Lying triceps extensions

Lying triceps extensions

Lying triceps extensions, also known as skull crushers and French extensions are a strength exercise used in many different forms of weight lifting. Lying triceps extensions are one of the most stimulating exercises to the entire triceps muscle group in the upper arm. It works the triceps from the elbow all the way to the latissimus dorsi. Due to its full use of the Triceps muscle group, the lying triceps extensions are used by many as part of their training regime.


  1. Lie on a flat bench with feet on the ground and head hanging just off the top of the bench, so that the edge of the bench rests in the pit between neck and head.
  2. Take the barbell (preferably an EZ Curl bar for optimal hand positioning) with an overhand grip (palms AWAY from body) and hold it out above the head so that the arms are supporting the weight. Do NOT hold your arms straight over the face at 12:00, but rather at an angle more like 10 o'clock, with feet at 3:00. All of the weight should be on the triceps.
  3. Now bend the arms at the elbow, bringing the bar down close to the top of the forehead.
  4. Keep the elbows in the same position, do not let them sway outward.
  5. Press back up to starting 10 o’clock position.

Make sure the elbows don’t move too much, try to keep them the same width apart during the whole movement.


Vertical French extension

In this variation, the exercise is performed while standing (or sitting on a device with a low backing--that allows the shoulders full range of movement). With respect to gravity, the weight is still lifted in the same manner. With respect to the body, the weight is instead held over the head rather than over the face.

As with all weight training movements, it is important to keep the weight under smooth control on both the way down and the way up. This exercise can be performed standing, sitting or lying on one's back. As with most weight training exercises, it is recommended to start off with a lighter weight and then to gradually increase the weight as the muscles get stronger.


Another variation is done with dumbbells.

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