The lying dumbbell tricep extension, also known as skull crushers, is an effective exercise for targeting the tricep muscles. This exercise can be performed in various ways and with different equipment, making it a versatile option for those looking to add variety to their workout routine.
In this article, we will discuss the benefits of incorporating lying dumbbell tricep extensions into your fitness routine and how to perform the exercise correctly to maximize its effectiveness.
We will also provide tips on how to avoid common mistakes and how to modify the exercise to suit different fitness levels. By the end of this article, you will have a thorough understanding of how to perform the lying dumbbell tricep extension and how to use it to achieve your fitness goals.
Muscles worked during lying dumbbell tricep extension
The lying dumbbell tricep extension primarily targets the triceps brachii muscle, which is the large muscle on the back of the upper arm.
However is it worth telling that this exercise also engages the anconeus muscle, which is a smaller muscle located on the side of the elbow joint.
Additionally, the exercise also recruits the muscles of the shoulder and chest to stabilize the upper body during the movement.
The triceps play a significant role in many upper-body pushing and pulling movements, such as bench press, push-ups, and dips.
That’s why strengthening these muscles can lead to improved performance in these exercises and overall upper body strength.
Equipment and setup
Performing the lying dumbbell tricep extension requires a few pieces of equipment, but it’s relatively straightforward. You’ll need a flat bench, a pair of dumbbells, and an exercise mat for comfort. Or if you don’t have a flat bench, you can just do them on the floor.
To get set up, lie down on the bench with your feet planted firmly on the ground. Hold the dumbbells with an overhand grip, and extend your arms straight up toward the ceiling. Keep your elbows locked in place and your palms facing each other.
It’s important to select an appropriate weight for your dumbbells, one that will challenge you but not cause undue strain or injury. Start with a lower weight and gradually increase as you build strength and confidence in the movement.
Example of equipment:
Flat bench (optional)
With the right setup, you’ll be able to perform this exercise effectively and safely, targeting the muscles in your triceps for maximum benefit.
How to perform lying dumbbell tricep extension
Here are the steps to perform lying dumbbell tricep extension:
Lie down on a flat bench with your feet flat on the floor and the dumbbells in your hands, palms facing each other.
Raise the dumbbells straight up towards the ceiling, keeping your arms perpendicular to the floor and your palms facing inwards.
Slowly lower the dumbbells behind your head, keeping your elbows in place and your upper arms stationary.
Pause when the dumbbells are at a 90-degree angle to your body, then raise them back up to the starting position.
Repeat for the desired number of reps.
It’s important to maintain control throughout the movement and to not let your elbows flare outwards. Also, be sure to choose an appropriate weight for your fitness level and gradually increase it as you become stronger.
Variations of the lying dumbbell tricep extension
There are several variations of the lying dumbbell tricep extension that can help target different parts of the triceps or add variation to your workout routine.
Close-grip dumbbell tricep extension: Instead of using a regular grip on the dumbbells, hold them close together with palms facing each other. This variation places more emphasis on the inner head of the triceps.
Single-arm lying dumbbell tricep extension: Instead of using two dumbbells, use one dumbbell and work one arm at a time. This variation allows for more focus on each individual tricep and can help correct any strength imbalances.
Incline dumbbell tricep extension: Perform the exercise on an incline bench, which changes the angle of the arms and puts more emphasis on the long head of the triceps.
Lying tricep extension with barbell: Use a barbell instead of dumbbells to perform the exercise. This variation allows for a greater range of motion and can help you lift heavier weights.
Seated dumbbell tricep extension: Perform the exercise in a seated position instead of lying down. This variation puts less pressure on the lower back and may be a better option for those with back pain.
It’s important to vary your exercises to target different parts of the triceps and avoid plateauing in your progress.
Benefits of the lying dumbbell tricep extension
The lying dumbbell tricep extension offers several benefits that make it an effective exercise for building upper arm strength and size.
Some of the key benefits include:
Targeting the Triceps: The lying dumbbell tricep extension specifically targets the triceps muscles, which are the large muscles on the back of the upper arm responsible for extending the elbow joint. This exercise allows for the isolation of the triceps, meaning that it primarily works this muscle group without involving other muscles.
