Why I Love Zerchers and You Should 2

Do you know where Zercher Squats came from?


Supposedly the Zercher squat came about because there are weights, but no racks, in the joint.

They needed a way to squat and figured out that they could pick up a lot of weight off the ground in the crooks of the elbow.

Zercher Squat. Ed Zercher came up with this squat variety many years ago. In 1966 or 1967, I read about a prisoner by the name of Robert Barnett, who had just pulled a 675 deadlift at 165 BWT. He related that the Zercher squat was responsible for his success. He reported that his best was 395 x 5 reps done off the floor.- Louie Simmons

I don’t know if that’s the truth, but it’s a hell of a story.

So, what the hell is a Zercher Squat anyway?

It’s (most commonly) a squat where the bar is held in front of you in the crooks of your elbows.

Zercher Hold Edited

Yes, it’s uncomfortable.

Actually, it’s down right painful.<—-IF you don’t have adequate padding.

Yes, your limited by how much you can hold in your elbows, which probably isn’t much compared to your back.

That’s why the I think these are probably a less than stellar primary leg exercise if you’re already pretty strong.

BUT, and it’s a big BUTT…

It’s sick nasty good for core and upper back training.

With the bar placement to the anterior (that’s the front kids) it really forces you to use the core and upper back to resist flexion (bending forward/ rounding over) and stay upright.

Here’s the fun thing about the old Zercher Rack.

It can be used with just about any lower body exercise and will suck, in a good way, with all of them.

There really is no safe harbor with the Zercher Rack.

It’s equally awful with….



Reverse Lunges:

Good Mornings:

 These might be even more awful than most..

Holds and Carries:

Seriously, do you need a video of these??

Maybe you do…on the Tube’s of YOU, or me.

Or if you’re a sadist, add crazy bells to the mix and really show everyone how much self loathing you have.

Key Points When Using The Zercher Setup:

  • It’s going to be a LOT less weight than normal, check your ego and don’t commit jackassery.
  • Stay tall, but ribcage on the abs.
  • Get some padding. <—-I prefer the Squat Sponge, it’s a boss for these.

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