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Why The Zercher Squat?

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.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Piers McCarney March 10, 2011, 4:53 am

    Hey Josh,
    Dunno if you’ll notice this on this old post (ranking high for ‘zercher squat’ in Google, nice!) but have you ever come across anything of wht is considered “strong” in the Zercher squat? Very little on Youtube is higher that about 320lb and what is is usually BIG dudes (like above). Curious if you’ve seen anything stand out as a benchmark relative to BW.
    Still gonna do them either way, falling in love with the Zercher, makes me feel very strong.