Frank Mikulka's

Weekly Fitness Tip

September 5, 2004

I want to tone up the back of my arms; I think it’s called the triceps. That’s where I need the most work. I was told to do “skull crushers.” They sound painful. What kind of exercise is it?

The triceps is 3 heads joined by one common tendon that attaches below the elbow. Skull crushers is the term for the lying triceps extension and if you are not careful with the lowering phase of the movement, you could bop your forehead or nose with the weight, hence the nickname. Here is how to successfully execute the movement:

With 2 dumbbells or a barbell in your hands lie face up on a bench or even on the floor. Straighten your arms overhead directly in line with your shoulder. Stabilize your lower back and abdominals (core), bend at your elbows as you lower the weight towards your forehead, pause and straighten your arms to complete the rep. Keep your wrist in line with your forearms, upper arm is stable, no movement. Exhale on the up phase. Do 3 sets 8-12 reps with a weight that challenges you without excessive strain or bad form. This exercise will tighten and firm up those arms.

Listen to Frank Mikulka’s Weekly Fitness Tips every week on Debbie Mandel’s Turn On Your Inner Light Show every Sunday morning from 7:30 to 8:00 AM on WHLI 1100 AM. Also available on