Behind-the-head skullcrusher

The behind-the-head skullcrusher is a variation on a triceps exercise that has been a staple of bodybuilders for decades. In this version, instead of the bar coming down lightly to the forehead, the bar tracks over the top of the head without touching it. Skullcrushers are usually performed for moderate to high reps, such as 8-12 reps per set or more, as part of an upper-body or arm-focused workout. If a straight bar is uncomfortable for your wrists or elbows, try using an angled EZ-bar.


  1. Builds muscle and strength in all three heads of the triceps
  2. Targets the long head specifically

Behind-the-head skullcrusher Images


Behind-the-head skullcrusher Instructions

Behind-the-head skullcrusher muscle diagram
  1. While holding a barbell or EZ Curl bar with a pronated grip (palms facing forward), lie on your back on a flat bench with your head close to the end of the bench. Tip: If you are holding a barbell grab it using a shoulder-width grip and if you are using an E-Z Bar grab it on the inner handles.
  2. Extend your arms in front of you and slowly bring the bar back in a semi circular motion (while keeping the arms extended) to a position over your head. At the end of this step your arms should be overhead and perpendicular to the floor. This will be your starting position. Tip: Keep your elbows in at all times.
  3. As you inhale, lower the bar by bending at the elbows and while keeping the upper arm stationary. Keep lowering the bar until your forearms are perpendicular to the floor.
  4. As you exhale bring the bar back up to the starting position by pushing the bar up in a semi-circular motion until the lower arms are also parallel to the floor. Contract the triceps hard at the top of the movement for a second. Tip: Again, only the forearms should move. The upper arms should remain stationary at all times.
  5. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.

Variation: You can use dumbbells to make the exercise more challenging.