There are dozens of exercises that effectively train the triceps (brachii) muscle group. These muscles are located on the posterior upper arm, have three heads and originate at the lower edge of the glenoid cavity of the scapula, posterior humerus and the distal two-thirds of the posterior humerus and insert on the olecranon process (think elbow) of the ulna (forearm). The primary function of the triceps brachii muscle group is to extend the elbow. Therefore, exercises that create an elbow extension movement pattern are candidates for training the triceps. Skull Crushers are excellent triceps training exercises and this week three variations, utilizing different positions and equipment, will be featured. As always, prior to beginning any exercise program, please consult your physician.
Choose a variation and perform two-three sets of 8-12 repetitions (i.e. R/L = 1 rep where applicable), two-three times per week on non-consecutive days. The shoulder joint is fixed throughout. The only movement should be from the elbow to the hand.
–Supine Incline Skull Crushers –stability ball – moderate dumbbells – lying supine with the head/neck fully supported on a 55-65cm stability ball, feet on the floor, legs flexed 90 degrees and the body, from head to tailbone, in a bridge position, holding moderate dumbbells, bring the arms up until you have positioned the elbows directly over the shoulders and the elbows face the ceiling. The arms should be positioned 90 degrees at the elbow joint. Engaging the triceps (i.e. back of the upper arm), extend the arms toward the ceiling until the elbow joint is FULLY extended. Then, lower back to the 90 degree position. *Trains the triceps.
–Supine Skull Crushers – skull crusher bar – incline bench – the average skull crusher bar weighs 20lbs. Before attempting to plate load it, lie supine and attempt a properly performed skull crusher. If you can manage more load, then add the smallest increment on each end and affix with the collar. Sit down on the incline bench with the bar laid across your lap. Move down into a comfortable position with the hips so that you will be able to lie back without straining the lumbar spine. Feet may be placed on top of the bench or rest on the rollers or floor. The key is that the ribs do not pop outward or the lumbar spine hyperextends. Once you are supine, bring the bar up into position over the chest, holding the narrower grip position on the bar, arms extended toward the ceiling, then lower the forearms to a 90 degree flexion at the elbow joint, keeping the arms over the shoulder joint throughout. Engaging the triceps (posterior upper arm), press the arms up, fully extending the elbow joint and repeat. *Trains the triceps.
–Alternating Unilateral Supine Skull Crushers – moderate dumbbells – lying supine on a flat or slightly inclined bench, holding both moderate dumbbells, bring the arms up until you have positioned the elbows over the shoulder joint and the elbows face the ceiling. The arms should be positioned 90 degrees at the elbow joint. Engaging the triceps (i.e. back of the upper arm), extend the R arm toward the ceiling until the elbow joint is FULLY extended. Then, lower back to the 90 degree position. Repeat on the L. *Trains the triceps.