The Skull Crusher Variation You Didn't Know Your Workout Needed

Ian Spanier / M+F Magazine

We’re not going to pretend like dragging a bench over to a cable pulley, setting the cable to low, and attaching a bar isn’t a pain—but, man, is it worth it.

Compared with a standard barbell, which is heavy at the bottom and lighter when your arms are locked out, a cable—like your wife when you forget your anniversary—causes more tension.

This means you can accumulate more muscle damage for more growth over time. 

Also, lifting the weight with a reverse grip, palms facing your head, allows you to target the oft-elusive inner head of your triceps, according to Mike Hanley, owner of Hanley Strength Systems in New Jersey (

How To Do It: Secure an EZ-bar attachment to a low cable pulley. Slide a flat bench lengthwise into the station, with one end a couple of feet from the weight stack.  Lie back on the bench and grab the outside of  the bar with an underhand grip. Start with your arms extended and the bar directly over the crown of your head.  Lower the weight under control through the negative until the bar touches the top of your head, then contract your triceps to extend your arms back to the start position. Keep your upper arms stationary through­out and don’t let your elbows flare out. Start with 2 sets of 12 reps.



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