Build Lower-Body and Core Strength With This Zercher Squat Workout

STACK Expert Steve Green enumerates the unique benefits of the Zercher Squat and provides a workout to go with it.

If you've never heard of or performed a Zercher Squat, you aren't alone, but this squat variation is popular with smart lifters across the world.

Incorporating the Zercher Squat into your workout routines is a great way to challenge yourself while switching up a normal lifting session. Use it in conjunction with other squat variations and be ready to feel stronger.

Why Zercher?

Zercher Squat

There are many Squat variations, so why choose a Zercher Squat? For starters, the Zercher is easier on your spine than a traditional Back Squat. By shifting the weight from your back to your arms, you greatly reduce the compression and stress on your spine. Also, with the weight off your back, you are better able to maintain an upright posture, making it easier to achieve greater depth in your Squats.

The Zercher variation targets different muscle groups more efficiently than the Front or Back Squat. Since the weight is shifted to the front of your body, your glutes, hamstrings and abs are engaged in a different manner than with traditional variations.

The Workout

If you have never done this lift before, or are out of practice, give yourself some warm-up sets with an empty bar and light weight just to get the movement pattern down properly. You can follow this sample workout.

  • Warm-Up: Warm up by foam rolling your hips and IT bands. You want to do everything you can to promote mobility in your hips in order to get full range of motion.
  • Zercher Squat: When performing this squat, give yourself a few warm-up sets with no weight or light weight on the bar. After that, perform 3 sets of 5 reps with a weight you are comfortable with.
  • Hamstring Curl: The Zercher variation targets your hamstrings, so really get after it with Hamstring Curls. After your Squats, feel free to go heavy on the Curls for five sets of ten reps.
  • Single-Leg Glute Bridge: Your glutes should be burning from the Squats, so finish them off with Single-Leg Glute Bridges. All you'll need for this one is your body weight. Perform three sets of 10 reps.
  • Forearm Curls: With a heavy bar resting on your arms, now is the time to build them up, especially your forearms, which many people neglect. Go heavy on this, but try to rep out three sets of 20.
  • Cool Down: Take ten minutes to do some light cardio.


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: STRENGTH TRAINING | SQUAT | LOWER BODY | CORE | WORKOUTS | LIFTS | SPINE