Exercise Profile
  • Target Muscle Group
  • Exercise TypeStrength
  • Equipment RequiredEZ Bar
  • MechanicsIsolation
  • Force TypePush (Bilateral)
  • Experience LevelBeginner
  • Secondary Muscles
Target Muscle Group


Triceps Muscle Anatomy Diagram

California Skullcrusher Overview

The California skullcrusher is a variation of the EZ bar skullcrusher. To perform a California skullcrusher, you do a combo movement that is one half skullcrusher and one half pullover.

The additional stretch provides a greater range of motion and longer time under tension for the triceps. The California skullcrusher is an effective tricep builder and should be included in your workout programs, at least for a mesocycle.

California Skullcrusher Instructions

  1. Select your desired weight and sit on the edge of a flat bench.
  2. To get into position, lay back and keep the bar close to your chest using a neutral grip. Once you are supine, press the weight to lockout.
  3. Unlock the elbows and allow the ez bar to drop toward your forehead or just above.
  4. Once your forearms reach parallel or just below, allow the upper arms to extend overhead (similar to a pullover).
  5. As the arms reach full extension, pull the elbows back to the starting position and then extend the elbows while flexing the triceps to lockout the weight.
  6. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

California Skullcrusher Tips

  1. Don’t overextend through the lumbar spine, keep your ribcage down by maintaining tension through the abs and glutes.
  2. Using a slow eccentric (lowering portion) of the exercise can help to improve tension and mind muscle connection.
  3. Keep the head in a fairly neutral position, don’t allow the neck to jut forward as this may place excessive pressure on the cervical spine.
  4. In order to keep tension on the triceps, don’t lock out the elbows completely.
  5. If you experience elbow pain during the movement, consider implementing a slight angle (incline or decline) or adjust elbow position (in versus out).
  6. You may slightly reduce tension through the ligamentous portions of the triceps during the movement by keeping the bar just above your head and not locking out directly over your line of sight.