Usually, I do skull crusher exercise (1st or 2nd exercise of Triceps day and neutral position with an EZ bar) 3 sets with following weights (8-11 reps range).

Earlier I used to do 20kg max (for 3rd set). Increasing weight in time.

1 : 15kg (7.5kg each side)
2 : 20kg (10kg each side)
3 : 25kg (12.5kg each side)

While doing 3rd set, around 7th or 8th rep, I feel sudden loss of strength in my arms and I feel like dropping weight on my forehead or nose.

It only happens with skull crusher and that too with 3rd set (that too at 7/8th rep!), not with any other exercises.

Its happening from last 3-4 weeks.

What could be the problem?


  • How long are you using the same weight without improving? What exercises are you doing before skull crushers (weight, sets, reps)? If you say 12.5kg each side is that dumbbells? Or is it a barbell without the bar (effectively adding 20kg for the bar)? If you could edit those information into the question that would be very helpful.
    – user8119
    Commented May 21, 2014 at 7:17
  • @LarissaGodzilla Added more details to the question. Hope its more clear now.
    – Braj
    Commented May 21, 2014 at 8:29
  • Okay, but there's still some information missing. If we don't know how strong your bench press is (with reps and sets), or other triceps exercises, we can't tell if it's exhaustion or something else. Also, stalling for a week is okay, but stalling for 2 months isn't. How long are you stalling at that weight?
    – user8119
    Commented May 21, 2014 at 8:35
  • @LarissaGodzilla I start my chest bench press with 30kg (15kg each side), then 40kg, finally 50kg (9-11 reps range)... My other triceps exercise include single n double hand head extension, close grip barbell press, back dips, machine dips, cable push down, kick back (not all workouts at once, I change alternate week) and its happening from last 3-4 weeks.
    – Braj
    Commented May 21, 2014 at 8:52
  • 1
    I just googled a bit and happened to stumble over some ratios. According to those, your skull-crusher should be about 40% as heavy as your bench press. So it seems your skull crushers are ahead of your bench press. This makes me think that maybe your focus is a bit off. It depends on your goals, of course, but I'd think it more beneficial to view the skull crushers as an accessory exercise and do them later in the workout. By focussing on the bench press and dips first, your strength should improve faster, which will have a carryover to skull crushers eventually.
    – user8119
    Commented May 21, 2014 at 9:04

1 Answer 1


I just googled a bit and stumbled over this article, that tries to scale several exercises to the big 3 lifts. I did some quick calculating in my head and came up with a bench press to skull crusher ratio. Most lifters seem to be able to do ~40% of their bench press weight on skull crushers, e.g. 100kg bench press -> 40kg skull crusher.

Since your ratio seems to be much higher, I would recommend to scale back on the skull crushers for a bit, as your bench press seems to lack in comparison. By concentrating on the compound movements like the bench press and the dips, you should be able to increase your strength further. This should have a carryover to your skull crushers, eventually allowing for greater weight.

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