Wrestling Training- Zercher Lifts 2

An image of a woman holding an empty barbell in the Zercher position.

In this post I’m going to go into more detail about Zercher lifts and how you may be able to use them to improve your performance on the mat.

To read the first post on Zercher Squats check out- Zercher Lifts 1

Additionally, Wrestling Training- In-Season Power Development is where you’ll find the original post. In it I detail some of the important principles to follow when designing and implementing an in-season performance plan.

Below is a look at Day 1.

Day 1:

a. Kneeling Jump (4×4)
a. Speed Russian Twist (4×12)
a. Plyo Pushup (4×4)
b. Zercher Squat (4×6)
b. DB Windmill (4×8)
c. DB RDL (4×8)
c. Feet Elevated DB Pushup (3x AMAP)
c. Pullup (3x AMAP)

I won’t be getting into any of the exercises in the above program. However, I do want to cover 3 more Zercher-style lifts I like to have wrestlers use, especially In-Season.

The first is a Zercher Anderson Squat. This is essentially the same as the Zercher Squat. Here’s a quick video.

As you can see, the only difference is that I start the squat from a paused position across the pins. I like the Anderson-style for a few reasons.

First, it’s a great way to build the strength necessary to overcome a stalemate situation.

Training your body to produce maximal force from a less than advantageous position is going to prepare you to power through and finish more takedowns.

Second, while I control the eccentric (lowering the weight) portion, in order to minimize the chances of getting sore you can lower the bar much quicker to the pins.

A number of studies have shown that the eccentric portion of a lift is what causes the most damage to the muscle tissue. More damage = increased soreness. Not something you want during the season.

Remember- the effectiveness of your training program should not be judged by how sore you get. Rather, evaluate it by how strong and powerful you’re getting while still being able to wrestle at a high level throughout the season.

Other Zercher Lifts

The first exercise is a Zercher Pin Pull.

I use this exercise a lot over the summer in the training plans for wrestlers preparing for Greco-Roman Nationals in Fargo. Be sure to adjust the pin height to train your body to produce force at different angles.

The second exercise is a Zercher Pin Lunge.

As you can see, this mimics your ability to finish more takedowns. So definitely work this in throughout the season.

Finally, I think the most important thing to keep in mind is to keep the weight in check.

I really like to keep the weights for these exercises in a range that allows for fast execution. This better simulates the speed you compete at.

For instance, this past Wednesday when I was performing Zercher Anderson Squats I only worked up to 215. I felt if I added another 15-20 pounds my speed would have gone way down.

Remember- most of the time takedowns don’t take a long time to finish. So don’t spend all of your time grinding out really hard reps.

That being said, you still need to go heavy and challenge yourself. Just don’t get too crazy where your speed suffers.

Alright, that does it for this post. Be sure to check out the next one- Day 1 Lifts Continued. In it, I introduce and detail some of the exercises in the plan.

A picture of Kyle Dake and Dickie White.
Hi, I’m Dickie (the author of this blog). Here I am with my good buddy, Kyle Dake. While he doesn't have a nice coat like me, he is pretty good at wrestling. Here's what he said about my training system:

Before I began lifting using Dickie's system my wrestling skills were getting slightly better. I've now been lifting under his guidance for more than 5 months and I have begun to dominating ALL of my competition. At first I had little faith in Dickie and his program, but now I would run into a wall if he told me I would get stronger! I know it sounds insane, but I would. The bottom line is Dickie is an expert and knows what he is talking about. If you want to defeat those kids whom you've always lost to and reach a level you never thought possible, I suggest you start lifting using Dickie's system immediately.

-Kyle Dake, 4X NCAA Division 1 National Champion

Want to see what other wrestlers are saying about my training system? Check out my Success Stories page.


Want to learn more about Dickie? Check out my About page.


Want to get started on a program today? Read this post and download your free program- 12 Week Training Program For Wrestlers.


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