The Five Biggest Contradictions in Fitness
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The Five Biggest Contradictions in Fitness

It’s no secret that when people contradict themselves, it has the effect of making the flaws in their actions or statements seem glaringly obvious. But what about when WE ourselves get caught contradicting ourselves by someone else?

By: Nick Tumminello Added: January 6th, 2014
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  1. #1
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    Thoughts on Zercher squats as main squat variation?

    I like the Zercher squat alot.

    I don't plan on being a strength athlete any time soon so what do others here think of using the Zercher squat(not the lift) as my primary squat variation?

    My reason for wanting this is because I can honestly say that I'm a good bit stronger on the Zercher squat, and not due to using it more than back squats. Form is good too, I go deep with them and like to add in a small pause at the bottom sometimes.

    So what would you guys say about this? The bar in the elbows doesn't bother me anymore plus I use a jacket to protect them. I feel way more confortable overall with Zercher squats.

    I'll still be doing standard squats of course, but less frequently, assuming I'm gonna go ahead with this.

    Opinions?

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  3. #2
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    Why does everyone want to over complicate things. Just do regular squats and get better at those .

  4. #3
    Senior Member RichMcGuire's Avatar
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    Doesnt seem too complicated to me. Just squatting forever only gets you so far for so long.
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  5. #4
    Senior Member DontTakeEmOff31's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RichMcGuire View Post
    Doesnt seem too complicated to me. Just squatting forever only gets you so far for so long.
    A beginner will progress the best using and learning squats for a squat movement, not zercher squats. I'd argue that unless you are squatting over 500 lbs you are still learning the movement and developing a solid lower body. Rotating a squat variation in is fine, but a beginners main focus should be the squat.

    KJDANEXT0, the squat should be your main lift used for progression. Using zercher squats in place for an ego boost will only do that, boost your ego. If you really want to you can use zercher squats as an assistance exercise. What are your current squat numbers?
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  6. #5
    Senior Member RichMcGuire's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DontTakeEmOff31 View Post
    A beginner will progress the best using and learning squats for a squat movement, not zercher squats. I'd argue that unless you are squatting over 500 lbs you are still learning the movement and developing a solid lower body. Rotating a squat variation in is fine, but a beginners main focus should be the squat.

    KJDANEXT0, the squat should be your main lift used for progression. Using zercher squats in place for an ego boost will only do that, boost your ego. If you really want to you can use zercher squats as an assistance exercise. What are your current squat numbers?
    As if someone squatting 500 lbs at the local gym without cutting depth and doing knee bends is a beginner.
    Last edited by RichMcGuire; 11-27-2012 at 08:50 PM.
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  7. #6
    Senior Member DontTakeEmOff31's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RichMcGuire View Post
    As if someone squatting 500 lbs at the local gym without cutting depth and doing knee bends is a beginner.
    Did I say someone who squats 500 lbs is a beginner? I said someone who is under that weight is still learning the movement and building up a solid base. I'm under 500 lbs, I'm still learning and perfecting my form, and building a base.

    The weight someone does at a local gym is irrelevant. The OP posted for advice in a powerlifting forum. His main focus needs to be the squat. If he wants to do a westside style template where he switches it up, fine. But he needs to learn the movement and progress on the squat.
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  8. #7
    Powerlifter/Strongman J L S's Avatar
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    Just going to throw it out there, why zercher squats and not front squats!?

    If you are a stronger doing a zercher squat, something is very wrong somewhere. You will only progress to a point IMO where you will be limited by the amount of weight you can hold with your arms and if you try and push past that, you will get injured. Use it as an assistance movement to compliment your main squat though if they do a lot for you and you enjoy them! Best of luck!
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  9. #8
    Senior Member Judas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RichMcGuire View Post
    Doesnt seem too complicated to me. Just squatting forever only gets you so far for so long.
    Bar none, the best squatters on the planet train the squat by doing: back squat (olympic style), front squat (olympic style), and occasional Olympic style deadlifts. They also do the olympic lifts constantly, which actually do help to grease that groove and train your back to do what it needs to. But they dont do all that other stuff people these days are told to do. Ever.

    You can get extremely far doing only squats and back squats.

    As for the zerchers... i personally hate them. While they do DO put the bar in a more extreme position than front squats, it is an extremely compromised position, and i have never seen it done with anything other than the lower/middle back in a hideous position. This trains the body to competition squat and deadlift with the same ugly back. Olympic style front squats are the cure, and done properly they can cure cancer. Even the BB style front squat is inferior, because even when you bend a bit too much the position ov the hands/arms will allow quite a bit ov cheat. With an olympic style, back bends, bar hits floor. Period. Its good form or fail.

