Last night's workout was a brutal one. By the title of this article, you can guess for yourself it was challenging to say the least.
I LOVE training in a way that pushes me BEYOND the physical. Where I can literally FEEL my mindset changing, getting tougher and building that GRIT!
I used a specially designed thick bar for my Zercher squats, working up to 325 lbs for 3 reps.The Zercher squat is excellent for not only leg strength but for strengthening your entire trunk and core. I don't like using the term "core" too often, but when performing Zercher squats, that is where you will feel this exercise!
The Zercher squat also gives your lower back a bit of a break from direct spinal loading. I have actually used the Zercher squat for a long training cycle when I was experiencing some lower back issues. Back then, I didn't have the knowledge I do now to fix my "back problem" but the Zercher Squat was my Go To and I still got STRONG from it with ZERO back issues.
In between a few sets I cranked out the essential glute ham raise. I don't like to rest too much so I often perform extra work between the main work. I chase the work and so should you.
It's good for the mind AND body and trust me, YOU NEED IT.
I hate to admit it, but man, people are SOFT nowadays.
ALL they do is complain about this or that exercise being uncomfortable. What do you expect from training?
Most people do not realize that your hamstrings, glutes and lower back help provide you with strength in your squatting / deadlifting movements, and they also are heavily responsible for speed in running.
People think some half hearted leg extensions and leg presses are all you need for leg development. I would assume that with all the information out there, people would have more knowledge but it looks like people are just more confused.
Weak hamstrings are also a contributing factor for knee injuries, back pain and a host of other problems that we see all too often in athletes. MANY athletes today can NOT perform a proper bodyweight squat.
I can't get any lower .....
It hurts my knees ......
How can a young teenager struggle to perform a full range bodyweight squat?!?!? It blows my mind.
Being unable to squat to parallel or slightly below is like saying you can't sit on the toilet!
Here's Dr. Ken Leistner showing how it's done in his 50s!
Adult language involved so please make sure NO kids are around.
The lesson here: Strengthen your hamstrings and start squatting to full depth from day 1!
We use back extensions & leg curls to add more volume for back and hamstring work. If there is NO muscle in the posterior then you can NOT be strong in the posterior. It's perfectly OK to add some bodybuilding work for the hamstrings and lower back.
In the Video below, I followed the Zercher squats with atlas stone lapping, which is a deadlift brought into the lap, essentially. These were done for 3 x 3 reps using a 260 lb atlas stone.
Next came my jumps:
Basic squat jumps x 10 reps immediately followed by lunge jumps x 10 for 2 rounds.
I hit some more glute ham raises to finish off this session and then worked my grip with plenty of captains of crush grippers and some ab work as well using the ab wheel and various planks.
Although the workout was geared towards lower body, the Zercher squats and stone lifts brought in plenty of upper body work.
When I am training myself or others, I don't get too caught up in whether this is an upper body only day, lower body only, etc.
I focus on the WORK, getting the athlete better, stronger, faster, tougher.
If you're not tough, forget it, you will NOT succeed at the highest levels.
So, while everyone is crying over a little arm discomfort from Zercher Squats, let us Undergrounders keep attacking life and lifting.
As George Hacknschmidt said, "Real strength is All Around strength."
In a nut shell, MANY people like to talk about it and the rare few like to BE ABOUT IT!
Don't fear Zercher Squats.
Don't fear hard work.
STOP chasing comfort.
Everything you REALLY want lies on the opposite side of Your comfort zone!
Live The Code 365