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What is an EZ Bar Skullcrusher? Discovering the Effective Exercise

  • Thread starter MuscleMecca Crew
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MuscleMecca Crew

MuscleMecca Crew

MuscleMecca Crew
May 11, 2012
If you're looking for an exercise that gets your upper arm toned, the EZ bar skull crusher is a great way to build up your triceps in size and power. Its design offers isolation benefits, making it a go-to movement for many fitness enthusiasts.

This compound movement is excellent for building muscle and definition in the arms, particularly in the long head of the triceps. You can do it with an EZ bar, a shorter, bent barbell that makes it easier to hold and move your wrists.

The exercise technique effectively puts tension on the triceps during the whole range of motion. It stimulates the muscle fibers and promotes hypertrophy. The triceps adapt and strengthen as you gradually stress the muscles by lifting heavier weights or doing more reps.

What is an EZ Bar Skullcrusher?​

The EZ bar skull crusher, or the lying triceps extension, is a single-muscle exercise focusing on the triceps brachii. You'll need an EZ bar, a shorter, curved barbell that is easier to grip and place your hands with.

Maintaining proper form and avoiding excessive back arching or bar swinging is essential. Perform the exercise controlled to maximize its effectiveness and reduce the risk of injury. Once you have mastered the EZ bar skull crusher basics, you can experiment with variations to challenge your triceps further and prevent plateaus.

As a strength training exercise, it aims to improve muscle power, which is the ability of a muscle or group of muscles to produce force against resistance.

The EZ Bar​

The EZ bar is a different metal barbell than the traditional straight bar. It is usually between 47 and 52 inches long with a curved design that reduces stress on the wrists and knees more than straight barbells.

Its angled grip design lets your hand and forearm line up more naturally, making exercises less painful and straining. Reducing stress on the arms, elbows, and shoulders lowers the risk of overuse injuries and makes working out easier for people with joint problems.

It offers a variety of grip options, including wide, medium, and close grips. These different grips work on other muscle groups and let people do workouts like bicep curls, tricep extensions, and upright rows with their hands in the best position. You can use this versatile gym equipment for various exercises, helping you build muscle in your biceps, triceps, shoulders, and upper back.

Understanding the Muscle Group: Triceps​

The triceps brachii are a group of three muscles on the upper arm–the long head, lateral head, and medial head. Often called triceps, these muscles are essential for arm movement, stability, and strength in the upper body. They are responsible for pushing exercises like bench presses, dips, and overhead presses.

The EZ bar skull crusher is versatile in working on these muscles. You may integrate it with other tricep routines for a well-rounded workout. It can be easily added to different training plans, like supersets, drop sets, or pyramid sets, to make them more challenging and interesting.

As you get stronger, you can gradually add more weight to the routine as you do it. The EZ bar gives you support and control to lift heavier weights correctly. This gradual increase in resistance challenges the triceps and promotes continuous muscle growth.

How to Perform an EZ Bar Skullcrusher​

While it is a powerful exercise for your triceps, you should use the bar with the proper form to maximize its effectiveness and minimize the risk of injuries. Here is a step-by-step guide to doing the exercise technique for your triceps:

  • Lie on a flat bench, ensuring your back is well-supported, and maintains a neutral spine.
  • Use an overhand grip on the EZ bar with hands slightly closer than the shoulders.
  • Extend your arms vertically above the shoulders while keeping your elbows locked.
  • Relax your shoulders with a slightly elevated chest and tightened core.
  • Lower the EZ bar towards your forehead in a controlled manner.
  • Avoid any excessive movements to ensure that it stresses the triceps.

Perform the EZ bar skull crusher for appropriate repetitions, depending on your fitness level and training goals. Begin with a light load to perform each rep with good form, and increase the resistance as you get stronger.

Form and balance are essential to avoid getting injured during the EZ bar skull crusher exercise. Proper form helps spread the weight properly across the muscles you want to work, which puts less stress on your joints, tendons, and ligaments.

Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them​

During the EZ bar skull crusher, letting the elbows flare out to the sides is a typical mistake. It takes the attention off the triceps and puts too much pressure on the shoulders and elbows. Additionally, many people make the mistake of letting the bar move forward, away from the face, as they lower it. Doing this makes the exercise less efficient, leading to less tension on the triceps.

Using too much weight or giving up control to lift heavier loads is a common mistake that changes your form and makes you more likely to get hurt. Choosing a weight that lets you keep good form and direct the exercise throughout the whole range of motion is essential.

You need to have a spotter present if you're new to the exercise technique or using heavy weights. They can assist if required, ensuring safety and helping you maintain proper form. Avoid pushing yourself beyond your limits if a spotter is unavailable, especially when increasing progression. Safety and precaution should be the top priority of your workout routine.

Maximizing The Impact of Your EZ Bar Skullcrusher​

You must push your muscles beyond their limits to strengthen and build bigger muscles. Progression involves gradually increasing an exercise's intensity, load, or difficulty to stimulate adaptation and continued improvement.

Consider doing variations of the EZ bar skull crusher, such as close-grip or incline skull crushers, to push your triceps more and avoid muscle stagnation.

If you are new to fitness or just getting back into it after a long break, start slowly and focus on having a solid foundation of reps and sets. Aim for more repetitions, usually between 10 and 15 per set, and start with 1 to 2 sets per exercise.

If you've worked out before and are still in shape, aim for a modest number of reps, usually between 8 and 12 per set. This range of reps is a good mix of building muscle stamina and strength. Do two to three sets of EZ bar skull crushers to help your muscles grow and get stronger.

Incorporating the EZ Bar Skullcrusher into Your Workout Routine​

Determine what you want to achieve with your training and which muscle groups you want to focus on. The EZ bar skull crusher concentrates mainly on the triceps, so it works well with other workouts that work the chest, shoulders, and back. Plan to do the EZ bar skull crusher once or twice a week, giving yourself enough time to recover between rounds.
Think about how the exercises will go in your schedule. Most people start with compound exercises like bench presses or shoulder presses to get the most out of their power and energy. After these, you can do the EZ bar skull crusher and other isolation movements.

As you get better, you can try different training methods, like supersets or circuits, to make your fitness routine more interesting and challenging.

To keep your triceps workouts engaging, you can also do an overhead triceps extension or a dumbbell skull crusher as an alternative and variation to the EZ bar skull crusher.

Health and Fitness Benefits of the EZ Bar Skullcrusher​

You need strong triceps to keep the upper body's muscles in balance. The EZ bar skull crusher is an excellent addition to pushing exercises like bench presses and push-ups, which work primarily on the chest and front of the shoulders.

Adding this exercise technique to your workout routine can help you get well-defined and shaped arms. As the triceps are a large muscle group in the upper arms, working on them with focused exercises like the skull crusher can make the arms look better and strengthen the muscles.

The skull crusher is an excellent exercise to add to your training routine to define your arms or improve your upper body fitness.


The EZ bar skull crusher is a practical and versatile exercise that targets the triceps and promotes upper body strength and development. Doing this exercise with the proper form and method can help you get the most out of your triceps, increase your range of motion, and build up your muscles evenly. You can add an EZ bar skull crusher to any well-rounded workout plan, whether a beginner or an advanced lifter.

Frequently Asked Questions​

Why is the EZ bar skull crusher better for my triceps than the standard barbell?​

With its unique angled grips, the EZ bar puts less stress on the wrists and shoulders than a straight barbell. It lets the hands rest more naturally and comfortably, putting less stress on the joints during the activity.

Is there an alternative I can do instead of the EZ bar skull crusher?​

Yes, there are other ways to work the triceps, like close-grip bench pushes, triceps extensions with dumbbells, and cable pushdowns. With these workouts, your triceps will work from different angles and in other ways.

Should I do the EZ bar skull crusher at the start or end of my workout?​

You can perform the EZ bar skull crusher at any point in a workout, according to your preferences, training objectives, and workout plan.
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