02 April 2011

How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love the Zercher, #2

As a forewarning, I've only been doing Zerchers for a couple of months, so I hardly consider myself a pro at them. I am, however, completely sold on them as an exercise, and have made them a mainstay of my workouts since perhaps the middle of January.  Thus, for anyone who feels it necessary to decry my weight choices in the following vid, suck it- they're coming along.
Triple H has my back.

Zerchers, insofar as I understand it, are more of a class of exercises than one specific lift.  The "official" Zercher lift, however, is a very specific exercise outlined by the USAWA in their rule book.  Ed Zercher, the progenitor of this badass exercise, was one of the earliest competitors in the USAWA, where he competed well into his 80s... a hard motherfucker indeed.  According to the USAWA and Ed Zercher, this lift is correctly done this way:
"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."(USAWA Rule Book, p. 54)
Bill Clark, founder of the USAWA, doing a full Zercher with 405.

I gave that lift a shot in the video at the end of this post, and it was actually a hell of a lot of fun.  I intended to modify the lift, for the purpose of emulating (as best one can with a barbell) a stone lift, by using the deadlift form of Bob Peoples, the first 181lber to deadlift 700+.  Bob had perhaps the most unique deadlifting style ever, for which "round-backed" is a description that undersells the true state of affairs about as much as calling Gabourey Sidibe a horrible, disgusting landbeast only marginally smaller than a rhinoceros.  In other words, Bob Peoples specifically and pointedly utilized form so offensive to the denizens of Bodyspace that were they to witness it they'd pass out from a sudden rise in blood pressure resulting from trying to scream "fake plates", "he'll die a cripple", "STEROIDS!", and a mountain of other poorly written defenses for their pathetic PRs while simultaneously masturbating furiously.  For those of you who don't know, Peoples lifted with empty lungs and with a round back- he'd exhale fully, round his back and raise his hips, look down, and then pull.(Dezdo Ban)
Though I kept this form in mind, the beginning of my Zercher lift really amounted to more of a contemptuous snatching of the weight from the ground.  Once I hit 365, this became less contemptuous, but I did the full lift only after an hour and a half of rack work, so my arms were pretty worn out.  That was actually the first time I'd tried it, but it's definitely well worth the price of admission.

Other Zercher lifts:
Zercher Squats:  These are typically done out of the rack with the bar at a bit over waist height.  You unrack it, drop like a fucking stone into a full squat (until your elbows hit your legs), and then rerack.  For those form Nazis out there, there's no "perfect" depth on these, because this is a partial version of the full lift.  Thus, anyone who has shit to say about your depth can suck it.  Refer them to the pic above.
Bottom Position Zercher Squats: Frankly, these are more like deadlifts than squats.  Set the pins so you're starting at the bottom of the lift and stand up with the weight.  These are my favorite way to do the lift.
Partial Zercher Squats:  Another favorite, these will whoop your ass like you are Rampage Jackson and the lift is Pride-era Wanderlei Silva.  You'll leave the rack bloodied and broken, but unbowed.  I'll be sorer than Annabelle Chong after setting a world record for days after doing these, but I fucking love the shit out of them.
Zercher Deadlifts:  I've seen a variety of knuckleads do these online, but have no interest in trying them.  They're a ridiculous version of the full zercher lift and require you to have the flexibility of a young Jean Claude Van Damme.  It's not 1990, and I've no interest in wearing pegged acid wash jeans with the waist pulled up to the bottom of my ribcage.

If you look around online, you'll see that there are a hell of a lot more Zercher lifts out there.  People have concocted shit like the Zercher yoke walk (which is a nice analog to Conan's Wheel), Zercher farmer's walks, Zercher good mornings, and a variety of other crazy shit.  No matter which of them you do, you'll definitely be getting a full body workout, and your biceps and upper back in particular will get the shit kicked out of them.  As you can see in the vids
Is it stone lifting?  Nope.  It is, however, one of the manlier lifts you can do, a damn good stunt double for the stone lift, and a hell of a good way to waste a Saturday afternoon in the gym... and yet another pair of cargo shorts.

Todd, Terry.  Bob Peoples and the Roundback.  THE TIGHT TAN SLACKS OF DEZSO BAN.   http://ditillo2.blogspot.com/2008/03/bob-peoples-terry-todd.html

USAWA Rule Book.  http://www.usawa.com/rule-book/


  1. Bud Jeffries put up a 1000 pound Zercher lockout. As far as the Zercher movement from the floor, I tried it, got up to 265, but I think I'll just drop it to work the regular Zercher lift really fucking often.

    And I like the forearm and knee bruises, so I just do it with no padding.

    World record is 500 pounds or so, with the USAWA.

  2. lol. Thanks Jamie. yet another good read, and a greaaat video. I almost squealed in anticipation at 0:39.. lol you're a beast man. nohomo...

  3. Holy Nordic Gods!

    Just watched youtube of Benedikt hitting 1015, effortless. wow.

    tons of great lifts at the MHP event wish i was there.

  4. on a side note, i wonder how much Annabel Chong could sumoDL. I'm sure there is some sort of carry-over...

  5. I just realized I misspelled position in the vid, but have no interest in redoing the damn thing. As such, you will have to just accept my apologies.

  6. I think I'll boycott you forever and mail you a bag of dog shit instead.

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. @ Dray, i was wondering, "flyingrock" isn't that something from the legend of Bodhi Dharma? i know every mountain in Eastern Asia supposedly has a flying rock of sorts tied in with its history, but, just out of curiousity..

  9. I don't know, I'd have to ask him. I know he was highly interested in Buddhism for some time.

  10. 405 Zercher Lift @ ~165 BW:


  11. squat: because somewhere out there some girl warming up with your max

    this girl is 9, 88lbs: squats 187, deads 193, bench 66. total 446lbs!!!


  12. haha I just noticed that guy in the background either videotaping Jamie or realizing what a pussy he is because he couldn't stop looking.

  13. 7 days without CnP makes one weak. I'm on day 5. please post something for your fanboy, sir

  14. If you are looking to BUY bitcoins online, PAXFUL is the #1 source for bitcoins as it allows buying bitcoins by 100's of different payment methods, such as MoneyGram, Western Union, PayPal, Visa, MasterCard, American Express and they even allow converting your gift cards for bitcoins.

  15. Did you think about picking the ultimate Bitcoin exchange company - YoBit.

  16. YoBit lets you to claim FREE COINS from over 100 distinct crypto-currencies, you complete a captcha one time and claim as much as coins you can from the available offers.

    After you make about 20-30 claims, you complete the captcha and keep claiming.

    You can click on CLAIM as many times as 30 times per one captcha.

    The coins will stored in your account, and you can convert them to Bitcoins or USD.

  17. Have you ever tried automating your free bitcoin collections with a BTC FAUCET ROTATOR?