If you ever watched someone doing the Zercher deadlift at the gym, you probably thought to yourself they are most likely unbeatable beasts and deserve mad respect. This workout not only looks complex, but it also looks plain uncomfortable! It’s natural to be daunted by a workout that looks super difficult, but this is one exercise that you should be adding to your routine- especially if you want those massive gains. And is it really doing anything special? Read on to find out exactly why you should give this beast of a workout a shot.
What is the Zercher Deadlift?
Zercher Deadlift is a way of holding the barbell in the crook of your elbows, which was inspired by Ed Zercher. He was a strongman in the 1930s. At first glance, the Zercher deadlift may seem unconventional and to be honest, something of an overkill. It sounds pretty straightforward in theory, but the Zercher hold takes immense strength. It is meant for only the most serious of strength athletes. For anyone who knows what a Zercher deadlift is knows that it is performed in cycle motions. Zercher squats are also very common. The barbell is grasped similarly in that workout. Many people mix up the two workouts but there is a very distinct difference between them. This particular load placement is no easy feat and will quickly bring to attention any shortcomings in postural strength and balance.
This powerhouse of a workout will strengthen your abs, refine your front squat, build your traps, improve quad and glute activation and also work your upper back and biceps.
How to Do the Zercher Dedlift?
A Zercher deadlift is not just about squatting down with the barbell held in the crook of your elbows and rising back up— that is definitely a squat. The deadlift version is always lifted from the floor. Now, that is a hard move to imagine. How many people can hold a barbell from the crook in their elbows while maintaining a secure posture? Well this is where the fun begins!
- Start from a conventional deadlift pose. When approaching the bar, your feet should be slightly wider than your hips. Squat down as low as you can. Relax your upper back and let it round.
- Slip your elbows under the center of the barbell between your legs and rest the barbell on your quads.
- It should be easy to get your arms under the barbell when in the squatting position and press the barbell inside the hook of your elbows.
- Before beginning to lift, take a deep breath. Don’t let your back shift while under tension.
- Keep your core contracted and deadlift the barbell fully to the upright position.
- Stand all the way up from the squatted position, then lower yourself to a squat again and go through the steps in reverse. Return your bar back to the ground in the exact reverse order.
That is one Zercher deadlift cycle. Perform 3-4 sets of 3-6 reps/cycles, especially if you are a beginner.
Benefits of Zercher Deadlift
There are many reasons why people don’t do this workout. It’s brutally hard. And how do you even perform it? You probably never saw anyone perform it in real life. But here are some reasons why you should be doing the Zercher deadlift.
Besides targeting various muscles, the Zercher deadlift improves posture greatly. Because of this increased strength and postural awareness achieved through Zercher lifts, you can also gain more power and control in other strength lifts which includes both the front and back squats, along with classic deadlifts.
Improving Squat Motions
The Zercher deadlift naturally compels your body into the most suitable posture for squats. Contrary to popular belief, this is actually a superb teaching tool for beginners or those recovering from injury, or for anyone who just wants to ensure they nail their posture every single time!
Quad and Glute Engagement
What is the point of being strong if you don’t look the part? Besides the upper body, Zercher deadlifts also increases quadriceps and glute engagement, making it a great choice for glute focused training.
Harder Core Engagement
Your core works harder while performing Zercher deadlifts than their conventional counterparts. So if your core is not as engaged in regular deadlifts or squats, this variation of the deadlift will be a challenging workout for you that will force your core to contract harder.
Zercher Deadlift Muscles Worked
If you are looking to burn a lot of calories while engaging most of your body, the Zercher deadlift is the way to go. The position of the barbell forces you to engage your muscles at all times and performing this workout well means you will be burning a crazy amount of calories.
As the bar is actively held in the nook of your arms instead of sitting on your shoulders, your biceps and upper back muscles work are more effectively engaged. This workout needs proper posture- and all the warriors who will assist in achieve it will be called to the rescue, including trapezius, rear delta muscles and the rhomboids.
This workout requires a vigorous isometric action from the biceps to ensure the barbel is held in place. So, even if this workout is not specifically for biceps-building, by using higher reps of this workout you will be gaining bigger and stronger guns!
Wrapping it up
Always be cautious when approaching the Zercher deadlifts. It’s easy to get bored of the conventional deadlift and look for new ways to challenge yourself. Sometimes, one only needs to switch up the load position to do wonder to build new muscles and just jazz up your gym routine. The Zercher deadlift is the perfect addition to amp up your workouts and keep your training exciting, Happy lifting!