Skull Crushers - The Murderous WorkoutMany women struggle with good triceps development. This can be due to many reasons. One, your triceps are located on the back of your arms and for many people if they don't see the muscle they don't train it fully. Second, the triceps can be a hard muscle to develop on many levels. For most people, the training difficulty lies in the fact that it's underdeveloped and training them means you must use forms of training your triceps are not use to.
Now, I'm not going to fill your head with all the intricate details of the triceps, such as its exact location, function, insertion point and all that other jazz. You can actually find all that kind of detailed information in Iron Dolls.
In this article I'm going to drive the focus on what you need to do to master your triceps training by including skulls.
Overall, to really boost your triceps strength and general mass you should employ the use of good ole compound exercises. This doesn't just go for triceps training; your triceps come into play in many chest and shoulder movements. Make the bulk of your training center around compound movements for overall general muscle mass.
Some of the exercises you should include to hit all the triceps heads fully are close-grip bench presses, overhead extensions, skull crushers, triceps dips, pushdowns, etc. While all of these triceps exercise are important, far too many people put all their faith in pushdowns in hopes to reap the results of well-developed triceps.
Skull crushers are an overlooked triceps exercise. This is not an easy movement and getting the form right can be difficult. For this reason, my suggestion is to start off using light poundage to learn the form of the skull crushers. Starting off light will also allow you to actually feel the muscle work. Once you feel the muscle working during the movement your form will improve greatly.
After you get a good warm-up (5 minutes on a treadmill or bike and another 5-10 minutes of actual warm-up exercises for the triceps) you can begin your first set of skull crushers.
Skull Crusher Form
Step #1 - I recommend starting with free weights, using the EZ curl bar for skulls. After you grab the bar lie back on a flat bench with your feet flat on the floor.
Step #2 - Using a narrow and prone grip, slightly less than shoulder-width, position the bar over your chest area.
Step #3 - Bend your elbows and allow the weight to lower to your forehead. NOTE: As you lower the weight allow ONLY your elbows to bend in the direction the weight is lowering. Your elbows should not sway out; they must stay aligned with your body.
Step #4 - From the lowered position, use your triceps muscle to contract and bring the weight back to the starting position. As the bar reaches the top of the movement, contract the triceps hard.
Step #5 - Repeat steps 3 and 4 for the designated reps in that set.
One-Month Triceps Blast Workout
Note: each week's triceps workout involves different training principles. Please read below the training workout for how to include each training principle each week.
Warm-up Parallel bar dips 3 x 10
EZ bar skulls 3 x 10 (DS)
DB overhead ext 3 x 10 (DS)
Pushdowns 2 x 40
EZ bar decline skulls 3 x 8 (TS)
Close-grip press 3 x 8 (TS)
Reverse-grip pulldown 3 x 8 (TS)
EZ bar overhead ext (21s)
Parallel bar dips (21s)
DB skulls (21s)
Close-grip press (Neg)
Reverse-grip overhead ext (Neg)
Skulls 2 x 40
Drop Sets (DS) - Drops sets involve doing as many repetitions as you can and begin decreasing the poundage as you hit muscular failure. Keep this process going until you can't do one more rep.
Tri-Sets (TS) - A tri-set is using three consecutive exercises for the same body part. Tri-sets take a lot of strength and energy to complete all three in a consecutive manner, so be sure to keep weight poundage within reason. Rest two to three minutes and then do 2-3 more tri-sets.
Twenty-ones or 21s - Twenty-ones is a training principle in which one set is broken up into 3 different segments of 7 that total 21. The three different aspects of the full set involve 2 partials sets and one full range of motion set.
Negatives - Eccentric contractions are the lengthening of the muscle. This is also known as the negative. The aid of a spotter is helpful when doing negatives. Use about 35% more weight than you use on a concentric lift. Explode the weight up and focus on the downward phase of the lift, keeping your lifting pace slow and controlled.
Close-grip press - Lower the bar to your chest slowly and have a spotter help lift it back to the starting point. Rest 2-3 minutes and repeats
The above triceps workout is a great shocker to get you started for advanced triceps training. Once you are able to feel the muscle move through the movements, you will be better able to handle heavier weight with minimal sets and reps to further advance growth.
Your goal for growth in the gym is to simply tear the muscle down so it can rebuild into a stronger unit.
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About The Author: Karen Sessions has been in the fitness industry since 1988. She is a nationally qualified bodybuilder and holds two personal training certifications. She has written 6 ebooks on fitness and has helped hundreds of clients transform their bodies. http://www.iron-dolls.com "Use of this article is authorized provided it is reproduced in full, and all web URLS are active hyperlinks directed to the author"