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8 Common Skull Crusher Mistakes and How To Fix Them

Make sure you’re not making any of these mistakes.

It is relatively easy to make some skull crusher mistakes which could be killing your gains. Find out how to fix them.

Skull crusher is an exercise performed with a barbell that hits primarily your triceps and shoulders. If you don’t know exactly how to do them or their benefits, check out this comprehensive guide on skull crushers.

Lying on your back on a bench and letting the barbell away from your sight can leave room to make some common skull crusher mistakes. But maybe you’re not even doing this variation of the skull crusher, which is also a possibility.

Dr. Mike Israetel, PhD in Sport Physiology and co-founder of Renaissance Periodization, made a video going through 8 skull crusher mistakes and how to fix them. Check it out.

Skull Crusher Mistakes and How to Fix Them

1. Behind the Head or To The Nose

These are two different variations of the skull crushers that people can perform. Both are correct, just know which one you are actually doing it. Each variation hits more one muscle than the other.

2.  Range of Motion Too Low

As with most exercises with barbells, not utilising the full range of motion is a problem. Extend your elbows forcefully and stretch your muscle under tension by lowering the barbell enough.

3. Uncontrolled Descent

The eccentric contraction, slowly descending the barbell against gravity, provides a great stimulus to your triceps and shoulders.

Controlling better your barbell when it is descending will also prevent you from injuries as you don’t need to rush the bar close to your face or beyond your reach.

4. No Standard Range of Motion

One of the most common skull crusher mistakes is not having a standard range of motion. Make sure your technique is perfect in each rep, not just the first few.

This way you can track your progress better and apply overloading when necessary.

5. Elbows Flaring

It’s ok to flare your elbows on the way up a little bit, but on the way down you want to tuck your elbows in to make sure this exercise is mostly a triceps movement.

6. Grip Too Narrow or Too Wide

Do the grip that makes your triceps feel stimulated and that you see the muscle under tension during the exercise. A wide grip or narrow grip could be better for one person or the other. Just use what makes you more comfortable.

7. Descent Sequence

There are two ways to begin the movement of the skull crusher. Either you can bend your elbows first and start descending the barbell, or you can move backwards your hands (towards your face) and only then start bending your elbows.

8. Too Heavy or Too Light

skull crusher mistakes

Another fairly common in our list of skull crusher mistakes is going too heavy or too light on this exercise. “As long as you’re getting a good burn in your triceps, as long as your pec and shoulder stability isn’t what’s making you give out, there’s really no such thing as too high of reps,” Israetel says.

Rep ranges between 10 and 30 are great, with the higher range rep for isolation exercises, which is not the case with the skull crusher.

Check out more barbell content from BOXROX:

The Fastest Way to Improve Your Bench Press

Barbell Curl: a Must-Have to Increase Your Biceps  

Master the Military Press – An Essential Upper Body Exercise

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