  10. #9
    Senior Member RichMcGuire's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Judas View Post
    Bar none, the best squatters on the planet train the squat by doing: back squat (olympic style), front squat (olympic style), and occasional Olympic style deadlifts. They also do the olympic lifts constantly, which actually do help to grease that groove and train your back to do what it needs to. But they dont do all that other stuff people these days are told to do. Ever.
    Except for the strongest lifters at westside.
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  11. #10
    Senior Member RichMcGuire's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DontTakeEmOff31 View Post
    Did I say someone who squats 500 lbs is a beginner? I said someone who is under that weight is still learning the movement and building up a solid base. I'm under 500 lbs, I'm still learning and perfecting my form, and building a base.
    So, regardless of weight class, anyone who squats under 500 lbs..even just by a couple lbs, has to squat over and over to get better at it because they dont quite have the technique down? Where did you get the magic number of 500?


    Quote Originally Posted by DontTakeEmOff31 View Post
    The weight someone does at a local gym is irrelevant. The OP posted for advice in a powerlifting forum.
    Actually, he posted in the powerlifting AND strength training forum and said he doesnt plan on being a strength athlete any time soon.


    Edit:

    Although you may have a point too.

    Quote Originally Posted by KJDANEXT0 View Post
    I'm a good bit stronger on the Zercher squat, and not due to using it more than back squats. Form is good too, I go deep with them and like to add in a small pause at the bottom sometimes.
    this sort of implies to me that he doesnt know how to squat well.
    Last edited by RichMcGuire; 11-28-2012 at 05:39 AM.
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  12. #11
    Senior Member RichMcGuire's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J L S View Post
    If you are a stronger doing a zercher squat, something is very wrong somewhere. You will only progress to a point IMO where you will be limited by the amount of weight you can hold with your arms and if you try and push past that, you will get injured
    I think thats a really good point.

    OP-I dont want to come across wrong here. I think the you will run into big problems too if you only do zercher squats. But i think anyone runs into issues doing the same thing over and over also.
    Last edited by RichMcGuire; 11-28-2012 at 05:57 AM.
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  13. #12
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    I think this sums it up better than I can...

    “But what the hell is wrong with squatting? What are you, afraid? I thought powerlifters were supposed to be big, tough guys, you know? Strap your cock on, leave your pussy at home, and put a bar on your back and bend your knees.” Kirk Karwoski
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  14. #13
    Senior Member DontTakeEmOff31's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RichMcGuire View Post
    So, regardless of weight class, anyone who squats under 500 lbs..even just by a couple lbs, has to squat over and over to get better at it because they dont quite have the technique down? Where did you get the magic number of 500?
    I watch college AND high school athletes squat everyday, they all reach 4 plates and they are all still learning. And guess how they progress at the squat, they SQUAT. If you want to justify weakness by what you weigh or what other people do, fine, but most people who train with any sense can easily reach a 405 squat, and still have a long way to go in terms of form and building a proper base. My point was that most people are a long way away from hitting a brick wall because they are doing the same movement over and over again. And in my first post I said you can work a squat variation in.

    Rotating a squat variation in is fine, but a beginners main focus should be the squat.
    Any strength trainer who knows what he/she is doing will have the athlete squat, and use a squat as a main progression lift regardless if the athlete is looking for general strength and powerlifting.

    The OP obviously wants to use a zercher squat for a main lift because it boosts his ego. He needs to hear that its a terrible idea. Westside and other programs rotate it in (like I said to do), but would never use it as the main progression lift. I'm guessing the OP is under 315 with a back squat, he needs to learn to squat.
    Last edited by DontTakeEmOff31; 11-28-2012 at 06:19 AM.
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  15. #14
    Moderator Brian Hopper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KJDANEXT0 View Post
    I like the Zercher squat alot.

    I don't plan on being a strength athlete any time soon so what do others here think of using the Zercher squat(not the lift) as my primary squat variation?

    My reason for wanting this is because I can honestly say that I'm a good bit stronger on the Zercher squat, and not due to using it more than back squats. Form is good too, I go deep with them and like to add in a small pause at the bottom sometimes.

    So what would you guys say about this? The bar in the elbows doesn't bother me anymore plus I use a jacket to protect them. I feel way more confortable overall with Zercher squats.

    I'll still be doing standard squats of course, but less frequently, assuming I'm gonna go ahead with this.

    Opinions?
    Since your saying that you don't plan on being a strength athlete any time soon, I guess its safe to say you don't plan on doing any competitions either. With that being said, then IMO do what ever you want. If you want to do Zercher squats more often then do them. But, I would still work on regular squats as well. I wouldn't just do zerchers all the time.

