Zercher squat: advantages and how to do it

It’s about time you learned about one of the many different ways you can squat. With the Zercher you will strengthen your arms and legs with total confidence.

Last update: September 11, 2022

Among the workouts in the gym that require greater strength, is the Zercher squat. It can mean a higher degree of technical difficulty than other movements. Not because it is very difficult to execute, but rather because of the strength and power involved.

Its main characteristic is the position in which you must position the bar. This factor is what will compose the complexity of the movement.

Remember that a squat is a basic activity in any training and consists of starting a movement towards the ground, by bending your knees, simulating that you sit in the air. But for it to be a Zercher squat, you have to start parallel with a front load that moves the bar from the high side of your shoulders to the crook of your elbows.

It is estimated that these squats were created in 1930 by Ed Zercher, a weightlifter. In his athletic career, Zercher was one of the strongest men in America.

Advantages of the Zercher Squat

Among the parts of the body that benefit the most is the back, having to keep it straight and in a neutral position. The muscles responsible for stabilizing the trunk and spine are responsible for posture, preventing injuries.

The Zercher squat is one of the best front squat variations you can practice. Add dynamism and a degree of difficulty to your routines.

Other advantages are the following:

  • It strengthens the core and supports the need to maintain an upright position throughout the exercise.
  • Increase the stability of your core.
  • It allows you to intensify your overall strength level.
  • As the days go by and as a result of this activity, you will be able to perform more intense squats.
  • You deepen the muscular progress of your quadriceps.
  • You work concentration as a great ally, through a controlled practice.
Traditional squats don’t involve extra weight, but other variations, like the Zercher, include barbells and dumbbells.


How to do the Zercher squat?

The main thing is that you take this exercise as a compound routine, since you perform the squat and, at the same time, with your arms you carry the weight of the bar. Start with a moderate weight that does not exceed your limits.

1. Locate the bar

You have to make sure that the bar is well secured on a rack or another place. Place it at elbow height.

You add some discs that add a low initial weightbecause the objective is that you rehearse the movement first, and then dedicate yourself completely to lifting more weight and increasing your resistance.

2. Separate legs

Spread your feet apart in the classic squat position. Raised in front of the bar, you will begin to execute each step.

You can do previous warm-up exercises, which help your legs prepare to execute the Zercher squat.

3. Flex your arms

You must bend your arms with the intention that the bar is in the bend of the elbows. Then, emphasize keeping your elbows together at your sides and try to squeeze your hands together, palms facing the ceiling.

4. Take a deep breath

This is one of the most demanding steps, because in it you will raise the bar. You will have to test your physical power and the ability to breathe deeply.

Start by placing your hips under the bar, proceed to deepen into deep breathing. Finally, you have to lift the support bar where you had it.

5. Stabilize the load

At this point, after raising the bar of the rack, take a few steps back to help you balance the bar. A breathing exercise at this point is vital to supporting the weight and accomplishing the squat.

With your weight balanced, squat down until your elbows reach your thighs or drop between your legs. To finish the Zercher squat, Stand up and do as many reps as you think you can..



What muscles does the Zercher squat work?

There are many muscles that are involved in the work during the squat. We can start with the quadriceps, which resist the full weight of the body and allow you to walk, run and sit. In addition, you work a thick, wide muscle in your leg called the soleus.

You will also be able to work the hamstring muscles that are in the back of the leg and that are responsible for activating the fibers so that you move the knee joint. They also have functions related to the transfer of the thigh over the hip.

Similarly, the following muscle groups are strengthened:

  • Adductors.
  • Spinal erector.
  • Brachial biceps.
  • Trapeze.
Whether it’s with the bar in front, like the Zercher variant, as well as with the bar in back, you add upper limb work to the squat.

Additional recommendations for correct squats

Do your best to keep your back straight throughout the exercise., since balance is essential for you to avoid injuries. Try to carry all the weight you are holding on your heels; in this way, you help the back to remain upright.

You also have to strive to perfect your technique, pay attention to every detail in the order of the steps to be completed, and increase the degree of difficulty with the weight. Over time, you will be able to try other variations or types of squats.

One of the main goals is to descend as far as you can, although this must be adapted to your physical resistance. You cannot sacrifice your neutral back position for this purpose.

Maintain healthy eating habits and get enough rest.

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