The AbMat Zercher Pad is the first barbell pad designed specifically for Zercher squats, carries and lunges.
Athletes merely need to press the pad onto a racked barbell (it fits both 28mm and 25mm Oly bar shafts) to instantly create a modified specialty bar.
The Zercher squat is a type of squat exercise that involves holding a barbell in the crook of your elbows in front of your body as you perform the squatting motion.
This exercise is named after its creator, Ed Zercher, who popularized it in the 1930s. The Zercher squat is an effective way to target various muscle groups, including the quadriceps, glutes, lower back, and core, while also challenging your grip and upper body.
How to Perform a Zercher Squat
Set up a barbell: Begin by setting up a barbell on a squat rack at about waist height. You can use a squat pad or wrap a towel around the bar to make it more comfortable to hold.
Stand in front of the bar: Approach the barbell and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Position your feet so that they are slightly in front of the barbell.
Grip the bar: Reach down and grasp the barbell with both hands, palms facing up. Your hands should be close together, creating a “V” shape with your arms. Make sure your elbows are bent.
Lift the bar: Lift the barbell off the rack and bring it up to the crook of your elbows. Your arms should be bent, and your elbows should be pointing forward. Keep the bar close to your body.
Set your stance: Step back from the squat rack and position your feet shoulder-width apart or slightly wider. Your toes can be pointed slightly outward.
Perform the squat: Lower your body by bending your hips and knees. Keep your chest up and maintain an upright posture as you descend. Go as low as your mobility allows or until your thighs are parallel to the ground or lower. Ensure that your knees track in line with your toes.
Push back up: Push through your heels to drive your body back up to the starting position. Keep the barbell close to your body throughout the movement.
Repeat: Perform the desired number of repetitions, then carefully rack the barbell back on the squat rack.
Zercher squats can be challenging due to the way the barbell is held in front of your body, which engages your upper body and core in addition to your lower body muscles. They are an excellent exercise for building leg strength, improving core stability, and developing functional strength.
As with any exercise, start with a light weight to master the form and gradually increase the weight as you become more comfortable with the exercise. It’s also essential to use proper technique to prevent injury and maximize the benefits of Zercher squats. If you’re new to this exercise, consider seeking guidance from a fitness professional or trainer.
The AbMat Zercher Pad
The 28” long Zercher Pad weighs less than 2 LBS and is Made in the USA from a soft antimicrobial molded foam that’s still strong and durable enough for day to day use.
Once attached, the pad eliminates much of the discomfort associated with Zercher movements, specifically the placement of the barbell in the elbow crease. If you’ve used knee sleeves or yoga mats for this purpose in the past, consider this the inevitable upgrade.
The patent pending concept for the Zercher Pad began with AbMat team member Christina Lazo, a powerlifter in St. Louis who wanted to tackle her Zercher Squats with less pain.
After over 12 months of development, the AbMat Zercher Pad was born.
AbMat Zercher Pad Specifications
- Made in the USA
- Patent Pending
- Sold Individually
- Length: 28”
- Weight: 2LB
- Fits both 28mm and 25mm Olympic Barbells
- Molded Foam Construction
- Colour: Black
Advantages of The Zercher Squat
Zercher squats are a unique variation of the traditional barbell squat that involves holding the barbell in the crook of your elbows instead of on your upper back.
This exercise offers several advantages, but it may not be suitable for everyone. Here are some of the advantages of Zercher squats:
Increased Quadriceps Engagement: Zercher squats place a greater emphasis on the quadriceps (front thigh muscles) compared to traditional back squats. This can help target and develop your quads more effectively.
Stronger Core Activation: Holding the barbell in the crook of your elbows requires a strong core to stabilize your upper body. Zercher squats can help improve your core strength and stability.
Reduced Spinal Compression: Because the barbell is held in front of your body, there is less spinal compression compared to back squats. This can be beneficial for individuals with back issues or those looking to minimize spinal stress.
Improved Posture: Zercher squats encourage an upright posture, which can help reinforce good lifting mechanics and reduce the risk of rounding your lower back during squats.
Increased Grip Strength: Holding the bar in the Zercher position challenges your grip strength and forearm muscles. This can be advantageous for individuals looking to improve their grip for other exercises or sports.
Versatility: Zercher squats can be performed using various equipment, including barbells, dumbbells, or even a sandbag, making them adaptable to different training environments.
Reduced Shoulder Stress: Some people find that Zercher squats are more comfortable for their shoulders compared to back squats or front squats. This can be especially useful for individuals with shoulder issues.
Enhanced Functional Strength: Zercher squats engage your upper body and lower body simultaneously, making them a good exercise for developing functional strength that can translate into real-world activities.
Despite these advantages, it’s important to note that Zercher squats can be more challenging to perform and may require some practice to get comfortable with the technique. Additionally, they may not be suitable for everyone, especially those with pre-existing wrist, elbow, or bicep issues.
As with any exercise, it’s essential to start with appropriate weight and form, and consider consulting a fitness professional or trainer to ensure you are performing Zercher squats correctly and safely.
The AbMat Zercher Pad is an excellent way to ensure maximum possible effectiveness and gains with the minimum level of risk.