Triceps are another muscle group that get a lot of attention during lifts, especially during basic compound presses which focus on the chest and shoulders but directly focusing the triceps is a brilliant way to ensure rounded off muscle development and give maximum gains.
A popular exercise is ‘skull crushers’ and when done correctly, they are extremely effective in tricep growth. If you’re a lifter that does skull crusher, there’s a tip that you can follow that will make sure you’re getting the most out of your work out.
Most skull crushers start with your arms extended; instead of this, bring your arms lower to your head at an angle and use this as the starting position each time you perform this move. This is different than using the extended position and helps build your muscles a little better and makes the triceps work harder.
Bring the weight down towards the top of your head instead of bringing it to your forehead, and make sure that your form is controlled the entire way down.
Slowly bring the weight back up, extending your arms, until they’re back in your starting position close to your head. Why Does This Help
This helps for a few reasons; firstly, it reduces the stress that your elbows deal with, but it also increases and improves the stimulations that your tricep receives and includes a continuous tension as you move, keeping that tension there and not allowing the muscles to rest between the motions as it usually would do.
Extending your arms out fully, which is a common starting position amongst all lifters, actually reduces the tension in your triceps and isn’t as effective for building. Gravity does most of the work for you when it comes to bringing the weights down if you start with your arms fully extended above your head. Whereas, if you have a slight angle on the weights then your body and your triceps are continuously working to keep the weights where they are and not let them fall down, giving you maximum strength workout from one work out. This tiny tweak is enough to make a good enough change for it to be worth it.
You can also do the same thing with your skull crushers by using a cable machine instead of doing them freestyle. Position your bench around a foot away from the stand and then use a rope attachment – or a straight bar – to perform the move. The machine actually helps the resistance pull your arms down and back up, instead of it just being straight up.
If you use this variation then you should definitely feel it much deeper than usual in your triceps as there’s no rest period between the lifts and drops. While it might not make a dramatic different, it’s still going to do more good than performing the skull crusher any other way and will help you build a little faster.