Skull Crushers: Elbow Pain

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    Question Skull Crushers: Elbow Pain


    Does anybody have this problem. Everytime I do skull crushers I get a very stiff feeling in my right elbow joint. I do two or three warmup sets with the bar and rope pull-downs and then the stiffness subsides. I then do four sets with 92.5, 122.5, 142.5, 142.5lbs, never going under eight reps. Then the next day I get very sore/pain feeling in the elbow joint. Is it worth me trying some herbal joint remedies or should I ice it?
    I really don't want to stop doing this exercise, it has proven to be my most effective tricep exercise. It is only recently this has been happening to me, I've been using this exercise in my routine for over two years now.
    Any advice would be much appreciated.

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    you didnt tell us what you use.

    im assuming an ez curl bar?

    ever try using DBs.. you can do normal grip wide or hammers.

    try that and get back to me just curious
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    Yeah, I use an ez curl bar, I'll try the DBs.
    Thanks
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    I have the same issue, I know exactly what you mean. What worked for me is taking 3 caps of Cissus a day, that relieved the pain in my elbow / forearm when doing skull crushers. You might want to give that a shot!
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    Skull crushers put an insane amount of stress on your elbow joints and tendons. If you are like most you may be doing Barbell Lying Triceps Extension and not Barbell Lying Triceps Extension "Skull Crusher"

    In either case you are using a very good amount of weight. If you are cheating by swinging the weight to get even heavier weights up this will realy contribute to tearing up the joint and tendons.

    I suggest that you switch out the exercise for something else for a while. At the very least reduce the weight.

    Of course joint and tendon supplements will aid in recovery and healing but continued taxation is going to perpetuate the condition. JMHO.
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    Quote Originally Posted by B5150 View Post
    Skull crushers put an insane amount of stress on your elbow joints and tendons. If you are like most you may be doing Barbell Lying Triceps Extension and not Barbell Lying Triceps Extension "Skull Crusher"

    In either case you are using a very good amount of weight. If you are cheating by swinging the weight to get even heavier weights up this will realy contribute to tearing up the joint and tendons.

    I suggest that you switch out the exercise for something else for a while. At the very least reduce the weight.

    Of course joint and tendon supplements will aid in recovery and healing but continued taxation is going to perpetuate the condition. JMHO.
    This is very good advice, I think that I am going to start doing more close-grip benches and finish my workout with skull crushers with less weight/higher reps. I have always made sure that I use very strict form with this exercise, I think the heavy weight week after week has just begun to wear on my joints.
    Thanks.
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    Quote Originally Posted by B5150 View Post
    Skull crushers put an insane amount of stress on your elbow joints and tendons. If you are like most you may be doing Barbell Lying Triceps Extension and not Barbell Lying Triceps Extension "Skull Crusher"

    In either case you are using a very good amount of weight. If you are cheating by swinging the weight to get even heavier weights up this will realy contribute to tearing up the joint and tendons. JMHO.
    At that weight I'm assuming that you are not keeping your elbows in very close. You can reduce your weight a lot and concentrate on pulling your elbows together during your contraction, and you will feel the burn in your triceps even more. Allowing your elbows to go out at all allows many other muscles to come into play to help out, leaving you with the feeling that you can go heavier. Since all those other muscles are helping out, the weight CAN be moved, but that doesn't mean that the tendons per each muscle can handle that much weight.

    I'll bet you if I tied a belt around your elbow so that they were completely vertical, you'd be lucky to get 3 or 4 reps up clean at the weight you're doing for 8 reps

    Definitely keep to your low weight warm-up sets so that you are putting so much work force on cold tendons, then go towards a completely clean and strict movement.
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    Try warming up first with 2 sets of tricep rope extensions, light weight just to get the blood flowing down there. I used to have pain in my elbows too from skullcrushers and then i started doing warmups with rope extensions and they feel much better.
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    same thing happens to be, i cant even tolerate the bar, the pain in my joint kills on my left elbow, i usually do over head tricep extensions, work fine for me, no pain
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    The smartest advice I can give you is take a break from the exercise. If you have inflamed a tendon or something it is not going to heal if you keep training
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    I stopped doing them for about 5 months to fully recover. Skull crushers was probably the leading reason why I had such bad tendonitis. I have since adapted close grip bench press and it works pretty good.
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    I found that doing skulls SECOND on tri's day after pushdowns or dips completely removes any pain in my joints/forearms
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ripped1 View Post
    The smartest advice I can give you is take a break from the exercise. If you have inflamed a tendon or something it is not going to heal if you keep training
    This is VERY good advice. I had to do just this recently with skullcrushers. I managed to strain my brachialis doing them and it got REALLY bad until I finally just laid off skullcrushers for a few weeks. Now everything's cool.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rpen22 View Post
    This is VERY good advice. I had to do just this recently with skullcrushers. I managed to strain my brachialis doing them and it got REALLY bad until I finally just laid off skullcrushers for a few weeks. Now everything's cool.
    you don't, by any chance, also do barbell curls do you?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wedgylx View Post
    you don't, by any chance, also do barbell curls do you?
    I do.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rpen22 View Post
    I do.
    I just think these fly under the radar in terms of forearm pain.

    Of any exercise, these are the absolute worst for me - I always go with EZ bar curls for this reason
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    I agree, but mine wasn't actually forearm pain this time.
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    Deff go with the EZ curl bar. The one at my gym weighs 30lbs, but I know they vary...

    I am telling you, Cissus guys! Pill up and the pain will go away. I do skull crushers with 130lbs, which is probably very hard on my tendons, but with Super CissusRX I no longer am hindered by forearm & elbow pain. I am going to try Palo Alto's Incarnate next to see how that fairs.

