Types of Tricep Extension

Types of tricep extension

There are various types of tricep extension. Some types use dumbbells or barbells, and other types of tricep extension use machines, such as the high pulley and the tricep press.

In addition to using a dumbbell to perform the tricep extension in the traditional free weight exercise, you can also perform tricep extensions lying down using a barbell.

The machines to help you perform tricep extensions are the tricep extension high pulley and the seated tricep press machine. Both of these types of tricep extension offer different benefits.

All of these types of tricep extension work the same muscle (the tricep), it just depends which method you are most comfortable with. The tricep press machine is the easiest method because it helps stabilise the movement.

Lying Tricep Extension - skull crusher
Lying tricep extensions (‘skull crushers’)

Some weight lifters find that using a barbell to perform a tricep lift is preferable to dumbbells. These types of tricep extension using barbells are called lying tricep extensions or ‘skull crushers’.

To perform the lying tricep extension, lie on your back on a workout bench with feet flat on the floor. You can also perform the lying tricep extension lying flat on the floor with knees bent.

Hold the barbell straight up with an overhand grip, then lower the barbell down to your forehead then back up again for however many reps you have planned.

Keep the upper arm still and using the tricep muscle alone to move the barbell up to the ceiling and down towards your forehead in a slow and controlled motion.

The nickname ‘skull crusher’ for the lying tricep extension is a reference to the movement towards the forehead in the lowering phase of the movement.

You must take special care to keep a strong grip on the barbell during the lying tricep extension so as not to give more weight to the name ‘skull crusher’!

types of tricep extension - skull crushers

Tricep extension high pulley

As an alternative to the tricep extension using dumbbells you can also perform the tricep extension using the tricep extension high pulley machine or the tricep press.

The tricep extension high pulley uses a cable machine with a pulley which can be fixed at a high or low position.

While the low position is perfect for performing bicep curls, the high position is ideal for the tricep extension, as you pull the handles down using your tricep muscle.

Ensure your upper arm remains stable with elbows tucked in while you move the handles up and down in a controlled motion.

These types of tricep extension need good form to maintain a still upper arm and retain strong focus on the tricep muscle.

types of tricep extension - high pulley

The tricep press machine

The tricep extension can also be performed using a tricep press, where the exerciser sits at the machine, resting their back on the back rest.

The backs of the upper arms should be pressed against the pads to ensure the only muscle used is the tricep.

Reach up to grip the handles as though they were dumbbells and pull them down until the arms is straight. At the bottom of the lift, let the handles move back up in a slow and controlled motion to complete your rep.

types of tricep extension - tricep extension machine

Read more about the tricep extension

Which is your preferred type of tricep extension – lying skull crushers, high pulley or tricep machine? Let us know in the comments.

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