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Home » Build Insane Triceps by Doing Skull Crushers – Laz – Tymoff

Build Insane Triceps by Doing Skull Crushers – Laz – Tymoff

build insane triceps by doing skull crushers - laz - tymoff
When it comes to building impressive triceps, one exercise stands out above the rest the skull crusher. Often hailed as a staple in any serious weightlifter’s arsenal, skull crushers are renowned for their effectiveness in isolating and targeting the triceps muscles. In this article, we’ll delve into why skull crushers are essential for developing insane triceps, how to perform them correctly, and tips to maximize their benefits.

Table of Contents

What Are Skull Crushers?

Skull crushers, also known as lying triceps extensions, are a highly effective exercise designed to target and build the triceps brachii, the muscle located at the back of the upper arm. This exercise is a staple in many strength training and bodybuilding routines due to its ability to isolate and engage the triceps more intensely than many other exercises.

Key Characteristics of Skull Crushers

Isolation Exercise:

Skull crushers are classified as an isolation exercise, meaning they specifically target the triceps muscle without significant involvement from other muscle groups. This makes them ideal for focused muscle growth and strength improvement in the triceps.


This exercise can be performed using various types of equipment, including barbells, dumbbells, EZ-curl bars, and even resistance bands. The versatility allows it to be incorporated into different workout programs and adjusted based on individual preferences and available equipment.

Triceps Emphasis:

While all three heads of the triceps are engaged during skull crushers, the exercise places particular emphasis on the long head of the triceps. This is crucial for overall triceps development and achieving the desired muscle definition and size.

How to Perform Skull Crushers

To perform skull crushers correctly and safely, follow these steps:

  1. Setup:

    • Lie flat on a bench with your feet firmly on the ground.
    • Hold your chosen weight (barbell, EZ-curl bar, or dumbbells) with an overhand grip, and extend your arms straight up so that the weight is directly above your chest.
  2. Execution:

    • Keeping your upper arms stationary, slowly lower the weight towards your forehead by bending your elbows.
    • Lower the weight until it is just above your forehead or your forearms are parallel to the floor.
    • Pause briefly at the bottom of the movement.
    • Push the weight back up to the starting position by extending your elbows, fully engaging the triceps.
    • Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
  3. Form Tips:

    • Maintain control of the weight throughout the entire movement to prevent it from dropping too quickly.
    • Keep your elbows close to your head and avoid letting them flare out to ensure maximum triceps engagement.
    • Use a weight that allows you to perform the exercise with proper form and a full range of motion.

Benefits of Skull Crushers

Triceps Development:

By isolating the triceps, skull crushers are exceptionally effective at building and defining this muscle group.

Strength Gains:

Regularly performing skull crushers can lead to significant strength improvements in the triceps, enhancing your overall upper body strength.


The ability to use various types of equipment and modify the angle of the bench (e.g., flat, incline, or decline) adds variety to your workout routine and keeps it challenging.

Aesthetic Improvement:

Well-developed triceps contribute to a balanced and muscular appearance, particularly in the upper arms.

Procedure for Performing Skull Crushers

Performing skull crushers with proper form is crucial to ensure safety and maximize their effectiveness. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you execute this exercise correctly:

1. Setup

Choose Your Equipment: Select a barbell, EZ-curl bar, or a pair of dumbbells. If you’re new to the exercise, start with a lighter weight to master the form.

Position Yourself: Lie on a flat bench with your feet firmly planted on the floor. Ensure your head, shoulders, and buttocks are in contact with the bench.

2. Grip and Positioning

  1. Grip the Weight:

    If using a barbell or EZ-curl bar, hold it with an overhand grip (palms facing away from you), with your hands placed shoulder-width apart. If using dumbbells, hold them with a neutral grip (palms facing each other).

  2. Extend Your Arms: Raise the weight above your chest, extending your arms fully. Your elbows should be directly above your shoulders, and your wrists should be straight.

3. Execution

  1. Lower the Weight:
    • Keeping your upper arms stationary and elbows close to your head, slowly bend your elbows to lower the weight towards your forehead.
    • Lower the weight in a controlled manner until it is just above your forehead, or your forearms are parallel to the floor.
    • Pause Briefly: At the bottom of the movement, pause for a moment to maintain tension in your triceps.
  2. Lift the Weight: Extend your elbows to push the weight back up to the starting position, fully engaging your triceps. Your upper arms should remain stationary throughout the movement.