    I see a few people mentioned taking time off, yes that works too, I have done that as well, but fact of the matter is once you start up again it is likely the pain will return. So either switch exercises or take something for those tendons!
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    I have the same issue w/ skull crushers. I typically only incorporate them every once in awhile and rely more on cg bench and weighted dips for tricep work.
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    ya i would also take some time off from them as others mentioned. Cissus would be a great addition also. You may also want to change to dumbell as previously mentioned, or a rope or bar on a cable system. Changing up the angle of the bench may also help with this too. I had bad elbow pain a long time ago from flat bench skulls. I then supplemented and used a military bench and dumbell and pulled overhead. This allows for a slightly different angle and allowed me to watch my form in the mirror which made an incredible difference!!
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    I didn't really read all of the posts os this may have been mentioned. Try doing your skull crushers w/ the bench on an incline. this is what i have been doing lately and the 1st set kills but after that its smooth sailing. Make sure you warm up very very good, and while warming up continue to add weight for each warm up set.
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    I do decline tricep extensions with a barbell.
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    Quote Originally Posted by lilGiant View Post
    I didn't really read all of the posts os this may have been mentioned. Try doing your skull crushers w/ the bench on an incline. this is what i have been doing lately and the 1st set kills but after that its smooth sailing. Make sure you warm up very very good, and while warming up continue to add weight for each warm up set.
    I actually switched to the inclines a few weeks ago but still had pretty bad pain. I have switched to close grip benches for the next few weeks and then I'm going to try the skullcrushers again.
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    Quote Originally Posted by colindep View Post
    I actually switched to the inclines a few weeks ago but still had pretty bad pain. I have switched to close grip benches for the next few weeks and then I'm going to try the skullcrushers again.
    try widening your grip on the ez curl bar...this will put your elbows at a diff angle and will take more stress off of your joint.
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    When you say wider on the bar, how wide do you mean exactly?
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    It has been said but I also agree...avoid the French Press with the ex bar. Perform the exercise with dumbells...very nice on a decline bench. Great exercise to reduce the dumbell weight to half and work on negatives. You can also do the one arm version using the free hand as a spotter to force some reps in.
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    actually I hurt my elbow this summer but never had it diagnosed because I dont like doctors and wanted to continue working out. but I had pain , pretty bad pain, for about two months. I was skull crushing 35s, which isnt even max for me, and was on 3rd set of ten going pretty solid when I just felt a pop and tear in my left elbow, and a pain that strained from below my elbow somewhat on my forearm up into my shoulder. I guess it was some type of muscle strain, but I had to completely drop skulls and bench and most tricepts for two months... sucked pretty bad. I take glucosamine sulfate msm right now which seems to help ive also taken black cherry concentrate which helped somehwhat.... but I still have the pain and pressure in elbows now when crushing, and i find it hard to push 30s. as mentioned above I do practice good form now and keep the weight lighter, and it seems to work because I dont hurt anything but from time to time I have pain for a few days If i go too hard. I really think skull crushers are a horrible exercise for your elbows, and they barely help your tricepts since so many people do them wrong IE too far behind head or not to completely or throwing body weight or snapping wrists or elbows out or down. I mean there are so many ways to get your form wrong.... anyways. Id drop them and go to some other exercises. I have trouple with kickbacks too because of my shoulder but that is a whole nother story.
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    I've had recurring sharp pains with both elbows while doing skullcrushers with the ez bar. I I also noticed the higher rep sets(12 to 15) was less likely to cause my elbow pain to flare up. The best advice I could give though is to switchto decline skullcrushers with ez bar, after I did this there was no pain whatsoever.
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    I switched from skull crushers to jm press a month ago due to elbow pain that I frequently get. Definitely feels a lot better doing jm press as opposed to skulls.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CountryLiftin View Post
    actually I hurt my elbow this summer but never had it diagnosed because I dont like doctors and wanted to continue working out. but I had pain , pretty bad pain, for about two months. I was skull crushing 35s, which isnt even max for me, and was on 3rd set of ten going pretty solid when I just felt a pop and tear in my left elbow, and a pain that strained from below my elbow somewhat on my forearm up into my shoulder. I guess it was some type of muscle strain, but I had to completely drop skulls and bench and most tricepts for two months... sucked pretty bad. I take glucosamine sulfate msm right now which seems to help ive also taken black cherry concentrate which helped somehwhat.... but I still have the pain and pressure in elbows now when crushing, and i find it hard to push 30s. as mentioned above I do practice good form now and keep the weight lighter, and it seems to work because I dont hurt anything but from time to time I have pain for a few days If i go too hard. I really think skull crushers are a horrible exercise for your elbows, and they barely help your tricepts since so many people do them wrong IE too far behind head or not to completely or throwing body weight or snapping wrists or elbows out or down. I mean there are so many ways to get your form wrong.... anyways. Id drop them and go to some other exercises. I have trouple with kickbacks too because of my shoulder but that is a whole nother story.
    had you gone to a sports med specialist, you may have prevented that.
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    I always got this from bad form...

    get on a decline bench and do your skull crushers and make sure your elbows are further back then your head where when you bring the EZ BAR down it touches the middle part of your scalp
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    Had a gone when? when I first got the injury? or after wards? and for my elbow or shoulder? honestly I only know one specialist in my area who I would trust. I dont live in a city and locally the people running the gyms and such dont really know much. But we just got a new physical therapist at my gym so, from now on if I have problems at least I have someone.

    anyways, Just clarify what you mean lol
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