• Comprehensive Guide to Zercher Squats

    01 Feb 2021

    Remember: all information, content, and material of this website is just for informational purposes only and are not intended to serve as a substitute for the consultation, diagnosis, and/or medical treatment of a qualified physician or your healthcare provider/personal fitness trainer.



    Editor-in-Chief of the Approved By Coach

    What Is Zercher Squat?

    If you intend to build big quads, there is probably no better and more effective exercise than the Zercher squat. It is one of the best bang-for-your-buck exercises. Built for athletes, powerlifters, and Olympic lifters, Zercher squat leads to the overall development of the body.

    Zercher squats enable the lifter to work on the quads, core muscles as well as upper back. The most notable feature of this exercise is the fact that throughout it the lifter carries the entire weight in the arms.

    Who Should Perform Zercher Squats?

    Who Should Perform Zercher Squats

    Usually, strength or power athletes perform the Zercher squats extensively because they have to build a lot of muscle mass as well as strength. Itโ€™s also noteworthy that the reason why strongman athletes, fitness people, and powerlifters rely on Zercher squats is because they lack strength in their upper back. Zercher squats are also a huge help to the Olympic weightlifters, who need to focus more on front-loaded squats.

    Muscles Worked in Zercher Squat

    There are a lot of differences between the Zercher squat technique and other forms of squats. For example, Jefferson Squat is an exercise that concentrates mostly on the lower body. The lifter has to straddle his barbell in almost a split posture. Zercher squat, on the other hand, is a technique that the lifter masters by placing their barbell in the middle of elbows. And through this unique technique, the load is equally distributed.

    However, it is no more just front-loaded in the quads, this rack position also enables the upper body as well as back muscles to stay perpetually active. Zercher squats mostly target some primary muscle groups such as the upper back, erectors, biceps, quadriceps, glutes, and abdominals.

    What are the Advantages of Zercher Squat?

    Some of the most notable Zercher squat benefits are:

    What are the Advantages of Zercher Squat
    • Increases Quad Strength & Hypertrophy
      The quad muscles are more emphasized than the glutes and hamstrings. The knees travel more than the hips that enhance the kneesโ€™ strength.
    • Increases Core Stability
      Zercher squat increases your back core muscles and especially the lower body. As you drip your body downwards, the applied on your hip and legsโ€™ core muscles pressure strengthens them further.
    • Improves to train deeper squats
      It is highly effective for those who lack mobility while squatting. So overall, Zercher squat trains low ranges of motion without additional mobility.
    • Fortify upright Torso
      It challenges your upper back and postural muscles. Once you start feeling the fatigue, you bend forward, and the barbell will drop on the floor.
    • Improves strength for daily activities
      Many people perform heavy tasks to carry loads for a living. And Zercher squat is an ideal exercise for such people since it strengthens their core muscles.

    Possible Drawbacks of Zercher Squats

    Despite all these benefits, there are certain drawbacks of Zercher squats.

    Advanced Exercise

    This form of exercise is quite advanced and one does not learn this squat in a training institute or gym for the first time. Also, before performing Zercher squat, your body must be acquainted with front and conventional squats.

    Better Squat Variations

    There are indeed other squat variations that yield similar outcomes as Zercher squat does. Albeit, Zercher squat increases the postural integrity, core stability, as well as quad strength, other squat variations such as the lunge, back squat, overhead squat, front squat, and deadlift too, can be as beneficial as this form of squat is.

    Not very comfortable

    Itโ€™s not uncommon to feel discomfort while performing the Zercher squat. Since the lifters are advised to carry the barbell on the elbowโ€™s crease, it becomes quite painful when the load becomes heavy. It can also give rise to unforeseen bruises and abrasions.

    Zercher Squat can be Dangerous

    Performing this squat can be quite dangerous because it can cause bicep tears and other forms of injury if the lifter does not hold the barbell properly โ€“ close to the body.

    How to Perform the Zercher Squat?

    Letโ€™s now go through the steps that will help master the Zercher squat.

    How to Perform the Zercher Squat
    • Place the barbell in the crease of the elbow.
    • Set your feet to the floor with a legitimate distance between them.
    • Bent downwards with an upright torso.
    • Move your thigh apart and let your elbows sink against them.
    • Now stand up from the previous position and repeat all the steps.

    Recommendations for Zercher Squats

    The Zercher squats are perfect for Powerlifters and fitness athletes. Other than that there are different instructions on how best to perform this exercise, depending on what you need:

    For Strength

    • 3-5 sets of 3-5 repetitions with heavy loads followed by resting.
    • Can use bands and chains.

    For Muscle Hypertrophy

    • 3-5 sets of 6-10 repetitions with moderate to heavy loads or 2-4 sets of 12-15 repetitions with moderate loads. Rest for 45-90 seconds.

    For Muscle Endurance

    • 2-4 sets of 12-20 repetitions with light to moderate loads. Rest for 30-45 seconds.

    Variations of Zercher Squats

    There are 3 main variations of the Zercher squat:

    • Zercher Carry
      A modified โ€œfarmerโ€™s carryโ€ โ€“ this is a great exercise that develops your upper body and postural strength. Zercher carry can be added at the beginning of the session to let athletes walk distances with a load.
    • Bottoms Up Zercher Squat
      In this variation, the lifter is required to lift the squat from the bottom position, performing only the coextensive aspect of the lift. It is ideal for lifters with poor postural and contractile power.
    • Tempo Zercher Squat
      This exercise is performed to increase the time a muscle remains under the training strain. It also improves the movement pattern and the overall strength and awareness of the body.

    Final Words

    Zercher squats are not only a lower body exercise โ€“ It also helps lifters to strengthen their weak postures and gives them an upright torso. This movement is flexible in any training regimens, so you will not regret including this one in your training plan. Perhaps some of you already have? If so, how do you like the Zercher squats, and have you started noticing any improvements? Let us know in the comments, we would love to know about your accomplishments with this squat!

    • Please fill required fields
    • Please fill required fields
    • Please fill required fields
    • Send