The classic version of the exercise goes like this:

1. Lie on a bench with your arms perpendicular to the floor.
2. Lower your elbows while keeping your arms straight and close to your body.
3. Extend your elbows, lifting the weight back up, and stop just as you reach full extension.

Skull crushers is praised to be one of the best triceps exercises, but for some reason I always felt pain in my elbows when performing it. I tried it with dumbbells, with the EZ bar, straight bar, swiss bar, but no luck.

Pain while doing skull crushers. Much art. Much wow.

Pain while doing skull crushers. Much art. Much wow.

It turns out that a lot of people have problems with this exercise, and the common advice is: make sure to warm up real good, start with lighter weights, keep doing it, and your elbows will strengthen up.

I’m sure this works for some people.

The problem is, even with super light weights I was still experiencing pain. Not as much as before, but enough to make me look for other solutions.

One solution I found, was to move your arms a bit towards your head. This not only lowers the tension on the elbows but also provides a better stretch of the triceps.

This was better, but I was still feeling some pain at the top of the movement. So I decided to try the reverse. Move my arms a bit forward.

Painless skull crushers. Much art. Much wow.

Painless skull crushers. Much art. Much wow.

The pain was gone. Completely gone. I could not believe it.