Swellin’ to the Jammiez: Turn Down for Squats!


“Let’s go to Planet Fitness, get fucked up on cupcakes, and throw dumbbells at each other!”
That’s probably a thing that some of your jabroni friends who only lift due to their belief in “the beach bod” say to each other while planning their next siqq tanning bed sesh. I assume that since you are on a heavy metal blog you probably don’t do lifelovey things like go to the beach or try to rid yourself of your pallor which leaves us with the fitness part of the equation. So you pale shut-ins, how about we get to the swellin’?

When I first attempted this life of lifting weights, my father (a former power lifter) made it a point to tell me how important it is to squat. The key points were that squats are important to build a solid base, they promote growth, and they make your booty look great in your favorite pair of skinny jeans. We’re all familiar with the standard squat and perhaps even the front squat, so today I’d like to introduce you to my favorite alternative: The Zercher Squat. The Zercher squat is an old strongman exercise named after its creator Ed Zercher, a total madman who lifted random pieces of malformed iron instead of weights. “What is this lunatic exercise and why do I care?” Well I’m glad you asked!

Instead of carrying the bar on the top of your shoulders, a Zercher squat involves carrying the bar in the crook of your elbows and tight to your body. If that sounds confusing, here is a picture for reference:

While this might just seem like an even more painful version of a squat (and it is painful), there are some key benefits to the Zercher. One is that by holding the bar in your elbows it reduces the load on your back and the compression on your spine. This bar placement also means that you’ll be using a more upright position which places greater emphasis on your anterior stabilizers (fancy talk for abs). Zerchers will also allow you to go deeper than you might be able to with traditional squats and will place greater emphasis on your posterior chain (glutes and hamstrings). So now that we’ve covered the history and benefits, let’s do the damn thing.

1. At the squat rack you’ll want to adjust the bar to where it is roughly belly button level. You can go lower if you want to start with a deep lift, but I prefer being able to just pick it up.

2. Get the bar in the crooks of your elbows, then make a fist with one hand and cover it with the other with your knuckles facing the ceiling. When you hold the bar you’ll want to keep it in tight to your body.

3. After you’ve lifted the bar you’ll want to place your feet just a little bit wider than your shoulders with your feet angled outward slightly. Ideally somewhere around 1 o’clock.

4. Inhale, then start your movement down. Keep your back straight and in an upright position. You’ll want to lower yourself until your elbows just touch the top of thighs.

5. Your upward motion will be similar to that of a standard squat. You’ll want to push up through your heels and exhale as you raise.


Congrats! You’ve completed a Zercher! A few tips/bits of advice: You’ll want to start with a lower weight than what you’ll do with a standard squat. The positioning of the bar and added effort from your core makes these much more difficult, so don’t go in thinking you can just pick up where you left off with traditional squats. I also find that Zerchers are best a complimentary exercise. I like to do them once a month as a change of pace from standard squats. I also highly recommend wearing a pair of Chucks any time you plan on doing a squat of any kind. Chuck Taylor’s have a flat soul with no padding, so you can press up from your heels flat footed. Running shoes tend to be more padded in the heel and will shift you more towards the balls of your feet than the heel. I know you all own a pair of Converse because you listen to metal and they hand that shit to you when you sign up.

Now, I leave you with some of my favorite jams for lifting heavy things with my legs. Have a good lift!

Questions or advice? Let me know in the comments!

(Header photo VIA, Zercher photo VIA)

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  • Maik Beninton
    • Here is a picture of the ~650 lb tire that I used to have in my front yard (and my man-friend, Brad)

  • I’m jamming this Nails song, but I’m not going to exercise because I’m at work.

    It’s that ok, Moustached Bear? 🙁

    Thanks for sharing!

  • KJM

    If Revere Beach wasn’t such a shithole I’d go there.

    • Herr Schmitty

      That’s legitimately where I park my car every time I go to Boston, at the Beachwood Park n’ Ride for the T!

      It doesn’t seem that bed. Then again, the shit holes of the north don’t look like shit holes when compared with the shit holes of, say, Jacksonville FL.

      • KJM

        I’d like it better if if were more like Salisbury or Hampton with a bunch of arcades and D-list bands playing and less fighting between gangs.

  • Stockhausen

    If you don’t do squats, Leif Bearikson’s dad’s neck will hunt you down and punch you in the neck.


  • Disgustache
  • Guacamole Jim

    Well shit. I’mma give this a go! Never heard of this style before, but powerlifters know more about the gym than my fat ass.

  • Tyree

    The only squat exercises I do is on the goddamn toilet.

    Blastbeats, double bass, thrashing, and headbanging are the only exercise routines my body requires. Keep that shit above 200BPM though. Some beer to help recover is always a must as well.

