build insane triceps by doing skull crushers - laz - tymoff


When it comes to sculpting impressive arms, the focus often leans heavily towards bicep development. However, the triceps, a three-headed muscle that runs along the back of your upper arm, play an equally crucial role in achieving that coveted arm definition and strength. In fact, the triceps make up a larger portion of the arm, making their development essential for not only aesthetics but also for functional upper body strength.

Enter the skull crusher, a targeted tricep exercise that is as intimidating as it sounds, yet incredibly effective. Known for its ability to isolate and challenge the triceps, skull crushers are a staple in the routines of bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts alike. This exercise, when performed correctly, can dramatically enhance the size and strength of your triceps, contributing to better arm symmetry and overall upper body aesthetics.

To delve deeper into the benefits and techniques of skull crushers, we turn to insights from fitness professionals Laz and Tymoff. Renowned for their expertise in muscle building and strength training, Laz and Tymoff offer valuable guidance on how to maximize the effectiveness of skull crushers. Their tips and strategies are not just about achieving peak performance but also about ensuring safety and sustainability in your fitness journey.

Understanding Skull Crushers

Skull crushers, also known as lying triceps extensions, are a weightlifting exercise that primarily targets the triceps muscles. This exercise is performed by lying on a bench, holding weights directly above your chest, and then lowering them towards your forehead – hence the ominous name ‘skull crusher’. The motion involves bending the elbows to bring the weights down and then extending the arms back to the starting position. The controlled, repetitive movement focuses intensely on the triceps, providing a rigorous workout that is highly effective in building muscle mass and strength in these areas.

The triceps, anatomically known as the triceps brachii, are comprised of three heads: the long head, medial head, and lateral head. Each plays a crucial role in the extension of the elbow joint. When performing skull crushers, all three heads of the triceps are engaged, but there’s a significant emphasis on the long head, which is often the hardest to target. This makes skull crushers a comprehensive exercise for developing the overall size and definition of the triceps.

Tracing the history of the skull crusher exercise, it has been a part of strength training routines for decades. While the exact origin is not clearly documented, it has been a staple in bodybuilding circles since at least the mid-20th century. Renowned for its effectiveness in isolating the triceps, the exercise gained popularity in bodybuilding and fitness communities and remains a favorite due to its simplicity and efficiency. The adaptability of skull crushers, allowing variations with different equipment like dumbbells, barbells, or EZ bars, has further cemented its place as a versatile and fundamental exercise in tricep development.

Benefits of Skull Crushers

Skull crushers stand out as a powerhouse exercise for exceptional tricep growth and strength. This exercise is uniquely effective due to its ability to isolate the tricep muscles, ensuring that they bear the majority of the workload. By focusing solely on the elbow extension, skull crushers stimulate the triceps in a way that many compound exercises cannot match. This isolation leads to significant hypertrophy (muscle growth) and strength gains, as it targets all three heads of the triceps muscle, with a pronounced effect on the long head – a segment often underworked in other exercises.

When compared to other popular tricep exercises, such as tricep pushdowns or dips, skull crushers offer a distinctive advantage. Unlike pushdowns, which can sometimes engage the shoulders and back, skull crushers maintain strict tricep activation, making them more efficient for direct tricep development. Similarly, while dips are effective for overall upper body strength, they do not provide the same level of tricep isolation as skull crushers.

Fitness professionals Laz and Tymoff emphasize the effectiveness of skull crushers in both muscle building and functional strength training. They point out that incorporating skull crushers into a workout routine can lead to more defined arms, improved muscular endurance, and a stronger pushing capability, essential for exercises like the bench press. Laz and Tymoff also highlight that, in addition to aesthetic benefits, the strength gained from skull crushers has practical applications in everyday activities that involve pushing motions.

Proper Technique and Variations

Mastering the correct technique for skull crushers is crucial for maximizing their effectiveness and minimizing the risk of injury. The exercise begins by lying flat on a bench with your feet firmly planted on the ground. Hold a barbell or an EZ bar with an overhand grip, arms fully extended towards the ceiling. Slowly lower the bar towards your forehead by bending the elbows while keeping the upper arms stationary. The elbows should be tucked in, avoiding flaring out to the sides. Once the bar is near the forehead or just above, extend the arms back to the starting position, focusing on contracting the triceps.

Laz and Tymoff emphasize the importance of controlled movements, cautioning against common mistakes such as using excessive weight, which can lead to form breakdown and potential injury. They also warn against moving the elbows or shoulders during the exercise, as this can shift the focus away from the triceps and reduce the effectiveness of the workout.

Variations of skull crushers can add diversity to your workout and target the triceps differently. Using dumbbells allows for a greater range of motion and individual arm work, which can be beneficial for addressing imbalances. An EZ bar is often preferred for its ergonomic design, which can reduce strain on the wrists. Incline and decline bench positions can also be used to alter the angle of the exercise, thereby challenging the triceps in unique ways.

Laz and Tymoff recommend starting with lighter weights to perfect the technique before gradually increasing the load. They also suggest incorporating different variations of skull crushers to continually challenge the triceps and prevent workout plateaus. Attention to form, controlled movements, and regular variation are key elements, according to Laz and Tymoff, for anyone looking to fully reap the benefits of this effective tricep exercise.

Incorporating Skull Crushers into Your Workout Routine

Incorporating skull crushers into a workout routine effectively can significantly enhance tricep development. For a balanced approach, Laz and Tymoff suggest including skull crushers in an arm-focused session or as part of a push-pull-legs split. In a full-body workout, they can be paired with exercises targeting different muscle groups to ensure a well-rounded routine. It’s also effective to include them on chest or shoulder days, as the triceps are already being activated in many pressing movements.

