The skull crusher might sound like an intimidating movement, but I promise that no skulls will actually be crushed as long as you follow our instructions! The skull crusher is one of the best movements to do when you want to build strength and mass in your triceps as it targets all three heads of the muscle.
To perform the skull crusher, you will need a barbell and a bench. You can add weight - but we recommend learning how to do this movement with an empty bar at first.
Lie with your back on a sturdy bench and feet planted firmly on the floor. Grip the barbell at shoulder-width and bring it up over you with your arms fully locked out. The bar should be above your eyebrow/forehead area. Squeeze your shoulder blades together to set yourself into place.
From the top position, slowly lower the barbell toward your forehead and then back behind your head. You should be able to feel this in your triceps.
Once the bar has passed your head and you feel that stretch in your triceps, squeeze the bar, stay tight through the body, and return the bar back to the starting position with it locked out over your forehead.
This is one rep.
Depending on your anatomy and mobility, you may have to play around with your hand placement on the bar to find what position works best for you. If your feet can't touch the floor while lying on the bench, you can stack weight plates beneath your feet to be able to maintain connection to a solid surface.
Perform this movement in a slow and controlled fashion. Keep the weight light until you feel confident with the skull crusher. You don't always need to push heavy weight for this exercise to be effective.
Joel Runyon is the founder of IMPOSSIBLE® - performance lifestyle brand encompassing performance apparel & formulas, IMPOSSIBLE Fitness® programs, and a philanthropy arm. An endurance athlete and entrepreneur - he's also the creator of MoveWellApp and owns Ultimate Meal Plans. Find out what next challenge Joel is crossing off his impossible list here.