Decline Skull Crushers: DON’T Overlook This Tricep Exercise

The decline skull crushers are a great exercise for increasing total triceps muscle size since they work all three heads, with the long head getting more tension.

The skull crusher should thus be a main workout in your regimen if you want your arms to appear bigger and thicker even when you aren’t flexing.

So, in this ultimate guide, you’ll learn how to do the skull crushers in a decline position with the optimal technique, the muscles they work, their benefits, the most important alternative if you are unable to do them, and more…

Exercise Details

  • Also known as: Decline nose crushers
  • Exercise type: Strength 
  • Body type:  Arms, Triceps
  • Level: Beginner
  • Main targets: The tricep brachii
  • Secondary targets: Shoulder and chest muscles
  • Compound/Isolated: Isolation
  • Force Type: Push
  • Equipment Needed: Bench, bar, and a few weight plates.

Other Tricep Exercise To Do: Single Arm Tricep Pushdown [BEST For Muscle Imbalance]

What Is A Decline Skull Crusher?

One of the tricep extensions that works all three heads of the triceps is the decline skull crusher which makes it one of the greatest tricep workouts overall since it works wonders for adding significant growth and strength.

Anyone can execute this exercise, and it’s crucial to do so, be a main workout in your tricep regimen if you’re seeking an easy and effective routine.

The reason why using a decline bench is so helpful for achieving improvements is that it provides extra stress during the whole range of motion!

How To Properly Do Decline Skull Crushers?

Watch this video demonstration:

  1. Adjust a decline bench to a (minus)15 to a (minus)30-degree angle.
  2. with your palms facing down (overhand grip), grab a barbell. lie down on the bench and loop your feet under the foot holders, if available.
  3. Raise the bar till it is completely above your head, then lower it behind your head by shifting your shoulders.
  4. Descend the barbell until you feel a solid stretch in your triceps
  5. To raise the bar to the starting position, slightly forward-roll your shoulders and extend your elbows until they are entirely locked out.
  6. Complete 3-5 sets of 10-20 reps.

Exercise Tips:

  • For maximum efficiency, be sure to bring the weight to your forehead.
  • To safeguard the elbows and feel the tension in the triceps, warm up completely before you start.
  • Keep your elbows from locking out at the peak.

What Muscles Does Decline Skull Crushers Work?

The decline skull crusher mostly targets the Triceps Brachii’s three heads: the lateral, long, and medial.

As well as shoulders and chest as secondary muscles.

Take a look at this image for a clear understanding:

Image Showing Muscles Worked During Decline skull Crushers

Decline skull crushers vs flat (The Main Differences)

Decline skull crushers and flat skull crushers are both effective exercises for targeting the triceps muscles, but there are some differences in terms of muscle activation, size, and strength, and which one is better for beginners.

Better For Muscle Activation: decline skull crushers

In terms of muscle activation, decline skull crushers place more emphasis on the long head of the triceps, while flat skull crushers target the lateral head of the triceps to a greater extent.

This means that decline skull crushers may be more effective for developing the overall size and shape of the triceps, while flat skull crushers may be better for targeting specific areas of the muscle.

Better For Size and Strength: Both

Both exercises can be useful for increasing triceps strength and muscle mass from a size and strength perspective.

However, because decline skull crushers target the long head of the triceps, they may be more effective for overall triceps development and size gains.

Which Is Better Overall: It Depends On Your Fitness Goal

Which exercise is better really depends on your personal preferences and goals.

Both movements have the potential to increase triceps strength and grow muscle, so it’s vital to pick the one that feels most natural and comfortable for you.

Better For Beginners: flat skull crushers

For beginners, it’s generally recommended to start with flat skull crushers before progressing to more advanced exercises like decline skull crushers.

This enables you to develop a solid strength and technique foundation before progressing to more difficult exercise routines.

Decline Skull Crushers Alternatives For Tone & Strong Triceps

1. Dumbbell Decline Skull Crushers

Picture for a Men Doing Decline Dumbbell Skull Crushers

Dumbbell declines bench skull crushers reduce tricep size asymmetries, that’s because you push each dumbbell separately.

Your arms will develop more or less proportionately to each other as a result of this isolateral lifting action as they are both receiving roughly equal amounts of tension.

How To Do Decline Dumbbell Skull Crushers?

  1. Lay down on a decline bench while holding a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. With your hands facing each other and your arms extended over your shoulders, slowly lower the dumbbells behind your head by flexing your elbows.
  3. Maintain this posture for a count. After then, bring your arms back up to the initial position slowly.
  4. Repeat for whatever many repetitions and sets you like.

2. Incline Skull Crushers

Incline Skull Crushers Image

The incline skull crusher is a flexible tricep exercise that can be performed with a number of equipment and in a specific technique as we discussed in this in-depth guide

3. Decline Cable Skull Crushers

Decline cable machine skull crushers will provide you with the triceps maximum consistent tension.

It puts a sustained strain on the triceps throughout the whole movement, in contrast to free-weight decline skull crushers, which offer little resistance at the top of the rep.

Watch this youtube video to see the exact form.

How To Do Decline Cable Skull Crushers?

To perform Decline Cable Skull Crushers, you will need a decline bench and a cable machine.

  1. Set up the decline bench at a 45-degree angle and adjust the cable machine to a low position.
  2. Lie down on the bench with your head at the lower end and grab the cable handles with an overhand grip.
  3. Extend your arms straight upwards with elbows close to your head.
  4. Slowly lower the cable handles towards your forehead, bending your elbows and keeping your upper arms stationary.
  5. Pause for a moment when the handles are close to your forehead, then slowly extend your arms back up to the starting position.
  6. Repeat for the desired number of reps.

People Also Ask

Are decline skull crushers better?

Some people may prefer decline skull crushers over other forms of exercise because they emphasize the long head of the triceps. This is because the declining angle allows for more muscular stretch, which can lead to increased muscle activation and development.

Furthermore, the decline angle can help to reduce tension on the shoulders and elbows, making it a safer exercise for beginners.

However, depending on individual goals and preferences, some people may prefer other variations of the skull crusher, such as flat or incline versions.

For example, the flat skull crusher may be better for overall triceps growth, whereas the incline variation can be more effective at targeting the upper triceps.

Can you do skull crushers on the decline bench?

Yes, you can perform Skull Crushers on a decline bench. In fact, doing Skull Crushers on a decline bench can increase the range of motion and provide a greater stretch to the triceps muscles.

What do decline skull crushers work?

Decline Skull Crushers mainly works the triceps brachii muscle located in the back of the upper arm including the long head which is responsible for stretching the elbow joint, Furthermore, this exercise, to some degree, engages the chest and shoulder muscles, making it a compound exercise that targets multiple muscle groups at once.

Conclusion: What is the best rep range for skull crusher hypertrophy?

As long as you complete enough volume to reach muscular failure, decline skull crushers may be effective at any rep range.

However, your want is to execute 3-5 sets of 10–20 reps for each exercise.

In effect, by performing an excessive number of repetitions, you minimize the drawback of fostering endurance adaptations at the cost of muscular gain. Also, lifting too much weight won’t put excessive strain on your elbows.


  1. Kim, T., Kil, S., Chung, J., Moon, J., & Oh, E. (2015). Effects of specific muscle imbalance improvement training on the balance ability in elite fencers. Journal of Physical Therapy Science, 27(5), 1589–1592.
  2. Fuentes, I., Cobos, A. R., & Segade, L. A. G. (1998). Muscle fibre types and their distribution in the biceps and triceps brachii of the rat and rabbit. Journal of Anatomy, 192(2), 203–210.
Hassane Sghir
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