Thread: Zercher's
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Old 10-10-2008, 10:36 AM   #3
Dave Van Skike
Senior Member
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: PNW
Posts: 1,708

Originally Posted by Derek Simonds View Post
Well today was the first day with Z's. I have quite a few questions as well as an observation that I liked them a lot. I can see the carryover to a significant number of exercises. Dave I am looking forward to your insight.

When I did them this morning I squatted down and got low and put my arms under the bar while it was on the ground and picked it up with my arms already under the bar. Now I didn't do this with any significant weight only up to 155 LB's. So with that lead in here are my questions.

1) I saw several different ways of doing Z's in videos today. Some started from the rack and the people picked them up with arms already standing. Some started from the ground in a DL pulled them over their knees then squatted and picked them up. I did them completely differently as noted above. Which way do you guys do them most often and do you vary them based on what you are trying to work and does anyone else do them the way I described?

2) If you do the DL variant does each rep go back to the floor to start the next rep or do you just squat until you have completed your specified reps?

3) If you are just squatting with the bar held in your arms is it natural that you assume a wider stance and that your elbows go between your knees as you descend?

Thanks and I look forward to the feedback.
Zerchers....I never get tired of spreading the good word.

All of the above I've seen done. Each seems to have a legit purpose. taking them from the floor is a great flexibilty test, picking them off the floor and taking them from a dead stop at the knee is good too but time consuming and can make it difficult to do reps, to set up your elbows, and to set your back etc. most people that hate zerchers hate them becuase of the discomfort of set up and they lose tightness in the upper back...this makes it feel like your collarbones are being dislocated...which is not fun.

since we use them as an assistence movement for the squat and DL, the method is sort of a hybrid of taking it from the rack (top down) vs. taking it from your knees (bottom up) we usually do these for 5's even 8's occasionally going up for a big triple or a single but mostly it's 5's.

I do it like this: take the bar from the rack at sternum height. walk it out like you would a regular squat but take a slightly wider stance. rack the bar in the crook of your elbows as comfotabley as you can. clasp your hands and pull them towards your neck/chest. squat erect, (think sumo/ front squat)..until the bar stops dead on your legs. at this point your elbows will be between your legs and the bar will settles just above your knee to mid thigh. take the bar from a dead stop as you would a box squat, no lean or tilt, just stright up.....think of standing up like you would with front squat by controlling the inclination of your torso forward, try to maintain an erect spine and, as with all things, keep a tight upper back, big chest....this will approach impossible at certain weights but that's OK....

I use a belt on a lot of top sets of deads, front squats and even rdl's but never ever on zerchers. this is the key i think to getting a lot out of them, zerchers done this way transfer to loading mvements, deadlift movements and squatting movements. if you have some old knee sleeves, or elbow sleeves, this can mitigate the discomfort on your arms, truthfully, once you get over about 185-225 it doesn't hurt any worse.
Practical Strength
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