Exercise Profile
  • Target Muscle Group
  • Exercise TypeStrength
  • Equipment RequiredBarbell
  • MechanicsCompound
  • Force TypePush (Bilateral)
  • Experience LevelAdvanced
  • Secondary Muscles
    Abs, Adductors, Biceps, Calves, Forearms, Glutes, Hamstrings, Lower Back
Target Muscle Group


Quads Muscle Anatomy Diagram

Zerchers Squat Overview

The Zercher squat is a squat variation and an exercise used to target the muscles of the quad.

The Zercher squat’s set up is quite unique, as you wedge the barbell in your elbow creases and hold the weight up by bracing your core and arms.

The Zercher squat can help those who struggle to maintain an upright torso during the back squat and also promote honest weight selection due to its difficult set up.

By mastering the Zercher squat, one can see huge increases in biceps, forearm, and leg size, as well as increases in total squat and deadlift numbers.

Zerchers Squat Instructions

  1. Set up a bar at roughly navel height.
  2. Position the bar in the crook of the elbow between the bicep and forearm.
  3. Inhale, stand up tall, and take 2 or 3 steps backward away from the J hooks.
  4. Descend by flexing at the knees and hips simultaneously.
  5. Once your thighs reach parallel with the floor, begin to reverse the movement.
  6. Keep your abs braced and drive your feet through the floor.
  7. Finish the lift by exhaling as you fully extend the hips and knees.
  8. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Zerchers Squat Tips

  1. Given that Zercher squats utilize an anterior load, you will have to fight the urge to excessively round the thoracic spine.
  2. If you find issues with bicep tendon discomfort during the lift, utilize a t-shirt or towel wrapped around the bar.
  3. The elbows should be about shoulder width apart and your knuckles facing the ceiling.
  4. Your elbows will likely contact the thighs at the bottom of the lift, this is completely normal.
  5. Toe angle is highly individual - experiment to see what feels best for you.
  6. Some forward translation of the knees over the toes is alright provided that the knees don’t deviate excessively inward or outward. Those with longer femurs will have to allow their knees to come farther forward if they want to remain upright.
  7. Neck position is highly individual as well - some prefer a neutral neck position (i.e. keeping the chin tucked throughout the lift) while others do well with looking straight ahead. Experiment with each and see which one works best for your anatomy.
  8. Don’t push the knees out excessively but ensure they track roughly over or slightly outside the 2nd toe.
1 Comment
Posted on: Thu, 02/06/2014 - 20:55

Very good routine, and Advice! I would add a note to emphasize pushing with the heels, because pushing with the toes or balls of the feet would tend to push you backward, make you lose balance and be in trouble or luckily get back on you feet! Push through the heels! We're not "used" to that ! It takes practice, so Yeah!, Practice with lighter weights, get the form "down" and go from there! Especially at the gym---falling back into a mirror, with weights? :"deadly", possibly, and messy, too! all that bloody glass for the janitor. Yik! Have fun, y'all ! Build up those Legs, and Abs, and Backs, and the rest will come along just to keep up! ha,ha!