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Lying Triceps Extension

Lying triceps extension -- isolation exercise for triceps

The lying triceps extension works just the triceps muscle in the upper arm. It is an "isolation" exercise, meaning that it "isolates" or exercises just one muscle group.

Most of your workouts should concentrate on "compound" exercises. Compound exercises -- like the bench press or cable row -- work several muscle groups.

But muscular arms are nice to have. And since the triceps muscles are the largest muscles in the arm this exercise can help you get muscular arms.

Start lying on bench holding weight with arms outstretched

woman doing lying triceps extension starting position

Lying triceps extension -- starting position

It takes a little practice to get the weight into the right position. You first sit on a bench while holding a barbell. Then as you lean back you bring the weight up to your chest.

Press the weight up like you are doing a bench press and you are ready to start.

You'll be using a much lighter weight than you use for the bench press.

Slowly lower the weight to just above your head

woman doing lying triceps extension second position

Lying triceps extension -- second position

There is another name for this exercise. They call it "skull crushers." Now, make sure it is not a skull crusher for you.

Many people bring the weight to their forehead. It usually works out OK, but if you slip or the weight gets too heavy you'll hit your head.

So just extend your elbows a bit and let the weight pass your forehead. That way as you lower the weight it will come down not at your forehead but at the very top of your head. And if you drop it, it will just drop to the floor and it won't hit you.

Practice this exercise first with very light weight until you get used to it.

Then always make sure you use very strict form. Slowly lower the weight maintaining control at all times. Then press back to the starting position.

Variation of movement

This exercise is demonstrated with the weight coming down to the forehead. That is a standard way to do this exercise.

However, you can also lower the weight so that it is farther up and misses your head entirely. Done in that way it still works the triceps and gives a little stretch to the chest as well.

Where to start:

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