Zercher Squat: Key Coaching Points

The Zercher Squat is an effective and challenging exercise where you hold a barbell in the crease of your elbows and perform squats. Here are the key benefits and coaching points for athletes:


  1. Tension: This exercise teaches you to generate full-body tension, crucial for bracing and squeezing during various activities.
  2. Toughness/Grit: The Zercher Squat can be uncomfortable, requiring mental fortitude. Padding can help initially, but the focus and determination developed are invaluable.
  3. Safety: It’s difficult to overload this exercise to a dangerous level, and if needed, you can easily bail by dumping the bar forward, eliminating the need for spotters.
  4. Mobility: The Zercher Squat requires minimal mobility, making it suitable for most athletes.

How to Perform a Zercher Squat:

  1. Set Up: Position the rack just below your elbow height.
  2. Bar Placement: Place the bar in the crease of your elbows.
  3. Elbow Position: Keep your elbows tight to your sides.
  4. Hand Position: Squeeze your hands together or face your palms up.
  5. Lift Off: Get your hips under the bar, take a deep breath, and lift the bar from the rack.
  6. Positioning: Take a few steps back, settle the bar, and take another breath if needed.
  7. Squat: Lower yourself until your elbows touch your thighs or fall between them.
  8. Stand Up: Rise back up, repeat the movement, and build athletic strength.

Note: If you don’t have a rack, you can start from the floor by performing a Zercher deadlift or a conventional deadlift, then rest the bar on your knees, scoop it into your elbow crease, and proceed with the squat or even carry the bar.

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