Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Zercher Squats

One of the main reasons why I developed a creaky knee is because I used to back squat almost exclusively, which puts a lot more stress on the knees. Plus, when I squat heavy my form tends to deteriorate and that also brings undue stress to the knees.

Front squats actually solve the problem of bad form as it forces to keep my body upright.  I hate front squats though.  The main reason being I can't quite get the hang of racking the barbell so near to my throat.  I always feel like I'm choking.

Recently I've gravitated more towards the goblet squat and the lumberjack squat which are cousins to the front squat.

Then I re-discovered the Zercher squat.  I've known about the Zercher squat for quite some time but for some reason I never bothered to try it myself.  Maybe it's because it looks pretty alien.  You don't rest you barbell on your traps, nor do you risk choking yourself with the barbell like how the front squat position makes me feel.

With the Zercher squat, you rest the barbell on the crook of your elbows.  Don't get me wrong, it's gonna get uncomfortable once you're able to lift heavy.  That's why I tend to cushion the barbell with something soft just to try to reduce the discomfort.

But that's the only minus point of the Zercher.  This variation will be a mainstay in my training programmes because:

  1. It forces me to stay upright, therefore my form is automatically correct
  2. No spinal loading
  3. I can load more weights than I can compared to goblet squats and lumberjack squats
  4. You can still hit the Zercher squat even if you don't have a squat rack
For a demo of how the Zercher squat is done, check out the vid below.

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