Improving Upper Body Strength: The lying dumbbell tricep extension is a compound exercise that works multiple muscle groups at once. By strengthening the triceps, you can improve your overall upper body strength, which can translate to better performance in other exercises and activities.
Precautions and considerations
Performing the lying dumbbell tricep extension with improper form can lead to injury, so it is important to take some precautions and considerations into account, including:
Start with light weights: As with any new exercise, it is important to start with lighter weights and focus on proper form before increasing weight.
Use a spotter: If you are lifting heavy weights, consider using a spotter to help you lift and lower the weights.
Avoid flaring the elbows: When performing the lying dumbbell tricep extension, avoid flaring the elbows out to the sides, as this can put unnecessary strain on the shoulders and lead to injury.
Keep the movement slow and controlled: Avoid using momentum to lift the weights, and focus on slow, controlled movements to ensure proper form and prevent injury.
Listen to your body: If you experience pain or discomfort during the exercise, stop immediately and consult with a healthcare professional.
Incorporate proper warm-up and cool-down routines: Warming up before performing the exercise and cooling down after can help prevent injury and aid in muscle recovery.
By following these precautions and considerations, you can safely and effectively perform the lying dumbbell tricep extension to target and strengthen your triceps.
Increasing Muscle Size: Since the lying dumbbell tricep extension is a strength training exercise that targets a specific muscle group, it can help increase muscle size (hypertrophy) over time. This can lead to larger, more defined triceps muscles.
Enhancing Aesthetic Appearance: Having well-developed triceps muscles can improve the overall aesthetic appearance of the upper arms, giving them a more toned and defined look.
Versatility: The lying dumbbell tricep extension can be performed with a variety of different equipment, including dumbbells, barbells, and cables. This makes it a versatile exercise that can be easily modified to suit different fitness levels and goals. Additionally, by changing the angle or grip of the exercise, you can target different parts of the triceps muscles.
Overall, the lying dumbbell tricep extension is a beneficial exercise for building upper arm strength, size, and definition, and can be a valuable addition to any upper body strength training routine.
Incorporating the exercise into your workout routine
Incorporating lying dumbbell tricep extension into your workout routine can help improve overall tricep strength and definition. Here are some tips for incorporating this exercise into your routine:
Determine how often to include the exercise: Depending on your fitness goals, you may want to include lying dumbbell tricep extension in your routine once or twice a week.
Choose the right weight: Start with a weight that allows you to complete 10-12 repetitions with good form. Gradually increase the weight as your strength improves.
Combine with other exercises: Lying dumbbell tricep extension can be combined with other tricep exercises, such as tricep pushdowns or overhead tricep extensions, for a well-rounded tricep workout.
Incorporate into a full-body workout: You can also include lying dumbbell tricep extension as part of a full-body workout routine. For example, you might do a set of squats, followed by a set of lying dumbbell tricep extensions, and then move on to a back exercise like rows.
Use as a finisher: Lying dumbbell tricep extension can also be used as a finisher exercise at the end of your workout. Perform a few sets of high reps to really fatigue your triceps and get a good burn.
Remember to always warm up properly before starting any exercise routine, and to consult with a qualified trainer or medical professional if you have any questions or concerns.
Here are 5 FAQs and their answers related to this topic: lying dumbbell tricep extension.
The lying dumbbell tricep extension primarily targets the triceps brachii muscle, but it also engages the shoulder and chest muscles to a lesser extent.
The weight used for lying dumbbell tricep extension depends on individual strength and fitness level. It is recommended to start with a lighter weight and gradually increase as strength improves.
It is not recommended to perform lying dumbbell tricep extensions if you have elbow or shoulder problems, as it can aggravate the condition. Consult with a healthcare professional before starting any exercise program.
The number of sets and reps for lying dumbbell tricep extension can vary depending on individual fitness goals and level. It is recommended to start with 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps.
Yes, lying tricep extensions can also be performed with a barbell instead of dumbbells, which is called the lying tricep extension with a barbell. However, the dumbbell version allows for more range of motion and isolation of the tricep muscles.