By: J.V. Askem, The Cable/ Bar Guy

Standing Z-lift
start                     coming up                        top position

    On the standing Zercher (Z) lift, because of the extreme rounded back position, it is not advisable to do limit singles. Also be warmed up and stretched thoroughly before doing this exercise.
    Start by standing with the toes of your feet behind the bar. Then grasp the bar with one hand. Pull yourself down and slide the forearm of the other arm under the bar. Then flex the arm under the bar to hold it it place. Now slide the other arm under the bar. When both arms are crooked under the bar, you can then commence lifting. Lift in a slow and deliberate motion. Do not lift the bar too quickly because this will simulate an action similar to cracking a whip which could be harmful to your spine.

Seated Z-lift
(A good substitute for the good morning)

    A good substitute for the standing Z-lift is the seated version. Here there is less rounding of the back. Start by lifting the bar off of some low squat stands. Then step back and sit on the edge of a bench. (Note: you may need to counter balance the bench with some weight, otherwise it might tip up when you sit down.) Once seated, lean forward allowing the bar to drop down over your knees and down by your shins before you stop.


              Free weight Z-squat              Cable/ Bar Z-squat            Z-box squat

    There are many variations of Zercher (Z) squats. When done while maintaining an upright position they are a tremendous quadriceps builder. They also require a great deal of stabilizing strength in the back and abdominals.
    The most common Z-squat is the free weight version. Just lift a bar, in the crook of the arms, off of a low squat rack. Step back and set your stance and then proceed to squat. When your elbows touch the top of your thighs stop. Then rise and repeat. Sets and reps are up to the individual.
    To make sure of consistency in depth on subsequent reps a box can be placed behind. However it is not advisable to sit down on the box. Just touch the box and then rise.
    Start the same way as the upright version, except stand with a wider stance. Now squat down allowing your elbows to drop between your knees. While squatting maintain a vertical shin position of the legs. When the bar touches the top of your thighs rise.
    Although the picture may not indicate it, the CBS Z-squat is the most exhausting version of Z-squat. Here you use your shortest cables. Set the adjusting chains to a position where you will start with your elbows touching your thighs. Also, if necessary to maintain an upright position, raise your heels up on blocks. When ready push off with the legs. Upon coming back down to the start position, take all tension off of the bar. Now repeat. Higher reps (8 to 10) are recommended on these. Also make sure your legs are good and warmed up first.