T Nation

Zercher Squats


Who here does Zercher squats?
What kind of training effect do you get?
What kind of stupid looks do you get form the uninformed gym rats?

I am thinking of incorporating these into my program.


Sorry, your avatar rendered me temporarily unable to speak, type, or do much of anything really. What was the question again? Oh yeah, Zercher squats...

I use them as a variation and for core strengthening. I feel them pretty much everywhere from below the chest down when I'm done with them.

I had one nimrod tell me that was the incorrect form for front squats, but other than that I haven't gotten too much of a rise out of the other gym folk. Then again, they're used to me carrying in all manner of bizarre stuff (fat bars, bands, boxes, etc.) so they usually just look the other way when I'm in there anyway.


yes my avatar seems to have that effect on people. I like to stare at it too...


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First things first-whose beautiful knockers are those?

2.Where can I find instructions for these squats?

And I get stared out when I do front squats,that and all the trainers tell me not to lift so much weight......I hate the latter the most


They are basically a front squat holding the wieght in the crook of your elbow. I prefer front squats as zerchers limit your ROM.


Zerchers, performed correctly, absolutely do not limit your ROM. You are correct though, that the bar is held in the crook of your elbows and this will become very uncomfortable as you move up in poundages. Attempts at padding can make holding the bar more difficult. But I digress. Zerchers ADD ROM. You can absolutely go ATG in zerchers perhaps more so than other squats.

There is also another evil variation called the zercher deadlift that will really test your ROM.

I would suggest you go to elitefitness and check out the zercher articles there are check out the louis simmons articles too.

Fighting the weight pulling you forward is the main training effect of the lift. If you're not feeling this pull, you're not using enough weight. Squat down between your knees for the greatest ROM.


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I don't think anyone should do Zercher Deadlifts, it's asking for back problems.

Zercher squats are alright, but the after watching DW attempt the zercher deadlift I imagine lots of people might end up the way he did back then.

Bent over like an accordian.


I added them into my core training routine after reading the recent article.. I absolutely love them!


for these squats do you have to use a fat bar? i used a fat bar up at school but i dont think the gym here at home has one



I did these for the first time today and I must say that they really tax the mid section. I got up to 185lbs and that was pretty tough. I was able to grind out ten reps at that weight. Don't be mistaken though, they were ten good hard reps that really were tough.

I was unable to use enough weight to get the quads going though. I will add these for a core strengthening.


I know this is an old thread, but I tend to like to read old threads.

I've been doing zercher squats recently, it's the first time I really do them heavy. I use that velcro pussy pad people use to squat (and women use to do lunges on the smith machines with about 30 pounds total on the weightless bar...). I wouldn't use it if it was only a problem of pain, but it seems the bar in the crook of my elbows tend to shut down blood circulation...

Anyway I'm beginning to love them, I feel it very well on my quads and glutes, and a bit on the core, moreso than with front squats. For some weird reason, it seems to make the middle of my quads sore (Rectus Femoris?), rather than the whole quads as with front squats. Maybe hip inflexibility prevents the proper use of the rectus femoris during front squats? I do my front squats more like back squats, i.e. by sitting back rather than having the knees shoot forward, but when doing zercher squats it kinds of allow me to go very low without using the hams/lower back much.

I went on elitefts.com and didn't find the zercher articles. Can anyone post the links?



I like Zerchers because front squats, depending on how I hold the bar, either tear-up the skin on my shoulders or twist my wrist in a very painful way. The reason I like to do both Zerchers and front squats is that I tend to lean forward too much on my backsquat and it looks like some sort of hellish good morning. I think I have bad leverage for back squatting.

Recently though I started CT's lumberjack squats (check his latest article) and I like these more than any other squat variation, though I admit that this is the furtherest from a traditional squat out of all of the exercises mentioned. Maybe that's why I like it better.


Here's an interesting variation:


[i]The Zercher squat has been one of the biggest secrets of powerlifters over the years. A great movement for building your squat and deadlift because of the development can create for the torso and glutes.

To perform this movement attach the straight bar to the a two sided cable machine. Hold the bar in the crook of the elbow. Pull as much air into your torso and you can, filling you belly with air. You do not want this air in your chest. At this point make your entire body as tight as you can. As you sit down flex your abdominal as hard as you can.

When using a machine like this the movement becomes very unstable to do. Use lighter weight and slow the rep speed down and keep your body tight. Due to the extreme nature of this movement (you body is flexed as hard as you can form start to finish) 5-6 reps per set seem to work best.[/i]

Check the link for the pic.


They are a great move and I think under used they will build both mental and physical toughness. Do them from the floor and you basically get twice the bang for your buck a Deadlift them a hip dominant squat. Just progress slowly like anything else dont come into and strength move if you dont have a base in that type of lifting and try and go balls out

here is a video from a couple weeks ago where I doing these from the floor for the first time, I hit 425 without o much prob. Ill be doing them more often for sure really smoked the lower back. My goal is 500 for now


Cool video and holy fuck are you ever strong.


Testy1 wrote: They are basically a front squat holding the wieght in the crook of your elbow. I prefer front squats as zerchers limit your ROM.[/quote]

That's not necessarily true, if you go with a wide, powerlifter stance you get a sumo/zercher where your elbows don't touch your legs and you can do an "ass to the grass" version, that's how I do them. I also take two of those little bar bads that I normally laugh at people for using in back squat so that the pressure is more spread out in the crook of my elbows. Louie @ West Side Barbell makes a zercher harness for like $260, which I'd love to try.