    Personally, I don't like doing that movement as a main lift. I've done it before and didn't get anything out of it. I would rather do them as a second movement for reps.
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  16. #15
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    Zerchers to me always indicated more to what type of progress my DL was making, not squat. Also a good indicator to how strong the "core," or whatever the hell you want to call it, is (in addition to erectors and to a degree upper back). Nothing wrong with doing them as an occasional ME exercise or even using them as an accessory/supplemental. But I'd prefer to utilize other squat variations primarily.

    Think about what, what typically fails first in a Zercher squat? Typically it's your core. So if you're using these, make sure you're working the hell out of your quads and hams/glutes too.
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  17. #16
    Senior Member RichMcGuire's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DontTakeEmOff31 View Post
    I watch college AND high school athletes squat everyday, they all reach 4 plates and they are all still learning. And guess how they progress at the squat, they SQUAT
    So, conjugate training wouldnt work?

    To me, it sounds like the op doesnt care about the weight he squats..he just wants to do zerchers. He said himself he doesnt want to be a strength athlete any time soon. Maybe he needs more clear goals. Because for now, squatting isnt a requirement with what hes said.
    Last edited by RichMcGuire; 11-28-2012 at 07:40 AM.
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  18. #17
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    Just squat

  19. #18
    Senior Member RichMcGuire's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Hopper View Post
    Since your saying that you don't plan on being a strength athlete any time soon, I guess its safe to say you don't plan on doing any competitions either. With that being said, then IMO do what ever you want. If you want to do Zercher squats more often then do them. But, I would still work on regular squats as well. I wouldn't just do zerchers all the time.

    Personally, I don't like doing that movement as a main lift. I've done it before and didn't get anything out of it. I would rather do them as a second movement for reps.
    What i was trying to say. Think you worded it better though.
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  20. #19
    Senior Member DontTakeEmOff31's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RichMcGuire View Post
    So, conjugate training wouldnt work?
    I said he could do a westside style template. The squat is still the main focus of westside however.

    The OP isn't asking if he can work zerchers in as a rotation or as an assitence exercise (which I said he could do both in my first post). He's asking if he can replace squats with zerchers. If this is what you meant to say, then I agree with you.

    Regardless of the OP goals, I think the squat should be his main focus, especially if he is still a beginner. You wouldn't tell someone to replace bench press with incline close grip as the main progression lift, especially if they are still building a base.
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  21. #20
    Senior Member RichMcGuire's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DontTakeEmOff31 View Post
    I said he could do a westside style template. The squat is still the main focus of westside however.
    What do you mean? Lifters at westside almost never do regular squats.
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  22. #21
    Senior Member DontTakeEmOff31's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RichMcGuire View Post
    What do you mean? Lifters at westside almost never do regular squats.
    The entire point of the ME rotation is to increase the lifters squat max. How is that not the main focus of the routine?
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  23. #22
    Senior Member RichMcGuire's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DontTakeEmOff31 View Post
    The entire point of the ME rotation is to increase the lifters squat max. How is that not the main focus of the routine?
    Yet they rarely ever do regular squats or focus on them in their workout and they have some of the best records out there. And that was my point..you dont need to squat a million times to increase your squat. Technique is only an excuse up to a certain point.
    Last edited by RichMcGuire; 11-28-2012 at 01:10 PM.
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  24. #23
    Senior Member RichMcGuire's Avatar
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    Anyways, i think this has gotten way off topic. I dont wanna debate the conjugate system, linear progression, or any of that in this thread.

    Op doesnt care about being a strength athlete so anything he likes doing is fine and dandy. If he wanted to be more serious with strength training/athletics, then all of these suggestions earlier by other posters would be applicable . But since hes not, he could live on the leg press for all that matters if he loved it so much.
    Last edited by RichMcGuire; 11-28-2012 at 01:51 PM.
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  25. #24
    Senior Member DontTakeEmOff31's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RichMcGuire View Post
    Yet they rarely ever do regular squats or focus on them in their workout and they have some of the best records out there. And that was my point..you dont need to squat a million times to increase your squat. Technique is only an excuse up to a certain point.
    You're missing the point. They know how to squat. My original point was that you can get very far with just squatting. Technique and a solid base is the major factor for a long time, much larger than most people think. I'm not debating the various training methods, I think westside is an excellent program, but if you are doing a box squat for an ME exercise with awful technique because you don't even know how to squat you are going to hit a wall. Technique is what matters.

    I agree this has gotten of topic. The OP can do whatever he wants. Judging from his post (and many of his previous posts) he is jumping around with his training. I still think if his squat technique is off (which is most likely) he should focus on that.
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  26. #25
    Moderator joey54's Avatar
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    Reading these replies is great. Nice troll job op.


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