Skull Crushers / Lying Triceps Extensions (Barbell)
- Lie flat on a horizontal bench, grip the barbell with an overhand grip (thumbs facing one another) at about shoulder-width apart, and press it vertically until your arms are extended (the weight should be somewhere within the range of above your chin to farther back in the direction of behind your head). Note: When you're training alone the safest way to get the barbell into position is to lift it off the ground, sit with it resting across your lap, and then, in one fluid motion, lie backward on the bench and position the barbell above your chest.
- Lower the barbell either to your forehead or behind the top of your head, inhaling throughout the movement. See "Further Clarification" for elucidation on how the difference in manner in which the bar is lowered (to your forehead or behind your head) changes how the muscles are worked.
- Raise the bar until it reaches the starting position, while exhaling throughout the movement. Do note that your elbows/upper-arms should remain in a relatively stationary position for both the negative and positive aspects of this exercise, unlike the pressing motion found in chest exercises.
- Repeat steps 2-3 for as many repetitions as are desired.
When the barbell is lowered to your forehead both the lateral and medial aspects of your triceps will primarily be worked. When the barbell is lowered behind the top of your head (remember, you are lying down) the long head of your triceps will primarily be worked.
Elbows and wrists are particularly vulnerable to injury with this exercise. Be mindful of any strain that you feel, and adjust the weight accordingly. An angled bar (EZ curl bar) can help to reduce wrist strain, and, moreover, may feel more natural that a traditional straight bar. If you are experiencing a great deal of wrist strain, try this exercise with dumbbells because the neutral wrist positioning of this variation can remove much, if not all, of the wrist strain