How To Do The Lying Triceps Press Properly

The lying triceps press, or skull crushers to some, is a barbell exercise that works the triceps and shoulders. It is a fairly simple workout that only requires you to have a barbell and bench.

You can also use a dumbbell in place of a dumbbell. As with any weight exercise, remember to use a weight that is comfortable for you to avoid injuring yourself or straining your muscles.

  • Lay flat on your back on a bench, legs spread and facing the ceiling
  • Grip the barbell with both hands at shoulder-width apart
  • Raise your barbell to the ceiling such that your wrists are right below your elbows and shoulders
  • Tightening your core and locking your elbows, slowly bring the barbell down to your forehead
  • Your arm should make about a ninety-degree angle, hinged at the elbow
  • Your upper arm and upper body should not move throughout this motion
  • Straighten your arm once more to raise your barbell and pause at the top for three seconds
  • You can do six reps per set

MUSCLES WORKED BY THE LYING TRICEPS PRESS

THE TRICEPS

The triceps is located in the dorsal area of the upper arm. In full, it is known as the triceps brachii. It is made up of three heads; the medial, lateral and long head which each have their own origin.

This muscle is responsible for the extension of the elbow joint.

THE DELTOIDS

This is a major muscle of the shoulder that gives the shoulder a rounded shape. Its main functions are extension, flexion and abduction of the shoulder. Overall, it is crucial to the movement of the arm. Aside from this, it helps stabilize the shoulder joint.

THE CORE

The main muscles of the core are the abs, obliques, and erector spinae. These are located around the belly, lower back and upper back.

The core is engaged when carrying out most function tasks which is why it’s important to strengthen these muscles. The functions of the core include stabilization of the spine during dynamic movement.

Evidently, this muscle group plays a big role in athletic performance.

BENEFITS OF DOING THE LYING TRICEPS PRESS

STABILIZES THE SHOULDER

The deltoids, a muscle located in the shoulder, are responsible for shoulder rotation and stabilizing your shoulder. Engaging this muscle, and ultimately strengthening it, helps stabilize the shoulder joint.

SCULPTS ARM

With the triceps being the most targeted muscle by the lying triceps press, you are bound to build muscle in your upper arm. This also gives you a nice toned upper body that you’re bound to love. If you’re aiming for a sculpted arm, then this is the workout for you.

STRENGTHENS MUSCLES

The triceps, deltoids, pecs and core are worked by the lying triceps press. This causes an increase in muscle build and increases your strength. Daily tasks such as lifting and throwing are made easier due to this increase in strength. Athletes tend to benefit even more especially if their sports involve weightlifting.

INCREASES RANGE OF MOTION

The shoulder joint benefits a great deal from the strengthening of the deltoids. This is because the deltoids play a crucial role in abduction and rotation of the arm. Engaging these muscles may help improve the flexibility of the arm to improve the smoothness of movement, especially at the shoulder and elbow joints.

ALTERNATIVES TO THE LYING TRICEPS PRESS

THE CABLE LYING TRICEPS EXTENSION

Using a cable pulley machine as the only required equipment, the cable lying triceps extension is a simple exercise to do.

  • Lay down on your back on a bench in front of a low pulley machine.
  • Grip the handle (with an overhand grip) and pull as you extend your arms until they are aligned with your shoulders.
  • Hinging at the elbows, lower your arms back to your starting position i.e. at the top of your head.
  • Repeat this movement for six reps per set.

DUMBBELL CLOSE GRIP BENCH PRESS

Although slightly more engaging than the triceps press, this is a suitable alternative as it strengthens the triceps primarily.

  • Lay on your back on a bench with your feet planted on the ground
  • Grip a dumbbell in each hand close to the chest at slightly closer than shoulder-width
  • Extend your arms until straight to raise your dumbbells
  • Pause before bringing your dumbbells back down. Do five reps

BENCH DIPS

If you’re looking for a great triceps exercise which doesn’t require equipment, then this is the right fit for you.

  • Sit on a bench with your hands flat on the bench beside your hips
  • Keeping your spine straight, walk your legs forward until your butt comes off the bench
  • Your arms should hold up your weight as you bend your elbows in order to lower your body closer to the ground
  • The rest of your body should remain neutral through this motion
  • Slowly lift your body back up as you straightening your arms
  • You can do ten reps

COMMON MISTAKES WHEN DOING THE LYING TRICEPS PRESS

USING TOO MUCH MOMENTUM

A very common mistake when doing the lying triceps press is swinging the barbell too fast. You may be tempted to use gravity to your advantage however, it is both dangerous and incorrect. Use slow and controlled movements to lower your barbell. This prevents injury and engages the triceps fully.

USING VERY HEAVY WEIGHT

When picking out your barbell for this workout, be keen on the weight. Unlike deadlifting, the lying triceps press requires a little less weight. If you haven’t been properly working your triceps, you may strain under a lot of weight and injure your arm and head. You can always work your way up to heavier weights.

WRONG ARM POSITION

Placing your hands too close or too far apart on your barbell may cause strain in your triceps and elbows. Be deliberate when positioning your arms to prevent causing damage. Keep them at shoulder-width with your elbows locked.

MOVING THE UPPER ARM AND UPPER BODY

The lying triceps press is an isolation workout that targets specific muscles mainly, the triceps. Throughout this exercise, the elbows should remain locked and upper arm straight with your shoulders on the bench. Moving the upper arm alongside the forearm prevents you from fully engaging the triceps.

CONCLUSION

If you’re looking to get toned, stronger or more flexible arms then this is obviously a great exercise for you. Its simplicity is also an added advantage. Your triceps, deltoids and core will thank you for incorporating it into your daily routine.