    Step 1: Play a blast beat. Two footed is good for faster speeds, but the real exercise comes from the one footed blasts, feel that BURN. Two footed really requires no effort on the legs but is good for coordination. Pete Sandavol is the king of the fast one footed blast, take a lesson from him.

    Step 2: Take a quick break from blasting (NEVER). And play some some Dave Lombardo thrash beats and double bass. Basically play along to Angel of Death CONSTANTLY. Eventually you’ll be able to play along to that fucker like it’s an AC/DC song (Said no one ever).

    Step 3: Play more blast beats and headbang until you fall off the drum throne from dizziness and exhaustion.

    Step 4: Drink beer and do it all over again (No particular order).

    Step 5: Die!

  • *burp*

  • If I ever do exercises I think I will save this jamz for that, Leif. That Lord Dying is good to run or something like that!

  • Howard Dean

    The most impressive squat I’ve ever witnessed:


    Not the heaviest squat ever, but probably the deepest, cleanest, and most powerful (and in a federation that has fairly strict rules and regulations). Full on beast. As a guy that has done squats most of his life (and has beaten the shit out of his knees in the process!), I am most impressed with this dude.

    • *slaps this mans chest*
      *scurries away*

    • Leif Bearikson

      Holy shit. That was most impressive!

      • Howard Dean

        I’ve seen bigger squats (current WR holders have squatted considerably more than this), but I’ve never seen any this huge that were performed old school like this (walking it out of the rack, and deep with reasonable foot placement and large range of motion) and that were this fluid and powerful.

        A lot of times those huge (1200+ lbs) squats are kind of a letdown to see. It’s still amazing that a dude can put that amount of weight on his back, but with the monolift, ultra wide stance, tiny range of motion, and loose depth standards, it doesn’t really even look right. That’s why I love this video–dude is squatting a thousand pounds, and he’s doing it the way any random person in any gym is doing it.

        • Leif Bearikson

          The depth is definitely what got me. It has become increasingly rare to see people reach parallel, even more so to see them break it, so to see this guy do it with 1,200 pounds is just utter craziness. The fact that he has to unrack and rack the weight is just icing on the cake.

  • Having run quite a bit, I get really really nervous to squat down for any reason at all. I am not sure I have what it takes to do “lifting” squats. Interesting read!


    • Always gotta listen to your body, but the body was built to squat (how else do you shit in the woods), so if you can work on just doing air squats (no weight) with good form, you can maintain that mobility and function as you age.

      • Lacertilian

        Is there a good time to start running weights with squats?
        I started doing them about 6 months ago and was doing 5 sets of 10 squats 3 times a week (one day apart) now I’m doing 3 sets of 10 squats 5 times a week (each weekday). So still doing the same amount as before.
        Not sure when I should start adding weight.

        • What up, just now saw this. I don’t have a good answer for you and I am no expert. It all depends on how your form is and how they feel to you. You never want to sacrifice your form to move up in weight. When you feel ready to go heavier, do a day where you pyramid your sets (inscrease weight, reduce reps) and go as heavy as you feel comfortable with reps as low as 1-3 (even if it feels like you could do more). Also, just be careful with how many days you are back squating per week. Good luck!

  • Herr Schmitty

    Toilet of Confessions: I Fucking hate lifting weights.

    I’m a cardio/calisthenics only type of guy at even the best of times (and right now, I work out approximately once a week, so my opinion is low-value anyway). I fucking hate lifting weights; the epitome of dreary, mind-numbing monotony. I’d rather run (itself pretty tedious!) or hit a heavy bag or get destroyed in jiu-jitsu.

    All of the above aside, I see the benefits of doing squats; one of my good friends (who I may or may not have almost dated had circumstances not intervened) is a regular gym rat; her dad was a bodybuilder and she caught the bug herself. She was incredibly toned, very attractive, and legit squatted me, put me on her back and carried me around her apartment. She was definitely stronger than me in terms of raw power; no idea what she maxes out at when squatting, but it’s definitely well over 200 pounds. She lifted me like a fuckin’ feather. Only woman I’ve ever known that could hoist me up and carry me around like a hobbit.

    • tertius_decimus

      Feature this post for Toilet’s sake (the GF part of it)!

    • Lifting weights is a good stress reliever for me. I notice i get quite irritable if I go too long without working out actually. I fucking hate running though, fuck that shit.

    • I hate lifting weights. And cardio. And going to work every day. I do all of those things cuz you gotsta, y’know?

      • The only exercise I like to do is walking but… As I said last time on this column, I can’t do it right now because time, malandros and tiresome ;_;)

      • Hubert

        You can also do none of those things… like me

        • “EAT GRASS AND GET CONSUMED BY DANKNESS” – Hubert (2015).

