Barbell Zercher Squat

Barbell Zercher Squat

The Barbell Zercher Squat is a challenging and effective lower body exercise that targets the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and core muscles. This exercise is named after the way the barbell is held, which is in the crook of your elbows, supported by your forearms. It requires proper form and technique to perform safely and maximize its benefits. The Zercher Squat is a compound movement that involves bending at the hips and knees, lowering your body down into a squat position, and then pushing up through your heels to return to the starting position. By placing the weight in front of your body, it places more emphasis on the muscles of your lower body, especially your quads, while also engaging your core and upper body to stabilize the weight. The benefits of incorporating the Barbell Zercher Squat into your workout routine are numerous. Not only does it strengthen and tone your lower body muscles, but it also improves your overall functional strength, balance, and stability. Additionally, the Zercher Squat can help improve your squatting form and increase your squatting strength, making it a great exercise for powerlifters and athletes alike. To perform this exercise safely and effectively, it is important to maintain a neutral spine, engage your core muscles, and keep your knees in line with your toes throughout the movement. It is recommended to start with a lighter weight until you have mastered the proper technique. As with any exercise, always warm up before attempting the Barbell Zercher Squat, and listen to your body, adjusting the weight or intensity as needed. Remember to consult with a fitness professional or instructor if you are unsure about your form or if you have any pre-existing injuries or conditions that may impact your ability to perform this exercise safely.


  • Start by setting up the barbell at around waist height on a squat rack.
  • Stand in front of the bar and position yourself so that it is centered in front of your body.
  • Bend down and reach forward, positioning your forearms under the bar.
  • Grasp the bar with your hands, keeping your elbows tucked close to your body.
  • Stand up straight, lifting the bar off the rack and taking a step or two back to clear the rack.
  • Place your feet at shoulder-width apart, toes slightly pointing outwards.
  • Keep your chest up, shoulders back, and your core engaged throughout the exercise.
  • Bend at the hips and knees, lowering your body down into a squatting position.
  • Keep your back straight as you lower, and aim to go as low as your mobility allows. Thighs parallel to the floor is a good goal.
  • Pause for a brief moment at the bottom position, maintaining control.
  • Drive through your heels, extending your hips and knees, to return to the starting position.
  • Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Tips & Tricks

  • Maintain proper form and technique throughout the exercise to prevent injury.
  • Engage your core muscles to stabilize your torso.
  • Start with lighter weights and gradually increase the load as you become more comfortable with the movement.
  • Incorporate a variety of exercises to target different muscle groups and prevent plateaus in your progress.
  • Fuel your body with a balanced diet to provide the necessary nutrients for muscle growth and recovery.
  • Listen to your body and allow for adequate rest and recovery time between workouts to prevent overtraining.
  • Focus on your breathing, exhaling as you lift the weight and inhaling as you lower it.
  • Invest in well-fitting workout shoes to provide proper support and stability.
  • Experiment with different foot placements to find the stance that feels most comfortable and effective for you.
  • Consider working with a professional trainer to receive personalized guidance and ensure proper form.


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