4. Form Tips

Control the Movement: Maintain control of the weight at all times, avoiding any sudden or jerky motions.

Elbow Position: Keep your elbows close to your head and avoid flaring them out. This ensures maximum engagement of the triceps and reduces strain on your elbows.

Wrist Position: Keep your wrists straight and avoid letting them bend backward to prevent strain.

Breathing: Inhale as you lower the weight and exhale as you push it back up.

5. Repetitions and Sets

Determine Your Reps and Sets: Aim for 3-4 sets of 8-12 repetitions, depending on your fitness level and goals.

Progressive Overload: Gradually increase the weight as you become more comfortable with the exercise and your triceps gain strength.

6. Safety Precautions

Warm-Up: Ensure you warm up your triceps and elbows with light exercises or dynamic stretches before performing skull crushers.

Spotter: If you’re using heavier weights, consider having a spotter to assist you and ensure safety.

Listen to Your Body: Avoid pushing through pain or discomfort in your elbows or shoulders. If you experience any pain, stop the exercise and reassess your form or reduce the weight.

The Mechanism of Skull Crushers

Skull crushers, or lying triceps extensions, are a highly effective isolation exercise that primarily targets the triceps brachii, the muscle located at the back of the upper arm. Understanding the mechanism of this exercise helps in executing it correctly and maximizing its benefits. Here’s a detailed look at how skull crushers work:

Muscle Activation

  1. Primary Muscle Group:

    • Triceps Brachii: The triceps brachii have three heads—the long head, the lateral head, and the medial head. Skull crushers primarily engage the long head of the triceps, although all three heads are activated to some extent.
  2. Secondary Muscle Involvement:

    • Anconeus: A small muscle at the elbow joint that assists the triceps in extending the arm.
    • Forearm Muscles: The muscles of the forearm play a stabilizing role during the movement.

Movement Mechanics

  1. Starting Position:

    • Setup: Lie on a flat bench with your feet flat on the ground.
    • Grip: Hold the weight (barbell, EZ-curl bar, or dumbbells) with an overhand grip, arms extended straight up over your chest.
  2. Eccentric Phase (Lowering the Weight):

    • Action: Bend your elbows to lower the weight towards your forehead.
    • Muscle Engagement: The triceps lengthen under tension as the elbows flex. The long head of the triceps is particularly stretched, enhancing muscle activation.
  3. Isometric Phase (Pause):

    • Action: Pause briefly at the bottom of the movement when the weight is just above your forehead.
    • Muscle Engagement: The triceps are fully engaged, maintaining tension to stabilize the weight.
  4. Concentric Phase (Lifting the Weight):

    • Action: Extend your elbows to push the weight back up to the starting position.
    • Muscle Engagement: The triceps contract to straighten the elbows. This phase generates the most force, contributing to muscle growth and strength.


  1. Joint Movements:

    • Elbow Joint: The primary movement occurs at the elbow joint, involving flexion and extension.
    • Shoulder Joint: Minimal movement occurs at the shoulder joint, mainly to stabilize the upper arms.
  2. Range of Motion:

    • Elbow Flexion: During the lowering phase, the elbows bend to approximately 90 degrees or slightly more, depending on individual flexibility and control.
    • Elbow Extension: During the lifting phase, the elbows extend fully, engaging the triceps through a complete range of motion.

Key Points for Effective Execution

  1. Stabilization:

    • Maintain a stable upper arm position throughout the exercise to isolate the triceps effectively.
    • Engage the core and keep your back flat against the bench to avoid excessive movement.
  2. Controlled Movement:

    • Perform the exercise with controlled, smooth motions to prevent momentum from taking over and to reduce the risk of injury.
    • Focus on the eccentric phase by lowering the weight slowly, which can enhance muscle hypertrophy.
  3. Breathing:

    • Inhale during the eccentric phase (lowering the weight) and exhale during the concentric phase (lifting the weight).

