What Are Zercher Squats?

November 9th, 2008 Posted in Weight Training 2 Comments »

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Zercher Squats
Zercher Squats

In a recent training log, I mention Zercher squats as an alternative to barbell squats, and you might have asked, “What is a Zercher squat?”

So, What is a Zercher Squat?

The Zercher squat was developed by Ed Zercher, a well-known powerlifter and strongman from St. Louis who competed back in the ’30s. Rumor has it that Zercher’s home gym lacked a squat rack, so he would load a barbell on the floor, squat in front of it, hold it in the crook of his arms and lift the weight with his legs and lower back.


Flexibility Concerns

Of course, few guys have the flexibility to start the Zercher squat from the floor, so you might try starting your Zerchers from a low rack.

Basically a combination deadlift and squat, the Zercher squat works the legs, glutes and lower back. Many lifters find it helps them get much better form on the squat; it’ll also help build strength in the bottom position where most trainers are typically weakest.

This guy seems to have pretty decent form during his Zerchers…

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2 Responses to “What Are Zercher Squats?”

  1. Forest says:

    Zerchers are a cool squat variation in my experience … but I’ve also found that it can be difficult to use a large enough load to challenge your legs – the amount of weight you can hold in your arms is often the limiting factor. Anyone have any suggestions?

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