Also known as the ?Skull Crusher? or ?French Extensions?, this is another exercise aimed primarily at the tricep muscle, although it gives a good work out to the chest and shoulders also. This exercise will work out the complete range of tricep muscles in the upper arm, from the lattisimus dorsi through to the elbow.
This exercise can be performed either using one arm at a time, or if you are more experienced, using both arms simultaneously. Starting off with the one handed version may be best until you become more familiar and adept at the movements.
Before commencing this exercise, you will need to position a flat bench, and choose which weights you want to use. If no bench is available, then this exercise can be performed while lying on the floor on a suitable surface or floor mat.
As always, start off with low weights, and gradually build up to heavier ones once you are more confident in your capabilities.
Position yourself on your back on the flat bench or floor mat, and hold the dumbbells straight in front of you. Keep your palms facing away from your body, and hold the barbells in an overhand grip. You should be able to feel all of the weight on the tricep muscle.
Make sure your feet are flat on the floor, and keep your abs taut. If using a bench, ensure that your head hangs just off the edge of the bench, with the ?dent? between neck and head resting on the edge.
Extend your arms fully so that they are at a 90-degree angle from the floor and your torso.
Keep your elbows tucked into your body, and your palms facing inwards.
This will now become your starting position.
While inhaling, keep your elbows in and your upper arms static. Lower the weights slowly until they are level with your ears.
While exhaling, and once again keeping your elbows in and your upper arms static, push the weights back up to your starting position, making sure that you use your tricep muscle.
While performing this exercise, make sure to use slow fluid movements. Make a concerted effort to make no jerky movements during arm extensions.
If you find it difficult to keep your arm steady while doing this exercise, use your other arm to help keep the 90 degree angle needed. Try to keep your head, torso and spine steady but relaxed while performing this activity.
Do the required number of repetitions of the same movement.
Another variation of the same exercise can be performed by touching the dumbbells to the forehead, followed by completely extending the arm. It is recommended that if this version is attempted, that you use the floor and not the bench.
This version is not always preferred, as there is more potential for accidents and injuries to occur. As always, try to ensure that there is help available.
Warning: If you suffer from any kind of elbow injury, be extremely cautious when performing this exercise, as it may possibly be too harsh for you.
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