Done A Zercher Lift

Inspired by last week’s continental clean and press, I decided to find some other odd barbell lifts.  One of the ones I found is called a Zercher lift, named after its creator, Ed Zercher, an old time strongman from St. Louis.  He could deadlift 536 lbs. at a weight of 155. 

This is how the
United States All-Around Weightlifting Association describes the Zercher lift in their rule book:

The bar starts on the platform and at the lifter’s discretion the bar is deadlifted to a position where it may be supported on the knees or thighs. Feet placement is optional, but the feet must be in line with the torso. The lifter will then bend down, with the bar resting on the legs, to a position in which the lifter is able to secure the bar in the crooks of the elbows. The lifter will then stand erect with the arms bent and the bar fixed at the articulation of the upper and lower arms. The lifter’s arms may be inside or outside of the legs. The hands may be locked together. Once the bar is motionless, the legs straight, the body erect with shoulders upright, an official will give a command to lower the bar. The bar must be returned to the platform under control for the lift to be complete. It is acceptable to drop the bar once it is below the level of the knees provided that the hands follow the bar to the platform.

This lift is beneficial because it challenges muscle groups that you don’t necessarily engage aggressively a lot.

I started with a 115 lb. barbell.  I set up for a deadlift.
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I put it in a position to rest it on my knees.
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With the weight resting on my thighs, and scooped my arms underneath the bar.  The surprising part here was how deep I was required to squat in order to get into the right position.  That’s where I realized the added stimulus of this particular lift.
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With the bar positioned in the crooks of my elbows, I straightened up my chest and prepared to get up.
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I stood up with the weight.
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I squatted with the weight a few times before I lowered it back to the ground.
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I repeated this with a 135 lb. barbell.
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I even got the opportunity to show my buddy Mat how to do the Zercher lift.
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I really enjoyed this lift and can see how it can benefit different parts of the body.  I may use this lift instead of front squats on a heavy lift day every once in awhile.  An added benefit is that it’s one way you can perform a heavy squat without a squat rack.  Awesome!

Enjoy the video:

Related items:
Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe & Lon Kilgore
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