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Zercher Squats For Building Leg Muscles




Among dozens of exercises for building quadriceps muscle, Zercher squats are appreciated as being one of the most effective. Aside from working this group of muscle, Zercher squats help to develop body strength, endurance, and coordination. In this article, you will find all about this type of exercise: the proper technique of execution, its benefits, recommended number of sets and reps and some other precious advice about it.

This exercise gets its name from the name of a Canadian powerlifter and strongman Ed Zercher. It is said that back in ‘30 Ed Zercher didn’t recognize the use of squats racks which were so popular in that times. Or maybe he didn’t have enough money to buy them, nobody knows it for clear. Since he had his own gym he decided to come up with a new type of squats exercise. And he did it! He created a variation of traditional squats which proved to be even more effective than the original one.

As we said, primarily through this exercise are worked quads. But, along with this group of muscle, are targeted hamstrings, glutes and calves. After Zercher squats became known, there have been done a research on it.  Experts in sports medicine have revealed an unexpected advantages Zercher squats have over classic squat.

As you know, traditional squats put more load on the lower back than any exercise. In fact, if the back is weak, it limits the weight you can do squats with, and thus leg get less load. In the regard of Zercher squats, they conversely unload the back and put the entire load on the leg muscles. Thus, this exercise better target training legs than traditional squats.

Must Read: 9 Squats Variations For Bigger Muscles

How To Do Zercher Squats Properly?

How to do Zercher Squats Properly?

Zercher squats were initially done without the support of squats rack. But, for your safety make use of this tool if you have it at hand.  Moreover, ask someone to assist you for the first time. All these measures are required since Zercher exercise are difficult to do, and even they have great effects a minor error may cause you serious injuries.

In addition, Zercher squats can be done only by very well prepared bodybuilders. This is especially important if you choose to train with big weights. You need to have enough body strength and maintain well equilibrium to do it.
That’s why beginners have to stay away from Zercher squats.

As we said, if you have at hand a squat rack, use it. Come to the squat rack and choose the most appropriate height of the bar to work with. For this, you have to know that the bar should be situated at the waist level. Next, put on the bar the load you will train with.

Read More: The Definitive Guide to the “Push Pull Legs” Routine

Further, come close to the rack position the bar in the crook of your arms. Or, to be more clear, in the angle that forms when you bend your arms. After this make sure that your fingers face the ceiling, while elbows are at the shoulder width apart.

After taking the bar take the starting position. To do this, stand back a few feet from the rack, place your feet shoulder-width apart, toes can be slightly outward. Keep your back straight, slightly bending in the lower back. The head has to be raised and oriented straight ahead. Start the Zercher squat inhaling deeply.

Do it slowly, while averting the pelvis back. All this time do not forget to keep your back straight. Downward movement continues as long as the angle between the thighs and calves will not reach the angle slightly less than 90 degrees. If done correctly, the knees visually complement direct socks feet and are perpendicular to the torso. After reaching the bottom position slowly left the bar while exhaling. Come back to the original position, and do the required number of reps.

MUST READ: Benefits of Breathing Squats on Muscle Growth

There is one very unpleasant aspect that accompanies Zercher squats. Lifting the bar inside of your elbows can be really hard sometimes. And it can cause unaesthetic and painful bruises. To avoid it, make use of something of fat gripz. If they are hard to find, then use at least long sleeve clothes, or use a towel wrap.

In order to diversify this exercise, you can include some variations. For example, you can perform this exercise with the bars under your heels, you can do it only on the part of the amplitude with a very significant weight.

How Many Sets and Reps Zercher Squats To Do?

First of all, Zercher squats have to be a part of leg training workout, making it the first exercises in your training. Regarding the proper number of sets and reps, you have to begin with weights that allow you to do 10-12 reps. Over time, increase the weights you work with as to be able to perform only 3-5 reps for each set

If you intend to work with large loads than you will need the special technique. Barbell with big load has to be situated much lower in the power rack. So, in the lowest position, you need all the time to put the barbell in the rack. Such a technique will make your leg grow in the quickest tempo.

MUST READ: The Definitive Guide to the “Push Pull Legs” Routine

It should be noted that this exercise will require some physical preparation, as it is actually one of the exercises for powerlifters weightlifters. If necessary, do not hesitate to ask teammates for help, in any case, do not forget to watch your back straight. When you master this exercise, you will get a great tool for the qualitative development of the strength, endurance, and coordination.

There are other exercises that use the same method of keeping the bar. It is about Zercher lunges, Zercher good mornings, Zercher situps, Zercher deadlifts. They are considered to be very effective too, but as in case of Zercher squats are designed for advanced bodybuilders.

In few sentences, Zercher squats are exercises for developing quadriceps muscle but are also target hamstrings, glutes and calves group of muscles. It is similar to traditional squats, with the main difference that barbell is kept inside of your elbows. If in case of regular squats, back muscle get much load and in result can be injured, in case of Zercher squats the load falls on leg muscle.

Zercher squats are designed for intermediate or advanced bodybuilders and are advised to them using power racks. This additional measure is meant to keep you safe, especially if you choose to train with big loads. In case of moderate or low weights, you can do Zercher squats with no power racks.

If you choose to do Zercher squats, begin with the big number of reps with low weights, and gradually increase the weight until you will be able to do only 3-5 reps for each set. Wrap the barbell to avoid bruises and pain caused by it. Perfect for this purpose are fat gripz. Zercher squats are a great alternative to leg exercises and can be successfully used to prevent muscle stagnation.

Must Read: How to Do Hack Squats?

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