Sunday, July 17, 2011

What is a Zercher squat?

Jason and I went to the gym this morning for some cardio. Of course, I took the July issue of Oxygen with me—because when it's too hot outside and I'm forced to walk indoors on a stationary piece of equipment, a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do to get through it. I found the following, which happens to be final part of an article entitled "30 Ultimate Fitness Adventures":

I don't know what the heck a Zercher squat is, so I did what anyone does when they need to learn something. I hit the Internet. YouTube, to be specific. Check it:

First of all, I can't post this without saying how much I love this guy's shorts. I tried to convince Jason he needed a pair, but he just walked away from me without comment. I guess that means he didn't like them. Moving on.

Zercher squats are standard squats with a barbell, but that barbell is rested in the bend of your elbow joint. Obviously this guy only does one repetition—you would not set the bar down in between repetitions, and you don't have to pick it up from the floor. Your trainer, or training partner can hand it to you, or you can pick it up off a rack.

What's the benefit? More searching on the Internet leads me to conclude that Zercher squats target the quads (clearly), but take some of the load off your spine while simultaneously calling on your core a bit more than your usual squats. Why? Because the bar isn't hanging from your hands. It's cradled in the crook of your elbow, urging you to tip forward, so clenching up those core muscles provides the support and stability you need to keep that back upright as you squat down and up.

Try it. Tell me what you think. (Just make sure to pick an appropriate sense hurting yourself as you learn something new.)

And now, some motivational words from an advertisement I found in the same issue of Oxygen:

Good mantra, eh? Just switch out "I train with Max" in the last line to "I train to the max" sounds better, I think. Max is actually an "ultimate pre-workout supplement experience" that I don't particularly believe in, so I won't give you any further details on the product itself, but I will tell you to believe in the words above. Chant them, memorize them, find motivation in them. Because even if you don't look like the girl in the picture, you're still beautiful and strong're YOU. Which is awesome.

Speaking of awesome, I'm posting an exciting giveaway tomorrow. Come back and check it out!

Question: Have you ever heard of Zercher squats, or am I simply out of the loop on this one? Do you have a personal mantra when it comes to your health and fitness? Do share!

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