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


Triceps Muscle Anatomy Diagram

Lying Barbell Tricep Extension (Skull Crusher) Instructions

The lying tricep extension (AKA Skull Crusher) is one of the best tricep building exercises there is.

  1. Sit on the end of a flat bench with a barbell on your thighs.
  2. Grip the barbell with an overhand grip (palms facing down) with your hands about shoulder-width apart.
  3. Bring the bar up to your chest and lay down on your back. Extend your arms straight up above your chest.
  4. Keeping your elbows fixed in place and not pointing out, slowly lower the bar until it is about an inch from your forehead (hence the name skullcrusher!).
  5. Pause, and then slowly extend your arms back to the starting position.
  6. Do not lock your elbows out, and then repeat for desired reps.

Lying Barbell Tricep Extension (Skull Crusher) 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.
Jeferson Moreir...
Posted on: Mon, 03/18/2024 - 12:16

Boa tarde. Posso trocar esse exercĂ­cio por supino com pegada fechada? Obrigado

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 03/25/2024 - 20:36


He asked if he can swap this for the Close Grip Bench Press in Portuguese. I said yes.

Posted on: Wed, 03/02/2022 - 14:24

What is the difference between using a straight barbell with a "palm-up" grip (like it shows here) and between using an H-bar with an inward grip?


M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Wed, 03/02/2022 - 20:45

Hi, AC! I actually prefer the inward grip that you mentioned because it helps keep the joints naturally lined up. I feel that helps you train the triceps better with less joint pain. As for the palms-up grip, it does help minimize any biceps and forearm involvement. It's also the most basic version for beginners to learn.

Posted on: Tue, 12/04/2018 - 15:07

Given the choice between a cable machine and dumbbells what would you recommend?

Posted on: Mon, 02/27/2017 - 02:56

Can I do this with an E-Z Bar using a close grip?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 02/27/2017 - 09:44

Yes, that should be fine.

Posted on: Wed, 02/04/2015 - 11:35

Is there a dumbbell alternative. beginner & intimated by the barbell

Posted on: Tue, 11/10/2015 - 22:33

google "tricep gauntlet" it's the dumbell alterantive

Fabrizio Bianchi
Posted on: Mon, 12/10/2012 - 13:14

Shouldn't this be done preferably with a E-Z bar? And if I use a E-Z bar with an inward grip, is it normal for it to be narrower than my shoulder width?

Posted on: Fri, 12/07/2012 - 09:17

Yes, smaller triceps.

Posted on: Thu, 10/18/2012 - 21:57

Is there an alternative?!?

Posted on: Mon, 08/03/2020 - 06:15

google "tricep gauntlet" it's the dumbell alterantive