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Skullcrushers vs Close Grip Bench for Tricep Growth?

Hey PC!

You’ve said several times that you should focus on progressing on some kind of compound movement for the triceps, and then do an isolation exercise. Well, can skullcrushers be used as a ‘‘compound’’ movement for triceps?

Also, i just read the whole ''What do you think is the main driver of muscle growth thread, and when you talk about frequency and that 3 times a week is diminishing returns, does this mean it’s going to be equal gains to one or two times a week, or will you actually gain more with one or two times a week? I’m thinking of running either The Best Damn Program by CT, or the program outlined in the 4 reasons you suck at building mass.
So is 3 times a week going to provide less or equal gains?

Thanks dude!

Also, in the program from the article 4 reasons you suck at building mass, is the horizontal pulling movements meant to be for upper back work?

Do you know what compound and isolation exercises actually are? Compound doesn’t mean “primary”, it means multiple joints are involved. Skulls have only the elbow joint moving, targeting the triceps, thus it’s an isolation exercise. Dips, CGBP, etc. have the shoulder and elbow joint moving, and are compound movements. Unless the definition for isolation and compound movements has changed, no, you can’t do skulls as a “compound”, because they just aren’t one.


I’ve tried Both of those as compound in Tricep workouts, also Weighted Dips etc, and then finishing with pushdown variations with different bars and ropes.

And is probably gonna sound weird to some.

But my triceps started growing the fastest, really twice as fast, when I started doing the opposite, so actually first starting with rope pushdowns, both close to the rack and a step away from the rack, then straight bar, then v-bar, all till failure, so thats a lot of sets already.

THEN heavy ass, as heavy as I can tricep dips, sitting machine, and THEN close grip bench as heavy as I can, put all my effort into it with what strength I have left, doesnt matter if the platers arent much, as long as you feel it and it’s hard, you’re good, and then finishing off with one handed dumbell overhead tricep extensions, drop sets till failure.

I swear, your triceps will be THROBBINGGG.

When I do it in that order, holy hell, my triceps hurt twice as much as when I start with CGBP or Skull Crushers, and hurts for days after! I noticed the best gains this way. I do them on a separate day, not with chest.

You gain more doing it once or twice a week, also don’t do your triceps on same day as chest, do chest separate, then take one day just for your arms so that you can go full blast on them.


Yeah i know it’s not exactly a compound movement per se, however i watched an athlean x video on the best tricep exercise, and he concluded that a skullcrusher is overall better than a cgbp. You can still overload the triceps with the skullcrusher, and you get a better stretch on the long head.
So for building the most mass in the triceps, a skullcrusher could be comparable to something like a cgbp, because you still have room for progressive overload, not as much as a cgbp of cource.
Im not stating it as fact, just wondering if a cgbp could be replaced with a sullcrusher and if the results would be worse.

Found the same with chest, doing pec decks before db incline gives you an insane chest pump. You get more out of less weight. I’m thinking of using isolation before all compound movements, seems to be a good way to go for a good mmc and growth imo.

PJR Pullovers are similar to skulls, more elbow-friendly, and give a better stretch on the long head. If I made skulls a primary mover and focused on progressive overload, I feel as if I’d wreck my elbows. As for the compound movement, it seems as though you understand it, so my only complaint would have been semantics - you were asking if you can use skulls as the primary mover for your tricep work, not a compound one. No biggie.

This is all good discussion, but pretty much everything being discussed is pretty far from PC’s suggestions, I think. We could either wait for Paul to show up and give his opinion, or we could move this to a more general forum. Either way.


Yeah this is the video im referring to. Wondering what PC thinks about this. In the video he says the Barbell Triceps extension (not the skullcrusher, my bad) is better than the CGBP for targeting triceps.

That’s debatable. I find that tricep isolation exercises start to bother my elbows after doing them for a while, JM presses work well for me and don’t hurt my elbows. Those and slingshot bench are what I use for my triceps these days, triceps are bigger than ever and bench is going up and up.

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Yes exactly, pec decks before the heavy movements is awesome.

I feel like Isolations first is good way to put extra strain and incorporate the full muscle activity on the big movements.

For example when you do the Isolations first with triceps, and then start doing the big ones, you really get that full long head activation because the others are exhausted, gives me insane pumps and complete activation.

Same with chest, if I do pec first my chest has to work much harder on the other exercises, feels great, sure the bench press numbers won’t go as high then, but numbers are not important, if you feel it better, you know it’s working.

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I think Athlean X is saying if you’ll do 1 exercise, make it an extension. And Paul is saying do more than 1 tricep move.

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Yeah, i think it kind of feeds into Paul Carters train of thought where you don’t do a whole lot of sets, but you maximize the effectiveness of those few sets you do. It makes those sets that much harder.
You won’t be able to lift as much when you do an isolation first, but once your strenght increases to where it would have been without the pre exaust, i imagine you would be a lot bigger than just doing the heavy movements first.

Definetely do a variety of exercises imo, get em from various angles.

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Lying triceps extension was always one of my favorites. I used to superset them with preacher curls and would get an insane pump. Unfortunately I just can’t do them anymore due to elbow issues. I can do dips with 65 lbs around my waist and the tricep machine set at 200 lb but they just don’t give me the pump and growth that the lying triceps extensions used to (sigh).

Have you tried following Paul’s cue NOT to bring your elbows in while doing them?

Yeah, I don’t think I’ve ever done it any other way. I always used a close grip with an angled bar and with my elbows flared out at about a 20-30 deg angle maybe?

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It’s not weird at all. I got my best results when I did in this order, pressdowns, dumbbell skull crushers, THEN dips.

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Yes again. I got my best results overall when I started to pre-exhaust almost everything.

Holy shit…I tried this yesterday starting with 3 x 12 triceps cable pushdowns and then weighted dips afterwards. Now that’s the kind of huge tight pump I used to get when I was able to do the lying tricep extensions ;^ ) Thanks for that tip.