How To Do A Cable Lying Triceps Extension Properly

The cable lying triceps extension, aka the skull crusher, is a strength-training exercise that strengthens and isolates your triceps.

Equipment needed: Cable pulley machine, straight bar attachment, bench

Steps:

  • Place the bench in front of a low pulley. The pulley should be having a straight bar attachment.
  • Lie on your back on the bench.
  • Turn your head towards the pulley.
  • Grab the bar attachment with the palms facing away from the rest of your body.
  • Extend your arms fully so that your torso and arms create a 90-degree angle.
  • Bend your elbows to lower the weight. Keep your arms stationary.
  • The bar should rest just above your forehead.
  • Pause at this position for a second.
  • Flex your triceps and extend the weight as you return to the starting position.
  • Do as many reps as you desire.

WHAT MUSCLES DOES THE CABLE LYING TRICEPS EXTENSION WORK?

TRICEPS

The triceps (or triceps brachii) is a three-headed muscle located on the outer portion of your upper arm.

The three heads- long head, lateral head and medial head- have different origins but join at a single point. Their primary function is to extend your forearm at the elbow joint.

The cable lying triceps extension works all three of these heads, which makes it one of the most effective tricep exercises out there.

CABLE LYING TRICEPS EXTENSION BENEFITS

BUILDS ARM MUSCLE S

Most arm exercises tend to neglect the triceps but when trained properly, these muscles can be of a lot of help during upper body workouts.

You will find it easier to do bodyweight exercises like bench presses and pull-ups if your triceps are well-developed.

GREAT SUPERSET EXERCISE

Supersets involve doing two strength-training exercises without taking a break in between.

The cable lying triceps extension can yield fantastic results if paired with another arm workout like the bicep curl.

IMPROVES GRIP STRENGTH

Part of the execution of this exercise involves grabbing onto the straight bar attachment with an overhand grip.

When you are able to perfectly execute an overhand grip, you won’t have a hard time doing exercises that require a lot of grip strength like pull-ups.

PUTS CONSTANT TENSION ON THE TRICEPS

The cable lying triceps extension puts a lot of tension on your triceps throughout the exercise. This naturally contributes to a higher muscle mass because the triceps don’t get to rest until you complete a set.

Additionally, using the cable machine generally puts more tension in your muscles compared to free weights since the resistance is consistent from start to finish.

This is because the pulley constantly exerts force on your triceps so that they always have to contract against the resistance.

ALLOWS FOR PROGRESSIVE OVERLOAD

Cable lying triceps extensions are great for gaining muscle hypertrophy since weight stacks on the machine ascend in small manageable increments.

For this reason, you won’t have to drastically reduce your reps so that you can progress to the subsequent resistance level.

EASILY CUSTOMIZABLE

Can’t find a straight bar attachment? Not a problem at all.

You can perform this movement with whatever attachment provided you follow the right steps and maintain the correct form, and you will still achieve tricep contraction.

ALTERNATIVES TO CABLE LYING TRICEPS EXTENSION

OVERHEAD TRICEPS EXTENSION

This exercise is another excellent way to work all three heads of the triceps brachii.

The most common way to execute this exercise is using a kettlebell or dumbbell while sitting or standing.

Steps:

  • Hold the weight over your head by grasping the inside plate surface with two hands if it’s a dumbbell or grasping its handles if it’s a kettlebell.
  • Bend your elbows slowly and then lower the weight behind your head. Go as far as you can.
  • Your core should remain tight and your torso upright.
  • As you lower the weight, make sure it follows the path of the spine.
  • At the lowest point, straighten the elbows and extend the weight overhead, returning it to the starting position.
  • When you get to the fully extended position, hold it for a second then repeat the steps.
  • Keeps all your motions slow and controlled.

While setting up for this exercise, choose a weight that will challenge you to extend your arms as far as you can, but it should also allow you to maintain the proper form.

CABLE LYING TRICEPS EXTENSION MISTAKES TO AVOID

USING MOMENTUM

Rather than flinging the weight back up, move it in a slow and controlled manner so that you put enough tension in your muscles to activate them.

MOVING YOUR ELBOWS

Your elbows should be stationary throughout this movement. Otherwise, you risk shifting focus from the target muscles to other muscles that are not meant to be part of the exercise.

RUSHING THROUGH THE REPS

Make sure to pause at the top position as you hold the contraction. This helps increase tension in your muscles for the best results.

LIFTING MORE THAN YOU CAN HANDLE

With this movement, do not lift more weight than you are comfortable lifting. This might put too much strain on the elbow joint and prevent the target muscles from working.

NOT USING A FULL RANGE OF MOTION

Make sure you are able to perform this exercise using a full range of motion so that you get to stretch your triceps fully.

To achieve this, you can move the bench a bit further from the pulley.

IN CONCLUSION

The cable lying triceps extension is a must-do movement if your goal is to get bigger and stronger triceps.

It builds your triceps, improves your grip strength and makes it easy for you to achieve progressive overload for the best results.

What makes it different from other tricep-centric exercises is the fact that it prolongs the stretch on your triceps during the eccentric portion of the movement, which enables muscle growth.

Dips, pushdowns and presses are all important triceps exercises but if you really desire to achieve maximal muscle development, you shouldn’t leave cable lying triceps extensions out of your tricep-training routine.