Fitwill stands in solidarity with Ukraine

Smith Zercher Squat

Smith Zercher Squat

The Smith Zercher Squat is a highly effective exercise that targets multiple muscle groups in your lower body, particularly the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. This compound movement also engages your core muscles, upper back, and biceps, making it a great full-body exercise. Named after strongman Ed Zercher, this squat variation has gained popularity due to its unique execution. Unlike traditional squats, the Zercher Squat involves holding the barbell in the crooks of your elbows while positioning it across the front of your body. The Smith Zercher Squat takes this exercise a step further by utilizing the guided track of a Smith machine, which allows for a controlled and stable range of motion. By utilizing the Smith machine, you can focus on maintaining proper form throughout the exercise. This is especially beneficial for beginners who may struggle with balance or stability when performing free weight squats. The Zercher position of the barbell requires a more upright torso, engaging your core muscles to stabilize and support the weight. Incorporating Smith Zercher Squats into your routine can help improve lower body strength, boost muscle growth, and enhance functional fitness. As with any exercise, it is important to start with a weight that you can comfortably handle and gradually increase as you gain strength and proficiency. So, get ready to embrace the challenge of the Smith Zercher Squat and enjoy the benefits of a well-rounded lower body workout!


  • Start by setting up a Smith machine with the bar at a height that is roughly at the level of your mid-thigh.
  • Stand facing the machine with your feet shoulder-width apart and your toes slightly pointed out.
  • Bend your knees and lower your torso to grip the bar with an underhand grip, positioning it at about the height of your elbows.
  • Ensure that your elbows are slightly bent and your arms are crossed in front of your body.
  • Engage your core and maintain a straight back as you lift the bar slightly off the supports.
  • Take a step back from the machine and position your feet slightly wider than your shoulders.
  • Initiate the squat by bending at your knees and sitting your hips back, keeping your chest up and your back straight.
  • Lower yourself until your thighs are parallel to the floor or slightly below, making sure your knees track over your toes.
  • Drive through your heels to extend your knees and hips, returning to the starting position.
  • Repeat the movement for the desired number of repetitions, maintaining proper form throughout.
  • Once finished, carefully return the bar to the supports and release your grip.

Tips & Tricks

  • Focus on maintaining proper form and technique throughout the exercise
  • Incorporate a variety of rep ranges to challenge your muscles and prevent plateaus
  • Engage your core muscles by bracing them throughout the movement
  • Gradually increase the weight as you become more comfortable and proficient with the exercise
  • Ensure that the bar is securely placed in the crook of your elbows before beginning the squat
  • Don't rush the movement - maintain a controlled and deliberate pace throughout
  • Practice proper breathing techniques, inhaling during the eccentric phase and exhaling during the concentric phase
  • Implement accessory exercises such as lunges or Romanian deadlifts to strengthen the muscles involved in the Smith Zercher Squat
  • Pay attention to your knee alignment, keeping them in line with your toes to prevent strain or injury
  • Allow for adequate rest and recovery between training sessions to prevent overtraining

Related Exercises

Elevate Your Workouts Today

Ready to transform your training? Download Fitwill and see the difference!

App screenshot