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Zercher vs Front Squats on Westside Template


I'm currently following Defrancos WS for skinny bastards four day template to train for football next season but I'd like to go for deadlift pb in the next month. I just finished two weeks box squatting and was thinking about doing 2 weeks of front squats followed by 2 weeks of zercher squats for my ME leg excercises before doing deads on my ME day the following week.

My question is, is there a big enough difference in front squats and zercher carryover to use them as my ME lifts two cycles in a row? I like the idea of squatting to bring up my deadlift cause I don't wanna stop squatting while trying to achieve my deadlift goal.

I also do Romanian deadlifts as accesory work on my dynamic days and I think there helping me along quite a bit. I read about doing cable zerchers as a accesory movement on elitefts, would this be a better way to incorporate both lifts and free up 2 weeks of ME leg days? Thought? Thanks


Good question...I'm not sure anyone is going to be able to answer it for you. I've always had good success with zercher squats helping my sumo deadlift but I've never used front squats in the same manner. I think zerchers are probably superior to front squats for building sumo strength....I'd probably pick one over the other and go with that. Nothing saying you can't get in some extra volume with front squats for some reps to hit the supporting muscle groups.


It could depend on where you do the zercher squats from. I think there would be a bigger carryover if you eliminated the eccentric portion of the lift and just started off from pins that were equal to or a little higher than parallel.



I thought it might be one of those answers, where you have to try it and find out. This is really what I'm enjoying about westside is the variability and the oppurtunity to experiment with a few things and see what works for me.

I never thought about doing them like this. I've done bottom squats before and really liked them maybe I'll have to give this a try and it just might provide enough of a change up from front squats to make it worthwhile.


When I say carryover, I mean to deadlift. The height from which you do them depends on what lift you want to train. If you're weak out of the hole, then setting the pins at or below parallel would be good to really train your glutes. If you want to train your deadlift, sumo or conventional, then setting them to where your ass is before you pull the bar off the ground would be the most beneficial in my opinion. There are tons of more experienced lifters on here than me, so don't set anything in stone. If you still have questions StormTheBeach would be a great guy to ask about squatting.



It doesn't take much change to make something a new exercise. A high bar narrow stance squat is a completely different exercise from a low bar wide stance squat for example.


Ya I definately understand what you mean. I think thats a really good idea this is probably what I'll try starting from where my deadlift would normally start and see how that helps. Thanks


Front squats and zercher are both good. I think zercher squats let you focus more on sitting back while keeping your upper body straight so I see it as a combination of hard abdominal work and posterior chain. Front squats also require you to keep the upper body straight but has more focus on the quads so hard abdominal work and more quads. Think about your weakness (and how much suffering you can handle --> zercher squats :P).

So optimal would be one week front and one week zercher but as assitance lifts because they are a bit technical in my opinion. I think they have carryover in that they make abdominals and posterior chain/quads work hard.


Do you have access to a safety bar? They are great for deadlift training.

Could just do light deadlifts or block/rack pulls from your sticking point for extra volume.

What is your weakness in the deadlift? Upperback? Glutes? Power off the floor? If you can't answer this question then I suggest you figure it out before you pick an accessory movement.


I dont have access to a safety bar at the moment. After my ME excersizes I was thinking about adding in some rack pulls for extra volume and to help with my lockout. I have never missed a lift off the floor or due to grip ever. Usually the bar flies off the floor and stalls out just above my knees (damn you short arms, until its bench time). I think the main culprit is my upper back loses tightness and I get put in a bad position to bring my hips through. Another problem is getting my glutes to fire at the right time and I've found focusing on squeezing my glutes during RDLs has helped alot.

Unfortunately I injured my ankle at practice this morning and it looks like I wont be practicing or squatting for awhile so I'll have to put this onhold. Good news is onlookers thought I wrecked my knee and the original diagnosis was my achilles but upon further review its only an achilles strain and some damage to the peroneal muscles. I'm acrediting my hard work in the gym for saving me from some serious injuries. Any ideas what I can do for my leg workouts without standing on my ankle?


GHR, leg curls, leg extensions, add/abductor machine, kneeling squats (may be your best option right now), seated goodmornings, lying leg raises (on stomach, back, and side)... The list could go on and on just be creative. On another note, you should really try to learn to fire your glutes better during this down time. There is a connection between rolling ankles/injuring peroneals and poor glute function (also you noted yourself that your glutes aren't pulling their weight).


Thanks alot for the suggestions, I'll have to see what kind of machines the University gym has and put together a bit of a program. I guess now I get to really focus on small things that have been holding me back as well as dominating the bench and shoulders!