Most of my workouts involve starting off with four sets of three (4x3) using about 85% of my max weight for the areas I'm focusing on that day. Then I finish up with lighter weight and high reps (3x10 or 3x12).

I want to focus on my lower inner tricep near the elbow and so far, dumbbell skull crushers appear to have the best effect on this area for me. However, because the exercise is best performed with the elbows in a stationary position, I can't do as much weight as I would like (only 20lb dumbbells).

To get the maximum hypertrophy for this area, how much emphasis should I put on the parameters for this exercise:

-Form (not moving the elbows or wobbling on the way up)

Note that I have tried this with an Ez-bar but don't get the same results that I get with dumbbells.


1 Answer 1


It's kind of inherent in the exercise that you're not able to do much weight. It's an isolation and it's hard to cheat.

Skull crushers are a tricep go-to for me; I have a few tips.

  1. Rotate your hands. When coming down rotate so that your palms are facing your head, rotate outward at the top so your palms are facing out. Bonus is that you can come down further with hitting your head.

  2. Use the ez-curl bar to super-set. Using dumbbells is harder so I suggest you superset it with the ez curl bar, so that after failure with the dbs, you can do another set of 6-8 with the bar. Use the closer grips, probably obvious but I've seen people use the outer handles.

  3. Burn out with close grip press. Without getting up, put the dbs together and burn out with some close press.

As for the factors you mention:

weight - this is relative. pick a weight, such that you're about failing or even have to break form on the last 2-3 reps.

form - form isn't everything. It's pretty important for this exercise but if you are doing 8-12 reps and need to flare the elbows a bit to get out a few more, go for it. Even a little momentum can help squeeze out an extra rep or two.

reps - more reps. Since this is an isolation that requires relatively low weight, high reps is important; 15-20 even for some sets.

  • This is great, thanks! I want to do this as often as possible, is every day too much? Or how many times per week is a useful amount where the resting period is adequate?
    – JacobIRR
    Jun 28, 2019 at 21:21
  • Depends on your general workout frequency and split. personally, I lift 6 days a weeks, I'll do 3-4 sets of these on chest day, and more on arm day (a mix of dumbbell and ez-curl)
    – Dan
    Jun 28, 2019 at 21:27

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