Incline Skull Crushers (How To Do, Proper Form, Muscle Worked & More)

One of the most effective forms of skull crushers using an Ez-bar, straight bar, or dumbbell is the Incline Skull Crusher. You can also alter the angle of the bench as desired. Incline skull crusher movements are excellent for developing definition and strength in the back part of your triceps, especially the long head.

 in this guide, we will go over what incline skull crushers are, which muscles they target, how to execute them correctly  for best results, variations, and the benefits of including this exercise in your workout program

Exercise Details

  • Also known as: Incline nose crushers
  • Exercise type: Strength 
  • Body type:  Arms, Triceps
  • Level:  Intermediate
  • Main targets: Triceps
  • Secondary targets: Shoulders
  • Compound/Isolated: Isolation
  • Force Type: Push
  • Equipment Needed: Cables or a straight barbell or dumbbells or EZ bar

Related Workout: Incline DB Kickbacks: ULTIMATE Guide

What Are Incline Skull Crushers?

Incline Skull Crushers are a weightlifting exercise that has the main objective of isolating and working the triceps muscle in the upper arm’s back.

This exercise is done while lying on an incline bench (which makes your torso at a high level than your hips) and holding a barbell, cable attached to a straight bar, EZ curl bar, or a pair of dumbbells.

Many bodybuilders currently adopt regular skull crushers on a flat bench as part of their tricep training program, but they may not know about the incline bench as an alternative option.

Because this exercise is also a good way to train the back muscles of your upper arm and get them growing.

Overall, the skull crusher typically trains the tricep muscle through elbow extension and flexion.

How To Properly Do Tricep Incline Skull Crusher?


What Muscles Does Incline Skull Crushers Work?

The Triceps brachii is the primary muscle worked.

Pectoralis Major, Anterior Deltoid, and Biceps Brachii are worked as secondary muscles.

One of the pros of an inclined bench is that you can effectively isolate the triceps muscle and achieve a good stretch at the bottom of the exercise. With a flat bench skull crusher, you cannot accomplish this successfully.

Any grip will significantly engage all three heads, but for optimal hypertrophy, you may slightly change it by using the variations listed below.

Incline Skull Crushers Benefits

Incline Skull crushers provide the tricep with a deep range of motion, which is excellent for developing muscles.

In addition, compared to other tricep exercises, they do not exert as much stress on the elbows, thus, skull crushers provide a ton of extra benefits.

  • Elbow joint protection: This exercise will put the least pressure on your elbow.

  • Improve your performance during chest compound exercises: Enhance challenging exercises like the bench press and military press to build more triceps muscle.

  • Isolate the long-head triceps muscle: It could be challenging to accomplish this with other workouts like push-ups or overhead presses.

  • The best alternative for some other tricep exercises: If you have pain or trouble performing overhead workouts, incline skull crushers might be an adequate replacement for standing overhead tricep extensions.

  • Improve your functional fitness: Strengthening your triceps is a wonderful way to support your daily life activities such as pushing, pulling, and bending…

Best Alternatives of  Incline Tricep Skull Crushers To Do

You may perform incline skull crushers in a variety of ways using barbells, dumbbells, and cables to gain more benefits like constant tension and better muscle symmetry.

Depending on your level of fitness, there are several methods to do the incline skull crusher.

In case you’ve never done an incline skull crusher workout before, you might want to make a few adjustments to make it simpler.

For example, using a lower weight is one technique to solve this issue.

1. EZ Bar Incline Skull Crushers


You can maintain a neutral grip while using an EZ bar, which will provide a little extra stress to the long head.

All three tricep heads benefit from the incline EZ Bar skull crusher’s support in developing strength and muscle.

It may be utilized by those who want to strengthen their triceps as well as those who want to develop larger triceps.

How to perform Incline EZ Bar Skull Crushers

  1. Lay face up against an inclined bench while keeping your feet on the floor and holding an EZ Bar.
  2. With your hands facing up and your arms extended above your shoulders, lower the EZ bar behind your head by bending your elbows gradually.
  3. Pause in this position for a while, then bring your arms back up to the starting position in controlled movements.
  4. Repeat for whatever many repetitions and sets you like.

2. Incline Barbell Skull Crushers

Using a barbell with weight plates connected is the most common technique to do a skull crusher.

With a longer bar, it can be a little more difficult since you have to balance it with your extended arms because the bar demands a narrow grip.

How to do incline barbell skull crushers

  1. Adjust the incline bench to 30-45 degrees and put the barbell on your chest.

  2. Lay with your face up against an inclined bench holding a barbell, and your feet firmly on the ground.
  3. Attentively lower the weight to your forehead by bending your elbows while holding it with a close grip with your palms facing up, then press it back up to the beginning position. 

  4. Repeat for 8-12 repetitions, 2-5 sets.


3. Incline Cable skull crushers

For skull crushers, a cable machine is an amazing alternative since it provides constant muscle-building resistance over the full range of motion.

Conversely, regular skull crushers have the limitation of offering little resistance at the very peak of the motion, which makes cables a better alternative.

How to do an incline cable skull crusher

  1. Attach the straight or angled bar to the bottom of the cable machine (low pulley), hold it with both hands, then lean back on the incline bench.

  2. Slowly extend your arms to lower the weight while maintaining a stable angle at the elbows. in the end, the peak contraction continued using a brief pause.

  3. Return back to the beginning point.

Pro Tip For All Variations

Try the Inclined position using heavier weights if you’re looking for a more challenging variation to activate various muscle fibers in your upper body.

Incline vs Flat Bench Skull Crushers

Incline and flat bench skull crushers are both exercises that target the triceps muscles.

The Main Difference:

The angle of the bench is the main difference between the two workouts, skull crusher exercises are performed on incline benches as opposed to flat benches.

Muscle Activation:

Incline skull crushers place more emphasis on the long head of the triceps, which is the largest of the three triceps heads.

This is because the incline angle places the arms in a position that allows for a greater stretch on the long head of the triceps.

Flat bench skull crushers, on the other hand, place more emphasis on the lateral and medial heads of the triceps.

Which Is Better Overall:

Which exercise is better depends on your specific goals and preferences.

If you want to focus on building the long head of the triceps, then incline skull crushers may be a better choice.

However, if you want to target the lateral and medial heads of the triceps, then flat bench skull crushers may be a better choice.

It’s also worth noting that both exercises can be effective for building overall triceps strength and size.

Both exercises should be included in your workout routine to ensure that you are targeting all three heads of the triceps.

Additionally, it’s important to use proper form and technique when performing skull crushers to avoid injury and maximize results.

People Also Ask


What muscles do incline skull crushers work?

The incline skull crusher primarily targets the triceps brachii, and secondary targets additional muscles  like shoulders, pectoralis major, wrist flexors, anterior deltoid, and biceps brachii as stabilizers

Are incline dumbbell skull crushers good?

Yes, incline skull crushers are a great workout for increasing triceps mass and strength. They’re also an ideal way to improve your shoulder stability.

Should skull crushers be inclined or flat?

The incline bench form of skull crushers is the more suggested skull crusher to do, it is particularly safer and easier to perform in contrast to its flat bench variation.

What degree incline dumbbell skull crusher?

A common angle for incline dumbbell skull crushers is around 30-45 degrees. This angle can help you to target the triceps muscles while also reducing strain on the shoulders.

Wrap Up

The incline skull crushers are a terrific workout for increasing triceps muscle and strength. They’re also an outstanding way to improve shoulder stability.

These are just a handful of the various workouts available to target the triceps. To keep your workouts fresh and minimize boredom, switch between alternative exercises provided in this article. 


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  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.
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