June 26, 2005

5 responses to Week 26: Construction site philosopher in training

  1. John McDonald Says:

    John Davies did this exercise with a dumbbell, I forgot what it was called but it was in his article for exercises to improve the power clean.

  2. Scott Says:

    These are known as Plie squats, and doing it the way you have things set up looks great (certainly much more fun than standing on a bench with a dumbell).
    With the deep Zercher squats, I - and I suspect I’m not alone here - can’t quite get deep enough to do them off the floor (I use the lowest pins on a rack for Zercher deadlifts). 60kg is pretty tough going for the Zercher deadlift, and I imagine there is a much stronger correlation between weights hoisted for a Zercher deadlift -> Zercher squat than a regular deadlift/squat -> Zercher squat. I’ll give the deep Zercher squats a go and let you know what the weights are - but I imagine they’ll be similar to yours.
    Incidentally, have you moved the xml feeds? I only came across this post by accident this morning :)

  3. Scott Says:

    Just tried some Zercher squats off low pins (plates about 14cm off the floor) and my form was falling apart by the sets at 60kg. I’ve never seen the original Deadlift Secrets video, however I’m not sure that this was how the Zercher squats were originally done. From what I’ve been able to piece together, the bar was lifted off the floor in this manner (ala Zercher deadlift), then the squats performed with the bar stopping at the thighs. Picking the bar up necessitates a pretty wide stance, so the squats are still quite deep. This forces a straighter back and makes sure the legs get a good workout.

  4. Kris Says:

    I wonder if the whole idea of there being separate squat and deadlift versions of the Zercher isn’t a division that was made by someone else than Ed Zercher himself (not to mention the Zercher Good Morning). The USAWA rules only list a Zercher lift, which is done precisely as you indicate by first deadlifting it up on the thighs:

    Foot spacing is optional on the preliminary and primary movements. The barbell will be deadlifted to the knees and balanced thereon. The lifter will then assume a position in which he/she can secure the barbell in the crook of the elbows and, at the lifter’s discretion, stand erect with the weight fixed at the articulation of the upper and lower arm, ie, the elbow. The legs must be straight, the body erect, and shoulder square to complete the lift. The lifter’s arms may be inside or outside the legs. The bar must be followed in it’s return to the platform. Dropping from above the knees is a disqualification. The only official’s signal will be to complete the lift. (USAWA rules and lifts)

    In contrast, the Westside litterature/videos dealing with the Zercher squat seems to implicate that the weight is squatted all the way, for example:

    This movement was first introduced to me when I first came to Westside. I remember thinking what the hell is this going to do for me. It wasn’t until years later that I found out. The Zercher Squat is preformed cradling the barbell in your arm and performing a barbell squat. Since the movement is best preformed off the floor, many will find they will have to do it out of a power rack. The key to making this work is to concentrate on flexing the abdominal as hard as possible. (Dave Tate: Torso Training for the Squat and Deadlift)

    Interestingly, Louie Simmons states that he performed them off the floor when he was a smaller lifter:

    Their inventor, Ed Zercher, intended for the bar to be lifted off the floor in the crook of the elbows. At 181, I made 320 off the floor and an official deadlift of 670 in 1973. But at 198, I could no longer bend over far enough to hook the bar in my elbows. At that point, I placed the bar on the power rack pins and squatted from there. (Training Strong Legs for World Records)

    Let’s continue our research, I’m every bit as interested in powerlifting trivia as you are. :-)

  5. Kris Says:

    Detour back to the handle squat: after a bit of searching I found the exercise I believe you were talking about John. Coach Davies calls them Renegade Squat Pulls, essentially like the Plie squats Scott mentions but with a high pull at the end. As far as terminology is concerned, I prefer to stick to Westside terminology and call the exercise I did handle squats. For one thing, this name describes the movement well as opposed to plie squats. Perhaps it’s just the fact that English is my third language, but I had to look up the word…

    Main Entry: plié
    Pronunciation: plE-’A
    Function: noun
    Etymology: French, from past participle of plier to bend
    : a bending of the knees outward by a ballet dancer with the back held straight (Merriam-Webster Online)

    Secondly, people will start to wonder when you tell them you do plie squats with 100kg+ weights… Anyway, thanks as always Scott and John for pointing something new out to me, never heard of either variation before. What will they think of next… ;-)

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