle that you're working.

Now, this is the skull crusher, you're going to be working your triceps, that's the primary muscle of this exercise. It's one of the basic and best exercises for your triceps.

With this I want to try to explain it before I show you so it's not all awkward. You're going to be lying down, and you're going to have a moderate grip, close grip, I would say at least thumbs distance apart. You're going to lower the bar to your forehead, which is literally why it's called the skull crusher. Come up, extend, and squeeze your triceps.

Now, you don't want to lock your triceps out completely because that could injure your joint. So you're going to keep it like that. You're going to come up, extend, squeeze, control, and then bring it back down. If it's too heavy, there's likely a chance that you're going to knock yourself in the head and crush your skull. Not to that point, but you get what I mean.

Going into performance, anytime you do a line exercise, you want to make sure that you have what I call the six points of contact. Right foot, left foot, butt, shoulder blade, shoulder blade, head. All six points you want touching and well stable. Otherwise, if you're unstable, unbalanced, you could cause injury to yourself.

You're going to start at the top. As you come down, elbows in place, elbows locked in place down to the forehead. Don't hit yourself, come up, extend the tricep, squeeze the tricep.

Stretch breathe in. Anytime you're working against gravity, breathe out. I'm pushing against gravity, breathe out. Release, inhale, breathe out.

There's different variations of this. You can bring it further away from your head, that makes the stretch that much harder. It puts you at less of a leverage, so it's harder to extend that tricep. So, with this, you get more of a stretch. I prefer it more as a size exercise.

To come almost back behind your head, really stretch that muscle. Extend it up and always keep it over your eyes. That's my rule, so it's eyes to over. Make sure your grip is firm on that bar, the last thing you want to do is drop it on yourself. Then your elbows, you don't want to flare them out.

As you're doing this, if it's too heavy of a weight we see a lot of guys, as they come down, flare their elbows out, and bring it down then come back up. That's cheating the exercise, keep your elbows forward. Come down, you'll get that full stretch. Elbows forward, extend, squeeze, and that is your skull crusher. Good luck.

Popular Categories