Variations and Equipment

  1. Barbell: Using a barbell allows for a stable grip and can handle heavier weights, promoting strength gains.
  2. EZ-Curl Bar: This bar reduces strain on the wrists and elbows due to its ergonomic shape, making it a popular choice for skull crushers.
  3. Dumbbells: Dumbbells allow for a greater range of motion and individual arm movement, which can help address muscle imbalances.

By understanding the mechanism behind skull crushers, you can perform the exercise with proper form, ensuring optimal triceps engagement and reducing the risk of injury. This knowledge also helps in making informed adjustments to your workout routine to continually challenge your muscles and achieve better results.

Reasons to Use Skull Crushers

Skull crushers are a highly effective triceps exercise that can be beneficial for anyone looking to enhance their upper arm strength and muscle definition. Here are several reasons to include skull crushers in your workout routine:

1. Targeted Triceps Development

Isolation of the Triceps:

Skull crushers are an isolation exercise specifically targeting the triceps brachii. This focus allows for maximum engagement of the triceps without significant involvement from other muscle groups, leading to more effective muscle growth.

Balanced Triceps Activation:

The exercise emphasizes the long head of the triceps, which can be difficult to target with other movements. By engaging all three heads of the triceps, skull crushers promote balanced muscle development.

2. Enhanced Arm Definition

Aesthetic Improvement:

Regularly performing skull crushers helps to build and define the triceps, contributing to well-sculpted and visually appealing upper arms.

Muscle Symmetry:

Isolating the triceps ensures that they develop in proportion to the biceps and other muscles, enhancing overall arm symmetry and aesthetics.

3. Increased Upper Body Strength

Functional Strength Gains:

Strengthening the triceps improves overall upper body strength, as they play a crucial role in various pushing movements such as bench presses, shoulder presses, and push-ups.

Enhanced Performance:

Stronger triceps can enhance performance in other compound lifts and athletic activities, contributing to better overall fitness and functional capacity.

4. Versatility and Adaptability

Multiple Equipment Options:

Skull crushers can be performed with a barbell, EZ-curl bar, dumbbells, or resistance bands, allowing for variety in your workouts and adaptability based on available equipment.

Adjustable Angles:

Performing skull crushers on a flat, incline, or decline bench changes the angle of the exercise, targeting different parts of the triceps and preventing workout monotony.

5. Progressive Overload Potential

Gradual Strength Increases:

Skull crushers allow for progressive overload, which is essential for muscle growth. By gradually increasing the weight, you can continually challenge your triceps and stimulate hypertrophy.

Customizable Intensity:

The exercise can be modified to suit various fitness levels by adjusting the weight, number of repetitions, and sets, making it suitable for beginners and advanced lifters alike.

6. Rehabilitation and Injury Prevention

Focused Muscle Engagement:

Isolating the triceps can be beneficial in rehabilitation settings, allowing for targeted muscle strengthening without placing excessive strain on surrounding muscles or joints.

Balanced Muscle Development:

Strengthening the triceps helps prevent muscle imbalances that could lead to injuries, particularly in the shoulders and elbows, by ensuring that all muscle groups are developed proportionally.

7. Core Stability and Coordination

Core Engagement:

Performing skull crushers on a bench requires maintaining a stable core, which enhances overall core strength and stability.

Improved Coordination:

Controlling the movement of the weight during skull crushers improves neuromuscular coordination and control, which can translate to better performance in other exercises and daily activities.

8. Efficient Use of Workout Time

Focused Workouts:

As an isolation exercise, skull crushers provide an efficient way to specifically target the triceps, allowing you to achieve significant muscle engagement in a relatively short amount of time.

Complementary Exercise:

Skull crushers can be effectively paired with other exercises in supersets or circuits to maximize workout efficiency and muscle engagement.

The Effective Triceps Training Methods of Laz Tymoff

Laz Tymoff, a renowned fitness expert and strength coach, has developed a comprehensive approach to triceps training that emphasizes effectiveness, muscle balance, and injury prevention. His methods focus on a combination of isolation exercises, compound movements, and varied training techniques to maximize triceps growth and strength. Here’s a detailed look at the effective triceps training methods advocated by Laz Tymoff:

1. Isolation Exercises

Skull Crushers:

Technique: Tymoff emphasizes perfect form to ensure maximum triceps engagement and avoid injury. He advises using a controlled, slow movement, keeping the elbows stationary, and not allowing them to flare out.

