I’ve never been a good barbell back squatter. There are usually ways for me to get around my height in the main lifts–I’m 6’8″–but no matter what I tried, the standard back squat always turned into a lower back workout for me. I was told, “No, you’re just not flexible enough,” and maybe that’s true, but I decided it wasn’t that important to me.
Front squats worked fine, there were plenty of lunge variations I could play around with, and I was getting into pistols with kettlebells as well. The variation I had never tried that I had heard of was the zercher squat.
It is now my favorite lift. I feel like it was designed with someone my size in mind. The video above shows a pretty extreme version. I’m certainly not doing 600 pounds, but I would rather squat zercher style than any other variation.
It keeps me upright, the range of motion required is relatively comfortable for me, and I’ve got a 2″ axle that sits very comfortably in the crooks of my elbows, dispersing the force a little better. I have talked to people who say they can’t zercher because of sensitive elbows. A thick bar might be worth trying if you’re one of them and you still want to pursue the movement.
Few things make me feel as strong as squatting, and I haven’t felt bad at all that my squat of choice doesn’t put a barbell on my back.
Strength Training for body and mind.