        • Vladimir Poutine

          Hubert, you’re one in a million. Not all of us can aspire to such goatness.

      • Herr Schmitty

        I also hate all those things; I only do 2 out of the 3. It’s a paradigm of hate and cost/benefit analysis; Gotta work for dat $$$, gotta run for the calorie burn, but I don’t really need raw strength! Plus, I’d rather be at the office than doing bicep curls.

        There’s also physical attrition for all of these things; sitting at a computer 8+ hours/day is bad for your back and metabolism. Running can be hard on your knees/legs. Lifting weights is really bad for your joints and ligaments. I need to get to work on my ‘lazy fatass’ pill that converts pizza into good looks and fitness.

        • Lifting weights is really good for endurance in other areas of life…..

          • Hubert

            Like hardcore dancing.

          • Or you know, areas that require a woman and lack of clothing

          • Hubert

            Dota 2?

          • Herr Schmitty

            25 emotions in 60 tenths of a second!

          • Shrimp in a Pizza Box

            U wot m8? (refresh)

          • Dark Souls 2?

          • No no, Dark souls 2 requires padded walls so that when you throw the fucking controller you don’t have to go buy a new one.

      • The most interesting thing paradox of life is that man spends everything thing in its power to make life “easier”. When life gets easier for man (i.e doesn’t have to push mow his lawn, he rides instead) he has to work less. When man works less, he is less toned, strong, and is likely larger. So what does man do? He goes and works out. Resulting in a net time gain of zero.

        Crazy right?


        • lol okay, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

          • I am not sure if zzzzzzzzzz has the capacity to pull together an organized thought without inserting nonsensical political jargon… or nice things at my momma, lol.


    • xengineofdeathx

      Dude I’ve been getting fucking handled in judo all week, scary feeling, but still cooler then doing curls.

  • Mother Shabubu III 12 BRICKS

    I love squats. There are also several alternatives.

    BOSU Squats) get a BOSU ball and make sure the black flat side is facing up. Have either a weight or kettle bell in each hand, or just hold a medicine ball. Stand on the BOSU ball in the same way you would stand on the ground during a routine squat. Keep your arms out to your sides holding the weights. Now squat while maintaining balance in smooth, controlled reps.

    Squat Chops) get a medicine ball with handles. Prepare your squat stance, holding the handled medicine ball at the center of your body. Go down in the squat, then lower your arms down in a controlled manned. Keeping your core tight and feet on the ground, explode upwards, thrusting the medicine ball above your head. I’ll post an example of the start and finish below.

    I know a few more, but that’s it for now.

    • I saw a guy doing heavy weighted BOSU squats once. It made me mad uncomfortable – didn’t look like he had a good handle on form or balance.

      • Mother Shabubu III 12 BRICKS

        That’s the key to BOSU squats. It’s not about the weight itself, it’s about the form, balance, and controlled. Sure it’s meant to make you stronger, but it’s also meant to add flexibility, stamina, and improve balance.

        I’ve found you don’t need macho quantities of weight if you do things in a slower, controlled manner. Makes it harder, and your muscles will respond and grow a bit more naturally.

  • zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    let’s do a mind workout—fuck motherfuckers who work out—

    if anyone can prove this doesn’t prove 911 was an inside job—then say it now—

    howard dean–wants to say that people who hate libtards are “tin foil hat wearers” or whatever diversionary tactic–I say he’s a fatass douchebag who has to follow workout posts like this–

    disprove this—-reported on all worldwide media—censored on pro u.n media–after half a day

    mossad agents (u.n. agenda”employees”) caught with bombs and fake Pakistanis passports attacking the Mexican congress building—
    stopped in the act—reported worldwide–and then censored on all u.n, controlled media—-
    unbeatable smoking gun–proving false flag attacks during 911/anthrax attacks—to stir up war against the Mideast—

  • KJM
    • zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

      what is your stand on 10-10-01==bitchass

      • KJM

        What’s the last album you bought? Been to any good concerts lately?

        • zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

          thats right—you try to insult people—but you cant defend your stance

          • KJM

            Oh, I’m sorry. I thought this was a music site that focused on Metal discussion where the regulars occasionally engaged in good natured jokes at each others expense. I didn’t realize this was the Dead Serious room at the Alex Jones wing of McCleans Hospital. Mental note made.

          • zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

            no more stalling–

          • JW(E)G

            He’s not Stalin.

            If anything, we’re more Trotskyites. And even that’s a stretch.

          • more beer

            You just need to tell this idiot he is missing the latest greatest conspiracy Jade Helm. He will leave you alone. Because he must follow the lead of his hero Alex Jones.