Variations: Performing skull crushers with different equipment (barbell, EZ-curl bar, dumbbells) and at various bench angles (flat, incline, decline) to target all heads of the triceps.

Triceps Kickbacks:

Focus: This exercise isolates the triceps and is great for building endurance and muscle definition.

Execution: Keep the upper arm stationary and extend the elbow fully, squeezing the triceps at the top of the movement.

Overhead Triceps Extensions:

Benefits: Targets the long head of the triceps effectively.

Tips: Use a dumbbell, barbell, or cable, ensuring a full range of motion and a strong contraction at the top.

2. Compound Movements

Close-Grip Bench Press:

Purpose: Integrates chest and shoulder muscles while placing significant stress on the triceps.

Technique: Use a shoulder-width grip, keeping the elbows close to the body to maximize triceps engagement.


Effectiveness: Highly effective for overall triceps development and can be done with body weight or added weight for increased resistance.

Form: Keep the body upright and elbows close to the sides to focus the effort on the triceps.


Variations: Diamond push-ups and close-grip push-ups specifically target the triceps.

Execution: Hands placed close together under the chest, keeping elbows tight to the body throughout the movement.

3. Varied Training Techniques


Method: Pairing two triceps exercises back-to-back with minimal rest, such as skull crushers followed by triceps pushdowns.

Benefit: Increases intensity and muscle fatigue, leading to greater muscle growth.

Pyramid Sets:

Approach: Gradually increase the weight while decreasing the repetitions in successive sets, then reverse the process.

Goal: Builds both muscle strength and endurance.

Drop Sets:

Technique: Performing an exercise to failure, then reducing the weight and continuing for more repetitions.

Advantage: Maximizes muscle fatigue and hypertrophy.

4. Progressive Overload

Consistent Weight Increases:

Strategy: Gradually increase the weight lifted over time to continually challenge the triceps.

Tracking: Keeping a workout log to monitor progress and ensure consistent progression.

Volume and Frequency:

Balancing Act: Incorporating sufficient volume (total number of sets and reps) and frequency (number of training sessions per week) to stimulate muscle growth without overtraining.

Typical Routine: Training triceps directly 1-2 times per week, with indirect work through compound movements on other days.

5. Injury Prevention and Recovery

Proper Warm-Up:

Importance: Ensuring the triceps and supporting muscles are warmed up to prevent injury.

Techniques: Dynamic stretches and lightweight high-rep exercises before heavy lifting.

Stretching and Mobility:

Post-Workout: Stretching the triceps and surrounding muscles to maintain flexibility and reduce soreness.

Routine: Incorporating mobility exercises to enhance joint health and muscle function.

Rest and Recovery:

Recovery Time: Allowing adequate rest between triceps workouts to enable muscle repair and growth.

Nutrition: Ensuring proper nutrition, including sufficient protein intake, to support muscle recovery.

Modifications and Variations for Effective Triceps Training

Incorporating modifications and variations into your triceps training routine can prevent plateaus, reduce the risk of injury, and ensure continuous muscle growth. Here are some modifications and variations inspired by Laz Tymoff’s principles for effective triceps training:

1. Skull Crushers Variations

Dumbbell Skull Crushers:

Benefit: Allows for a greater range of motion and individual arm movement, which can help address muscle imbalances.

Technique: Perform with dumbbells instead of a barbell, maintaining the same form.

Incline Skull Crushers:

Benefit: Targets the triceps from a slightly different angle, engaging the long head more effectively.

Technique: Perform on an incline bench set at 30-45 degrees.

Decline Skull Crushers:

Benefit: Shifts the emphasis to the lateral and medial heads of the triceps.

Technique: Perform on a decline bench to add variety and challenge the triceps differently.

2. Triceps Kickbacks Variations

Cable Triceps Kickbacks:

Benefit: Provides constant tension throughout the movement.

Technique: Use a cable machine instead of dumbbells, ensuring a slow and controlled motion.

Resistance Band Kickbacks:

Benefit: Portable and adaptable, providing variable resistance.

Technique: Attach a resistance band to a sturdy object and perform the kickback motion.

