How to do Skull Crushers



Want to learn how to do Skull Crushers? We’ve created a handy step-by-step guide with everything you need to know to percept this great triceps workout.


Skull Crushers are a series of exercises geared towards building upper arm strength. There’s no single way to do a Skull Crusher, but most popular variants focus on weights and elbow extensions, and primarily target the triceps. They’re best summarised as being single-arm, overhead dumbbell extensions, and the scary-sounding name refers to where the weight will land if it falls. But don’t worry – we’re here to tell you how to do them safely.


As we said, there’s no single way to do a skull crusher. But we’re going to walk you though how to do a common dumbbell variant in our steps below:

  1. To start you’ll need to use a flat gym bench, lying on your back with legs to either side or resting comfortably on the footrest.

  2. Get into your starting position by holding a dumbbells of your preferred weight in both hands, extended straight up above your chest and with your fists in a vertical position.

  3. Move the dumbbells down towards the back of your head by bending your elbows, trying to keep your upper arms straight and at a right angle to your body.

  4. Continue lowering the dumbbells behind your head until the top lines up with the edge of the bench. You can stay a little higher if this is too difficult.

  5. Now bring it back to the starting position by reversing your movement, ending with the dumbbells once again extended in a straight line up from your chest.

  6. Try to avoid locking your arms at the starting position.

Do's and Don'ts

  • DO keep your elbows tucked in towards the body.

  • DON’T lock out your arms.

Like we said, there are loads of different variants to skull crushers that vary in the type of weights used and exact movements. But the above steps will take you through one of the most common methods for this popular upper arm workout.



Skull crushers are a great way to strengthen your upper arms using easily accessible equipment and a simple technique. But if you need guidance, get in touch with one of our friendly personal trainers at your local Gym to help you perfect your form.

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