Working out feels great, especially once you already see and feel the results like a better physique and stronger muscles. Although let’s face it, doing the same routine over and over could be boring. Say, your standard barbell squats, the gym staple that you’ve been doing ever since you started working out. If you want to try something new, then it’s time you learn about Zercher Squat.
Benefits of Squats
Before we talk about Zercher and why you should try it, let’s have a quick discussion about the benefits of squats.
You may not notice it, but squatting is part of our daily lives. Tying your shoelaces? Picking up that pen that you dropped on the floor? Yep, that’s squats. Thus, it’s important to include it as part of your workout— with or without weights. Here are some other benefits worth mentioning:
- Help build muscles. Your quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, abdominal muscles, lower back, and butt are all engaged whenever you do your squats.
- Burn calories. According to Burned Calories, a 150-pound person, for instance, could burn 98 kcal by doing squats for 15 minutes and 143 kcal for heavy squats.
- Improve flexibility, mobility, and balance. Your muscles, tendons, and ligaments all develop due to the regular squatting motion, thus making them strong and preventing falls that could result in injuries.
- Better posture. Strong core and leg muscles result in better posture. Both of which are engaged whenever your squat, as mentioned above.
Now, Zercher Squat
It is a combination of two exercises: carrying the barbell on the arms and doing squats. It is a front-loaded exercise, just like goblet squat. This movement focuses on the upper back, quads, and core muscles. And since the barbell is carried in the crooks of the elbows (instead of the back of your shoulders), your biceps and front delts benefit from it, too.
Okay, so here’s how you should do it:
Step 1: Place the barbell in the crooks of the elbows. You might want to place padding on the barbell or wear a long sleeve shirt to not hurt your arms. You need to place the weights as close as possible to your body. You could also clasp the hands together for additional strength.
Step 2: Place your feet slightly wider than a normal back squat, and squat down as low as possible. Make sure your torso is upright, and your hips are directly underneath you. Also, be mindful that your torso will be pulled forward by the weight, so you’ll have to resist that. Your elbows should fall inside your knees. If not, that means your stance is too narrow.
Step 3: Drive their feet through the floor and stand back up. Keep in mind that your chest should be up, and the barbell should be tight to the body as you stand up.
Why You Should Give It a Go
Apart from trying out something different and getting the same benefits that you would get from doing regular squats, Zercher squats could give you bigger and stronger quads. As BarBends wrote:
Increased quadriceps engagement and development is common in Zercher due to higher degrees of knee flexion reached at the bottom of the squat (sometimes even more than the front squat).
Since it targets the quads so well, the Zercher squat really benefits from being performed with slow, conscious control for each repetition to really maximize hypertrophic potential.
You could also achieve deeper squats with Zercher than when you do the back squats. That is because “Zercher squat is a front-loaded variation that moves the line of force more in line with the knees. As a result, the hips and ankles, which typically restrict a lifter’s ability to squat deep, don’t need as much flexion,” as powerliftingtechnique.com said.
Warning: Like any other exercise, you might experience muscle pains after performing Zercher squats. Common ones are lower back pain and elbow pain. It’s also important to seek professional guidance if you’re performing the workout for the first time to avoid injuries.
If you’re having trouble imagining how you should do Zercher squat, then check this video by Rogue Fitness: