Exercise Profile
  • Target Muscle Group
  • Exercise TypeStrength
  • Equipment RequiredBarbell
  • MechanicsIsolation
  • Force TypePush
  • Experience LevelIntermediate
  • Secondary Muscles
Target Muscle Group


Triceps Muscle Anatomy Diagram

Incline Skull Crusher Instructions

  1. Set up for the incline skull crusher by setting an incline bench to around 30-45 degrees and selecting a barbell you want to use.
  2. Sit down on the bench with the barbell across your thighs.
  3. Grasp the barbell with an overhand grip (palms facing down) with your hands slightly closer than shoulder-width apart.
  4. Lay back on the bench and hold the barbell straight up in the air with your arms fully extended.
  5. Bend the arms slightly to take up the tension in your triceps. This is the starting position for the exercise.
  6. Keeping your elbows completely fixed in place, slowly lower the bar down until it's almost touching your forehead.
  7. Pause, and then slowly extend the arms back up to the starting position.
  8. Don't lock your arms, and then repeat for desired reps.

Incline Skull Crusher Tips

  • Make sure you keep your elbows in during the set. The tenancy will be for your elbows to want to flare out to the sides, and this will take some of the work of your triceps.
  • Keep the rep timing slow and controlled, and squeeze the triceps at the top of the exercise.
Posted on: Thu, 03/09/2023 - 22:57

Can you use a dumbbell for this? The barbells at my gym are too heavy for me.


M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Wed, 03/22/2023 - 16:50

I actually prefer dumbbells, Ginger. So, yes.

Hold them up with your palms facing each other, and lower them to the sides of your head. If you can, you can even push your elbows a little further back to get an extra stretch in the triceps. Then, straighten your arms and lift the weights back up.

Let us know how this goes for you.

Posted on: Thu, 06/08/2017 - 10:06

Hi. Wondering about the purpose of using inclined bench. Both for this one and the incline curls. What does this change by being inclined? Thanks much.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 06/08/2017 - 11:05

Hi Maureen,

It provides a different angle to target the muscle. Depending on the angle, this can either shorten or lengthen the range of motion for the exercise. Doing so can target a different head of the muscle - tricep has three and bicep has two.

An incline will generally help target the long head of each muscle group.

Hope this helps!

Posted on: Mon, 06/25/2012 - 09:32

hey, every time i do this workout, it seems like I'm only feeling it in my right arm. Both my arms are sore after, but i dont really feel my left arm doing much during this workout. any tips?