          • KJM

            Maybe he thinks Jade Helm is too trendy and wants to stick with the “classics”.

          • more beer

            That is possible. Either way he is an idiot. Who makes Alex Jones look like a normal well grounded individual.

          • Herr Schmitty

            That uh… doesn’t look like he’s doing any insulting there? I see you calling him a bitchass, and him asking you about music.

            I see but one bitchass here, sir, and it ain’t KJM.

          • zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

            piss off hitler—what is your stance on 10-10-01

          • Herr Schmitty

            That’s right; I’m left-wing Hitler. I’m coming to take all your freedom and guns away and you’ll never be permitted to speak your mind publicly again.

            I’m going to lock you in my basement, then I’ll be happy to tell you my deepest thoughts on made up binary code tragedies.

          • zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

            10-10-01 –dumbass

          • Herr Schmitty

            October 10th 2001. A made-up binary code hot-button for discredited fools that worship Alex Jones.

            Oh, and something about you being a dumbass. You’re never going to escape my basement or evade the loss of your freedumbs.

          • zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

            LIES—completely documented worldwide

          • Herr Schmitty

            Yuh-huh. Show your sources or shut your mouth 🙂

          • KJM

            You realize none of this will mean dick when the Great Old Ones cross over into our realm. Game over, man. Game over.

          • KJM

            You know, 20-25 years ago I would’ve been happy to have this discussion. At this point though, I’m just way too old and tired to care about precisely which Yellow Sign wielding Masonic cabal has my life in their hands this week. It’ll be a different one next week.

          • zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz


          • Wowowowow, what’s happening here?! O.o I go out for lunch and you’re fighting here. Behave mm’kay!

          • KJM

            But all I did was play the Reggaeton horns!



          • Well, reggaeton horn is a good way to annoy someone 😛

        • rage against the machine prolly

          • zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

            what is your stance on 10-10-01?

          • KJM

            Too “Commie” for him probably

  • JW(E)G

    You don’t need weights to squat. Just a buddy: https://33.media.tumblr.com/b028bbbe2845da1d5c1e005be54c51d2/tumblr_miumpxQlF31s5scpho1_500.gif

    arrived late, took a while to find this GIF again

    also: Google Image search for ‘squat gif’ results in the most amazing-but-just-NSFW-enough collection of images I’ve seen this week….

  • KJM

    On topic: Cardio can be fun and it’s really all I care about. It helps to live in a neighborhood where there’s lots of interesting places in walking distance.

  • ME GROG™


    • LIES. T Rex went extinct 65 million years ago. You appeared less than a million years ago.

      • LIES. the devil put dinosaur bones on this earth to test our faith.

        • LIES. the devil put dinosaurs here so Alice in Chains could make an awesome album:


          • Mother Shabubu III 12 BRICKS


            Why does Alice In Chains of all bands have an album named this? It sounds so goofy for a band like them. Especially those lyrics lol.

          • Jajajaja, yeah, the lyrics are very meh. But I like the album.

          • Mother Shabubu III 12 BRICKS

            I didn’t even know this album existed until today. I’m definitely gonna check it out, despite the lyrics being like when Till from Rammstein writes English lyrics.

          • CT-12

            From what I read, Jerry Cantrell said the album title was about a belief held in some extreme religious institutions in which they believed that the devil was responsible for the discovery of dinosaur bones and fossils and essentially anything that hinted at a possibility of evolution. There are worse names out there, and I’m glad there was some thought behind it.

          • Mother Shabubu III 12 BRICKS

            I am familiar with that belief, and like you said, it’s good that there was thought behind it, I’m just saying coming from them it sounds kind of silly to me.

          • CT-12

            Yeah man, for sure, I can see that

        • ME GROG™

          GROG LIKE AIC!!!!!!!

        • Lacertilian
      • #LeaveGrogAlone T_T)

      • KJM

        His descendents have a long standing grudge against the estate of Marc Bolan.

        I’ll show myself out…

        • ME GROG™

          GROG LOVE TO BOOGIE!!!!!!

        • Kevin Nash & Friends

          That is true. Also, fuck the drummer of T Rex Bill Legend. He leads a fake version of T Rex around and made an album with them.

  • zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    bill Clinton did 911

  • Kevin Nash & Friends

    Barnes and Noble has all the Eagles albums on vinyl. It angers me and makes me want to get buff enough to smash those albums on the manager’s head. It’s even worse they call the two Who albums from the 80s without Keith Moon “classic”.

  • xengineofdeathx

    Nice work! The front squat is also great for total body strength, and works your core a lot since it has to be done in such a slow controlled way. I’ve only just been lifting again, I was out for a while because of a torn acl. This makes me want to listen to V.o.d. and do all the squats ever.


    Did I miss the max squats thread?