Zercher Squat – How to Rep

Steve Freides

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Senior Certified Instructor
Would love comments as to how to rep Zerchers. I’m starting with the bar on the floor. I’ve done 3 x 135 lbs both yesterday and today as below:

I deadlift the bar to mid-thigh then lower it onto my thighs near my knees.

Rep #1 has a “bottoms-up” character, since there’s a bit of slack in the posterior chain when you release the DL grip and move to the ZSQ start position.

Rather than lower to just touching and coming up again, I’ve been letting the tension out while resting the bar on my thighs, then doing my next rep in the same “bottoms up” style as the first – and so on. After the third rep, regrip for DL and lower to the floor.

Good approach? I will compete at this lift in the USAWA and, much like I prepare competition deadlifts by doing a “set of singles”, it feels like this is the same approach for the Zercher.

Comments appreciated, and thanks in advance.

-S-
 

Mattsirpeace

More than 500 posts
Steve,

It's cool you compete at odd lifts.

I can't comment on the original Zercher lift.  The way my skeleton lines up I only have one exercise in the Zercher family.  It's a sort of roundback full squat that looks like Pavel demonstrating the wrong way to do goblet squats.  It's therapeutic and reminds me of furniture moving.  Typically I do five back-to-back singles with 135 on the floor.

Let us know how it goes!
 

ericreichelt81

Triple-Digit Post Count
That's the only way to do them man. In that fashion the build many attributes at once. You could pause as you brush the thigh and keep the tension loaded, that's fun. In the dead start manner your abs will learn to get tight quick, and if you have space try zercher walks. Brutal.
 

Grant

Double-Digit Post Count
Steve – Could you comment more on the “set of singles”? Do you stand up entirely and reset from the top, or do you simply stay on the bar and reset with purpose and a healthy pause? I have traditionally stayed on the bar w/ DLs but find I struggle to maintain the healthy belly breath and accompanying tightness – I am considering just doing each as a true single and not worrying about the semantics of “set” and “single”.



Apologies if this is getting off of the Zercher topic specifically. Thanks.
 

Pavel

Founder and Chairman
Master Certified Instructor
Steve, this is good.  You build starting strength for the DL that way.
 

Steve Freides

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Senior Certified Instructor
Grant, I am not putting the bar down and standing up between each rep, but that is the concept for a deadlift "set of singles."  In the case of the Zercher Squat, the deadlift portion is trivial while the squat is challenging, so that's why I've chosen to do it the way I'm doing it.  I think it strikes a good spot between constant tension through a set of 3 reps (what would be the case if I just touched-and-went to the thighs), and completely putting the bar down and resetting the entire thing. I am getting the benefit of practicing the most difficult part of the ZSQ, the start, 3 times without having to bother getting the bar into position each time.

The concept of "a set of singles" is one I learned from Power To The People!  I don't know if those are Pavel's exact words but that's the idea.  Link to the book:  http://kbnj.com/ptp.htm

There are, btw, plenty of good reasons to deadlift touch-and-go instead of a set of singles and, indeed, there are some DL programs, including some mentioned relatively recently here on our forum, that have you do it both ways within a single week's training.  When my Zerchers get heavy enough, I may switch to a true set of singles or mix the two modalities.

Hope that helps, and no problems with the slight change of topic - it's all good.

-S-
 

Steve Freides

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Senior Certified Instructor
Pavel, thank you - I didn't see your message before I posted mine directly above.

That's exactly how the lift struck me, too.  I felt like I was starting at the the sticking point of my barbell front squat.

-S-
 

Toby

Triple-Digit Post Count
I started doing Zercher Squat again.

I took the similar "bottom up" approach.

I unrack it off the pin, waist level, lower to my thighs and rest for a very brief moment before I start the rep. And lower it to my thighs and rest before the 2nd rep...etc

It feels very different and I like it!
 

Resurrected

Double-Digit Post Count
I occasionally perform Zerchers.  I usually perform them off pins in the rack.

Obviously this is such a great movement.  Anyone care to comment on the real benefit or lack thereof from performing them the traditional way of deadlifting->squatting down->cradle->squat?

Are there any measurement standards in terms of what a good lift is?  1, 1.5. 2x bodyweight?

 

Thanks!
 

Steve Freides

Forum Administrator
Staff member
Senior Certified Instructor
Anyone care to comment on the real benefit or lack thereof from performing them the traditional way of deadlifting->squatting down->cradle->squat?
To date, I have found two benefits: I can use the bar that's already on the floor without having to play with the rack; it's "authentic" in that this is how it's done for the record books in the All-Round Weightlifting Association.

Unfortunately, the weight is too light to constitute real deadlift practice. I suppose on could rep the entire thing - start and end each rep with the bar on the floor - and then at least be getting in a few partial DL reps that way.
Are there any measurement standards in terms of what a good lift is? 1, 1.5. 2x bodyweight?
See http://www.strongfirst.com/the-best-squat - Pavel mentions that 50% of your 1RM in the regular DL feels like a max effort for your abs.  I'd say that's a good starting point.

For me, someone who's stronger in the abs than the legs, 50% of my DL 1RM isn't all that difficult so I am going to keep going heavier.

-S-
 

Resurrected

Double-Digit Post Count
Steve-

 

Thanks!  I always have struggled moving my dead up (390 best at 191 lb).  However, I can zercher 255 for a very deep set of 5 without crushing myself.
 

Steve Freides

Forum Administrator
Staff member
Senior Certified Instructor
Resurrected, then for you, the ZSQ start from the floor and/or the dead stop after each rep might help your DL start, if you start is your weak point.  The start is my weakness and I feel the ZSQs done this way may help push my DL up.

-S-
 
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