How To Do Incline Skull Crushers Properly

Incline skull crushers are one of the top exercises you should look out for it you’re looking for bigger and stronger arms.

It is a variation of the traditional skull crusher that is done from an incline position to increase tension on the triceps, which are the target muscles for this exercise.

For this movement, you will need an adjustable bench and a barbell.

Here’s how you do it properly:

  • Set the incline bench to around 30 to 45 degrees and select the barbell you want to use for the exercise.
  • Sit on the bench with that barbell on your thighs.
  • Grasp the barbell using an overhand grip, with your hands slightly narrower than shoulder width apart.
  • Lay back and hold the barbell in the air with your arms fully extended.
  • Bend your arms slightly to focus the tension in your triceps. This is your starting position.
  • With your elbows fixed in place, lower the bar down slowly until it almost touches your forehead.
  • Pause for a few seconds, tighten your triceps and slowly extend your arms to get back to the starting position. Do not lock your arms.
  • Repeat for the desired number of reps.

WHAT MUSCLES DO INCLINE SKULL CRUSHERS WORK?

TRICEPS

Incline skull crushers work your triceps, the muscle located at the back of your upper arm.

The triceps has three heads: long head, medial head and lateral head.

These heads work together to straighten your elbow and extend your shoulder. They also help during overhead throwing motions.

BENEFITS OF INCLINE SKULL CRUSHERS

STRONGER TRICEPS

Incline skull crushers help you develop stronger triceps which come in handy during pressing and overhead movements.

JOINT HEALTH

This exercise helps train your elbow joint by strengthening the tendons, ligaments and connective tissues around it.

With stronger joints, your triceps will absorb the volume and loading of the exercise better, while protecting the surrounding areas from overuse or injury.

BIGGER ARMS

Aside from increasing the strength of your triceps, incline skull crushers also increase your upper arm muscles in size.

Triceps make almost two-thirds of your arm, so a dedicated and consistent tricep workout could get you those big arms you desire.

ALTERNATIVES TO INCLINE SKULL CRUSHERS

BENCH ROLLING TRICEPS EXTENSION

The bench rolling triceps extension allows you to extend your arms back and beyond your head to extend the long head of your triceps.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Lie down on a flat bench, holding a dumbbell in each hand.
  • Hold the weights over your chest with your arms fully extended, keeping your elbows in by the sides of your face.
  • Bend your elbows, lowering the weights to the sides of your head.
  • Then, roll your arms back to bring both elbows down to the sides of your head and the weights below the bench level.
  • Do 3 sets of 12 reps each.

CABLE SKULL CRUSHERS

This is a single-arm exercise that lets you work your triceps unilaterally. You might find it ideal if you are looking to work your triceps independently.

Steps:

  • Set the pulley on a cable machine to the highest setting.
  • Using your right hand, grab the handle and hold it up at head level with your elbow bent.
  • Stand three feet in front of the cable machine.
  • Straighten the right arm until it is fully extended.
  • Reverse and repeat these steps with the left arm.
  • Do 3 sets of 12 reps each.

REVERSE DIP

The reverse dip is a bodyweight exercise that works your triceps by moving it through its full range of motion.

Here is how to do it:

  • Position yourself in front of a sturdy object (e.g. a chair)
  • Place your hands at shoulder level on the chair behind you.
  • Then, step your feet out so that your body is at a 45-degree angle with the floor.
  • Do a triceps dip by bending your elbows to bring your body down to the ground.
  • From the bottom of the movement, push through your triceps to get back to the starting position.
  • Do 3 sets of 12 reps each.

When doing the reverse dip, make sure you lower your body down to full extension and push through your triceps all the way up.

INCLINE SKULL CRUSHERS MISTAKES TO AVOID

FLARING OUT THE ELBOWS

Keep your elbows in as you are performing this exercise so that you don’t take the tension from your triceps.

USING MOMENTUM

This is not a momentum exercise.

Its effectiveness depends on slow and controlled motions which concentrate maximum tension in your triceps for an effective workout.

USING HEAVY WEIGHT

If you are new to incline skull crushers, it is best to start with a relatively low weight which will allow you to first master the form without having to worry about controlling the weight.

As you get more comfortable and gain muscular strength, you can gradually increase the weight you are using.

ARCHING YOUR BACK

You spine should be in a neutral position all through this exercise.

If you find yourself arching your back, it could be a sign that you are using a weight that is too heavy for you or that your triceps are not completely lengthening during the reps.

You can correct this by using a lighter weight which will allow you to concentrate on your form.

LOOSE GRIP

Keep your grip firm to keep the barbell from accidentally slipping and potentially causing injury to your face or head.

If you are particularly concerned about your grip, you may want to do exercises that increase your grip strength first before trying incline skull crushers.

CONCLUSION

If strong and bigger arms are at the top of your fitness wish list, then you now have just what you need for that; incline skull crushers.

Best thing about it? It does  not focus on many other muscles so you can rest assured that your triceps will get all the attention.

Also, note that most injuries associated with incline skull crushers occur when you move the weight too fast.

Remember to use slow and controlled movements as you are doing this exercise so that you put as much tension in your arms as possible while reducing the risk of injury.