Getting a Few Zs

Zercher SquatsAfter doing a few Zercher squats the other day I decided to do them again as a max exercise, starting with the bar a little lower this time - about knee height. This also gave me an opportunity to test out a few different ways of holding the bar after seeing a little variation recently.

The way I have been doing these up until now is with the arms perpendicular to the bar, and palms (or fists) facing up. Rotating the wrists so that the palms are facing each other seems to tighten the grip a little (presumably from bringing the brachialis into play), and this is the grip I ended up using for the majority of today's lifts. Additionally I have seen people clasping hands together or crossing their forearms; both of which require the arms to be a little closer together than I find comfortable.

Despite the experimentation I worked up to a semi-respectable 75kg, which equals previous Zercher max attempts from a higher starting point.I gave the quads a bit of a break with the Ball Ham Raise, just one of many GHR alternatives for those of us unfortunate enough to lack the dedicated GHR machine. The stability ball offers just enough resistance to make the movement useful, without the feeling that your thighs are about to explode. I followed these with some Romanian deadlifts, just to make sure the hamstrings were getting the attention they deserve.

Next up were the Good Mornings, which are still following the 'easy does it' routine as I gradually increase the weight. This is one exercise where I only feel the effects afterwards, and I'm more than happy to keep it relatively light for now.

Followed the Good Mornings with a couple of sets of single-handed deadlifts, and when done using an Olympic bar at the side they seem to be a great way to tear great holes in your hands as you try to steady the bar. Great if you're into that sort of thing.

Finished up with a little ab work in the form of crunches and hanging knee raises, and after working the obliques a little with the side deadlifts I was quite happy to stop there.

Dynamic stretching
Zercher squat2x5@20kg,
Ball Ham Raise 4x10@bw
Romanian deadlift 4x5@75kg
Good Morning 4x10@30kg
Single-handed deadlift (side - olympic bar) 2x5@45kg (each side)
Ab crunch 4x10@bw
Hanging knee raise 4x10@bw

Total time : 84 mins (much better)

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Scott Andrew Bird

Scott Andrew Bird is a writer, photographer and a guy who just loves this stuff. He's been at home in front of a computer for more years than he cares to remember (OK, 35) and is now making amends for years of many mistakes noted in the De-constructing Computer Guy articles (part 2) on T-Nation.

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Back to the Front.

A leg raise or three.

New Routine.

Down to 3 sessions per week.

Back to 4 Days per Week.

I've decided to switch back.

Going Behind the Back.As my hamstrings are yet to entirely forgive me for last friday's assault, today's session was a quad-centric affair. Having recently sampled the simple delight of the Hack squat I figured I should get an idea of my current maximum before I churn out too many sets. Beginning the lift is perhaps the hardest part of these - especially once the weight starts to increase - and I can see myself doing a few behind-the-back deadlifts just to get used to it. Frustratingly, the fun ended shortly before arrival at the 100kg mark. With the quads nicely warmed, it was time for a few sets of Zercher squats and low step-ups. Keeping the Zercher theme I followed these with some Zercher Good Mornings; which always feel a lot more natural than the standard barbell Good Morning. Once again, the abs had the pleasure of bringing the workout to a close; this time with a combination of crunches and kneeling plate twists.
The First Year.It's been just over a year since I first began to share my bedroom with weight plates. Over that time the act of lifting weights has gradually moved towards the status of 'healthy obsession' (although there are some who would dispute the 'healthy' part of that phrase), and shows no signs of becoming anything less.
Revenge of the Zercher Deadlift.

Walking like John Wayne.

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