Zercher Squat question

rambodoc@gmail.com

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Hi. I am new to this, and find it challenging, especially as I am going heavy, as my previous Front Squats were with KBs and double 24's and 28's.

I am doing Z-squats 60-90 kgs (BW-80 kgs) for a few sets of doubles.

I find that I keep the tension all the way down till the bar is around an inch above my thighs. I then brings the elbows down and get the bar to rest on the thighs before moving up. I find that this last inch costs me tension, and makes me weaker.

So do I stop a wee bit above rock bottom and keep the tension, allowing me to take more loads, or is the bar-on-thighs standard bottom position that must be held??
 

Journeyman

More than 500 posts
No 'must' about it, unless you're doing zercher squats for one of those all-around weightlifting competitions; so it's up to you.

I will say that doing zerchers dead-start off the thighs are an awesome awesome lift, though. Dan John talks about lifts that 'make your body one piece' and I think that that is one of them.
 

Journeyman

More than 500 posts
No problem. Fwiw I do think you should do both if you really want the best of both worlds on the zercher. I only focused on them for a short time a little over a year ago, and would work up to heavy singles from both above and below parallel, starting off pins in the power rack.
 

rambodoc@gmail.com

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5V_P0Ez9wcM&list=UU8SRM7WPQC9cNEWfSrVROrw&index=1

Pavel and others: here is a warm-up set today: 150 lbs for five.

Wasn't feeling great today, but I would be keen to hear critique.

Nikki: can't one insert the video here so that people stay at this site?
 

Journeyman

More than 500 posts
You'd be able to move more weight if you rested the weight more on mid-thigh, not so close to the knee... and sat more back than down; you're basically going into an atg squat which will rob you of power and make you use less weight (you can still do it if you want to, of course).

Most would put the weight on their legs where their quads are more parallel to the floor... like so: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U2OKweR-N-g
 

primalpt

First Timer
IMO...I think that if u stopped an inch or two higher in the z- squat you would be able to produce more power. Its hard to tell with your shirt on in the video but it seems to me that your lumbar spine might become slightly kyphotic in the last inch of the squat. Maybe work on a little more on mobility in your lumbar before proceeding to drop that low...for performance and safety sake. I will say that you looked very stable in both you ascent and your descent of the squat!
 

rambodoc@gmail.com

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Thanks for your comments, Journeyman and primalpt (do I know you from FB?).

That was exactly my question: do I go that extra inch down? To get to that depth (like in the Goblet Squat), I bring the bar closer to the knee AND lose tension. My idea about the lift (from Deadlift Dynamite? can't recall) was that the bar rests on the thighs at the depth. In order to get to this, I am sinking down more. If I stop short, I doubt there would be much difference compared to the Front Squat. Would it??

 
 

Forthright

Double-Digit Post Count
Hey rambodoc

I’m trying to learn this exercise too. I just did it for the first time last Monday. I noticed what you’re talking about too. Your obviously going to be able to lift more weight if you stop a little high. You’ll be able to bounce off of the tension in your hips that way. However, I like to do my reps the way your doing them in that first video. Your letting that stretch reflex fade out so that your quads have to work that much harder to get the weight moving back up. Then your hips have to work hard at the top if you bend over. I figure that the quads need to get their work in while your still fully upright. Who knows though….
 

rambodoc@gmail.com

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I am not a squat master by a mile and a half, but my empiric concept is that those with more hip mobility will squat down with straight backs, while those without will keep shins vertical but incline their backs. Their depth will obviously be less.
 

Pavel

Founder and Chairman
Master Certified Instructor
Ram, first, unrack the bar from a higher pin and wedge yourself under to lift off; they way you did it was unsafe.

You first sat back but then dropped your hips. Try sitting back at 7 o'clock without bringing the pelvis forward in the bottom. Keep a stretch in the hams.
 

Toby

Triple-Digit Post Count
I have been doing ZSQ from the safety pins inside the cage.  The bar rest on the safety pins instead of my thighs.  I feel like I've been "cheating" as I didn't touch the bar on my thighs.

So I put the safety bar to the bottom and let the bar pause on my thighs each rep.
I could do less reps but I guess I can build it up from here.

Also, I started my set from unracking the bar at my stomach level instead of the bottom.

To me, it is harder to stay tight if I start the lift from the top position (unrack the bar from the hooks).. than do it from the bottom.  Is it normal?

 
 

Steve B.

Triple-Digit Post Count
I like off the pins also.You can establish your position and get total tension before lifting similar to a deadlift start.I set each one down release tension,then get tight again for the next rep.I feel these are safer for beginners than taking the bar off the hooks and squatting and will help you get familiar with the zercher.I also use this style as a lift to help the deadlift. Start at a lower height on the pins when you feel good at the level you've been using.

When your good with these go back to the top style off the hooks zercher squat for a change.These are two of the same but different lifts and will feel slightly different.
 

Toby

Triple-Digit Post Count
Thank you for your reply!

I tried to set the pin much lower after my set last night.  I couldn't even do a rep. It was after 5 sets of them though. Will try again on my light day.
 
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