Laz and Tymoff recommend performing skull crushers with a frequency of 1-2 times per week, ensuring adequate rest for the triceps to recover and grow. As for the number of sets and reps, they advise starting with 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps, which is ideal for muscle hypertrophy. Beginners are encouraged to focus on mastering the technique with lighter weights and fewer sets, gradually increasing the intensity as they become more comfortable with the exercise.

For advanced lifters, Laz and Tymoff suggest experimenting with higher weights and varying the rep range to include some lower (4-6 reps) and higher (12-15 reps) ranges. This variation can help overcome plateaus and stimulate further muscle growth. Supersets can also be effective, where skull crushers are paired with another tricep exercise like tricep pushdowns for an intense tricep workout.

Regardless of the experience level, the key is to listen to your body and adjust the frequency, sets, and reps based on individual recovery and growth. Laz and Tymoff emphasize the importance of consistency and progression, encouraging lifters to gradually increase the challenge to their triceps while maintaining proper form and technique.

Safety and Injury Prevention

Safety is paramount when performing skull crushers, as improper technique or overexertion can lead to injuries. The most common injuries associated with this exercise are elbow strain and wrist discomfort, largely due to incorrect form or using weights that are too heavy. Additionally, the proximity of the weight to the head during the movement necessitates a careful and controlled approach to avoid accidents.

Laz and Tymoff stress the importance of starting with lighter weights to ensure that the form is correct and manageable. They recommend focusing on a full range of motion and smooth, controlled movements to reduce the risk of strain. Keeping the elbows tucked and aligned, rather than flaring out, is crucial for targeting the triceps effectively and avoiding undue stress on the elbow joints.

Wrist position is another critical factor. Using an EZ bar or wrist wraps can help maintain a comfortable wrist alignment, reducing the likelihood of discomfort or injury. Furthermore, Laz and Tymoff advise against sudden increases in weight, suggesting incremental adjustments to allow the body to adapt safely.

A well-rounded warm-up targeting the arms, shoulders, and upper back is also essential for preparing the muscles and joints for the exercise. Laz and Tymoff recommend incorporating stretches and light, dynamic movements to increase blood flow and flexibility in these areas. Rest and recovery are equally important; ensuring adequate rest days and paying attention to any signs of overuse or fatigue can prevent long-term injuries.

Advanced Techniques and Progression

For those looking to take their tricep training to the next level, incorporating advanced techniques into skull crusher workouts can be highly beneficial. Laz and Tymoff suggest several methods to enhance the effectiveness of this exercise, thereby continuously challenging the triceps and fostering further growth and strength.

One advanced technique is the use of tempo variations. This involves altering the speed of the repetitions, such as slowing down the eccentric (lowering) phase of the skull crusher, which increases time under tension and can lead to greater muscle hypertrophy. Another method is to perform partial reps in addition to full range movements, focusing on either the top or bottom part of the movement to intensify the burn and fatigue in the triceps.

Drop sets are another progression strategy recommended by Laz and Tymoff. After completing a set of skull crushers to near failure, immediately reduce the weight and continue with more reps until fatigue. This method helps in pushing past muscle endurance limits and is effective in breaking through plateaus.

Additionally, they advocate for the inclusion of paused reps, where a brief pause is held at the bottom of the movement. This pause eliminates the use of momentum, ensuring that the triceps are fully engaged and working harder to lift the weight.

Supersets with other tricep-targeting exercises can also be incorporated for an intense tricep workout. For instance, performing a set of skull crushers followed by tricep dips or pushdowns can significantly increase muscle activation and endurance.

Laz and Tymoff emphasize the importance of listening to your body and not rushing into these advanced techniques. They recommend mastering the basic form of skull crushers before attempting these variations. Progression should be gradual, ensuring that the triceps are well-conditioned to handle the increased intensity without risking injury.


In summary, skull crushers are a highly effective exercise for developing strength and size in the triceps, a crucial muscle group for both aesthetic and functional upper body fitness. As we’ve explored, the correct technique and variations of skull crushers can make a significant difference in targeting the triceps effectively. Incorporating them into your workout routine, with attention to frequency and intensity, can yield impressive results. Remember, safety and injury prevention are paramount, so starting with manageable weights and prioritizing proper form is essential.

We’ve also delved into advanced techniques and progression strategies, as recommended by fitness professionals Laz and Tymoff, to continually challenge your triceps and push past any plateaus. Their insights emphasize the importance of consistent effort and gradual progression in achieving muscle growth and strength.

Laz and Tymoff encourage you to integrate skull crushers into your training regimen and experience the transformative effects for yourself. They remind us that progress in fitness is a journey, and every step, no matter how small, leads to significant improvements over time. Stay committed, focus on your form, and the results will speak for themselves. Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced athlete, skull crushers can be a game-changer in your arm workouts. So, load up that barbell, keep your elbows tight, and crush those skull crushers with confidence and determination!

By admin

Background: Evelyn Hartwood was born in the picturesque city of Edinburgh in 1975. Growing up in a city steeped in history and literature, she developed a deep love for storytelling and the written word at a young age. She studied English Literature at the University of Edinburgh, where her fascination with gothic and historical fiction began to shape her future writing style. Career: Evelyn started her career as a journalist, writing for various local newspapers, where she honed her skill in weaving narratives that captivated readers. However, her passion for fiction writing never waned, and she eventually transitioned to become a full-time novelist. Writing Style: Evelyn is known for her rich, descriptive prose that transports readers to different eras and settings. Her novels often blend elements of gothic fiction with deep psychological insights, creating immersive and thought-provoking experiences. She has a knack for developing complex characters that stay with readers long after they've turned the last page.

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