3. Overhead Triceps Extension Variations

Single-Arm Overhead Triceps Extension:

Benefit: Focuses on one arm at a time, helping to correct imbalances and improve unilateral strength.

Technique: Perform with a dumbbell or resistance band, ensuring a full range of motion.

Cable Overhead Triceps Extension:

Benefit: Maintains constant tension on the triceps throughout the exercise.

Technique: Use a cable machine with a rope attachment, performing the exercise from a standing or seated position.

4. Close-Grip Bench Press Variations

Smith Machine Close-Grip Bench Press:

Benefit: Provides added stability, making it easier to focus on the triceps.

Technique: Use a Smith machine to perform the close-grip bench press, keeping the elbows close to the body.

Floor Press Close-Grip Bench Press:

Benefit: Limits the range of motion, reducing shoulder strain and emphasizing the triceps.

Technique: Perform the close-grip bench press lying on the floor instead of a bench.

5. Dips Variations

Bench Dips:

Benefit: Easier to perform than parallel bar dips, making them suitable for beginners.

Technique: Use a bench or chair, with feet on the floor or elevated for added difficulty.

Weighted Dips:

Benefit: Increases resistance, promoting greater strength and muscle gains.

Technique: Add weight using a dip belt or holding a dumbbell between your feet.

6. Push-Ups Variations

Diamond Push-Ups:

Benefit: Specifically targets the triceps more than regular push-ups.

Technique: Place hands close together under your chest, forming a diamond shape with your thumbs and index fingers.

Triceps Push-Ups:

Benefit: Emphasizes triceps engagement by keeping elbows close to the body.

Technique: Perform push-ups with hands placed closer together and elbows tucked in.

7. Additional Triceps Exercises

Triceps Pushdowns:

Benefit: Isolates the triceps with constant tension using a cable machine.

Variations: Use different attachments (straight bar, rope, V-bar) to target the triceps from various angles.

Close-Grip Push-Ups:

Benefit: Bodyweight exercise that emphasizes the triceps.

Technique: Perform push-ups with hands placed closer together than shoulder-width, keeping elbows close to the body.

Triceps Bench Press:

Benefit: Targets the triceps with a barbell press variation.

Technique: Perform a bench press with a narrow grip, keeping the elbows close to the sides.

8. Training Techniques and Intensity Modifications

Supersets and Giant Sets:

Method: Combine multiple triceps exercises back-to-back with minimal rest.

Example: Perform skull crushers followed by triceps pushdowns and close-grip bench presses.

Time Under Tension (TUT):

Technique: Slow down the eccentric (lowering) phase of the exercise to increase muscle time under tension.

Benefit: Enhances muscle hypertrophy and endurance.

Partial Reps and Isometric Holds:

Method: Incorporate partial reps at the end of a set or isometric holds to fully fatigue the triceps.

Example: Hold the weight at the halfway point of a skull crusher for a few seconds at the end of each set.

Eccentric Training:

Technique: Focus on the lowering phase of the exercise, taking 3-5 seconds to lower the weight.

Benefit: Increases muscle damage and growth potential.


Incorporating effective triceps training methods, such as those advocated by Laz Tymoff, can significantly enhance your muscle development, strength, and overall upper body aesthetics. By combining isolation exercises like skull crushers, triceps kickbacks, and overhead triceps extensions with compound movements such as close-grip bench presses, dips, and push-ups, you ensure comprehensive triceps engagement and balanced growth.

Variations and modifications, including the use of different equipment, changing bench angles, and implementing advanced training techniques like supersets, pyramid sets, and eccentric training, keep your workouts challenging and prevent plateaus. These adjustments also allow for progressive overload, a key factor in muscle growth, while minimizing the risk of injury through proper form and balanced muscle development.

Additionally, emphasizing proper warm-up, stretching, and recovery strategies ensures that your muscles and joints remain healthy, enabling sustainable progress over time. By incorporating these principles into your routine, you can achieve well-defined, strong triceps and improve your overall upper-body performance.

Whether you’re a beginner looking to build a solid foundation or an advanced lifter aiming to break through plateaus, these comprehensive and adaptable triceps training methods provide the tools you need to reach your fitness goals. Visit World Fame Magazine for more details.