This Smart 'Zercher' Finisher Builds a Solid Back and Core in No Time

·2-min read
Photo credit: Corey Jenkins - Getty Images
Photo credit: Corey Jenkins - Getty Images

Nothing builds a hard midriff and seriously old-school strength quite like loaded carries.

Requiring zero specialist kit — just a loaded barbell will suffice — the Zercher carry hits nearly every muscle in your core to build strength and stability. Similarly, you'll work on ‘anti-flexion’: the ability to resist being bent up like a pretzel under a heavy load, a handy tool in both training and everyday life.

Zerchers hit your core as well as the postural muscles in your upper back that have become criminally underused in the 21st century and can help to balance out desk-bound life. They’re an uncomfortable movement, too, increasingly uncommon in gyms chocked full of padded machinery — helping to build your grit and mental strength.

Sold? Good. Use this workout ‘finisher’ to incorporate Zerchers into your routine, whilst also building your back, arms and scorching calories to boot. Load up your barbell and complete five rounds of the following circuit as quickly as possible, whilst maintaining good form.

Burpee over bar x 10

Stand tall with your loaded bar at your side, on the ground. Step back and hit the deck, lowering your body until your chest touches the floor (A). Stand back up and jump powerfully over the bar (B) – driving through your hips when you take off. That’s one rep. Then, drop to the floor and go again, moving back and forth over the bar.

Prisoner squat x 15

Stand tall after your final burpee with your torso upright and your hands on your head (A), drop your hips back to sink into a deep squat (B). Hold for a second, before pressing through your heels to stand up, repeat.

Zercher Carry x 20m

Deadlift your bar up to your waist before sinking into a deep squat, your barbell resting in the crease of your hips. Take both arms and reach under the bar, squeeze your fists, and with the bar resting in the crook of your elbows, lift it away from your hips, then stand tall (A). Keeping your torso upright and core braced, take powerful strides forward (B) quickly covering the distance, or turning around at the halfway mark.

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