Getting stronger for MMA with the Zercher Squat

Why should an MMA fighter bother with that strange looking lift, the Zercher squat. Kind of looks like your trying a dumbbel curl that’s way too heavy, whilst going for a dump at the same time right? Well, let’s look at how such an apparently awkward and challenging total body movement can help the combat athlete.

Zercher SquatThe Zercher Squat and the Overload Principle

From the time that men have competed in feats of strength, such as Highland Games and ancient wrestling competitions very similar to today’s modern MMA, successful resistance training programs have been established on the overload principle. Overload signifies using progressively heavier loads to activate further strength. The question is, how do you apply progressive olverload to get stronger in basic MMA skills.

Lets take the example of the pick up and throw down, a speciality of Quinton Rampage Jackson. To be able to do this to an opponent mandates that you can without too much difficulty, lift your own weight (and more) off the ground in front of you, control it and slam it down with fully force. This takes balance, grip strength and a lot of power in the posterior chain.

Now some might say that they don’t make use of this move. Why? Well maybe because they don’t actually have the strength to pull it off! It doesn’t take too long however, to develop the kind of posterior chain and grip strength needed. The zercher squat is the perfect exercise to develop the muscles needed to perform this skill.

Check out the video for correct zercher squat technique. Now after you have familiarised yourself with the basic technique of holding the barbell in the crook of the elbows, bending at the hips and knees etc., bear in mind how you are going to develop the kind of power needed for pulling off a slam down.

Start Light And Progress Gradually

When there is no progression, then your strength levels will plateau. Placing a safe form of stress on the muscles may be accomplished in various ways with the zercher squat.

  • Resistance: Muscles will get bigger and stronger when they are made to strain against progressively increasing resistance every single gym session.
  • slam in mmaWork Rate: The work rate is increased by recording how long required to complete a particular exercise session, or individual set of a movement, and then aiming to complete it in less time the following fitness workout. So as an illustration, instead of taking 12 minutes to finish off 6 sets of the Zercher Squat, you make an attempt to finish it in 10 minutes the following exercise session.
  • Duration: is applicable to the time frame of a workout, and is for that reason a lot more pertinent to conditioning training than weight lifting. But you need both for MMA so every nown and then you will need to make sure you train for endurance. In these kind of workouts I would suggest replacing the barbell with a fairly heavy grappling dummy and performing a kind of circuit with one of the moves involving multiple pick ups and throw downs with the dummy

MMA Specific Exercise

  • A very important element of sports training, no matter what sport it is, is the association your training program has to what you desire to attain in competition.
  • Sportsmen like UFC heavy hitter Christian Morecraft, need to structure their resistance training workouts on patterns of movement and fits of activity that duplicate what normally they are called on to do in competition.
  • You need to assess if your muscle training sessions help increase endurance, speed capacity and the motor skills required for your sport. Then, always make sure you train accordingly. Preparation must be very specific and imitate, wherever plausible, what will happen during the competitors arena.

The zercher squat is one very sport specific exercise you can make good use of. It comes very close to the movement pattern of the slam down, in the pick up phase. Where it lacks is in the the throw down part of the move. However, depending on the rules of your gym, you could incorporate the throw down with the barbell. To do this you would have to power up in the first place and then quickly switch grips to overhand and force the bar down to the floor. Any gym that caters for Olympic Weightlifting would be ideal as they train all the time dropping bars to the floor. Alternatively, you could train on a grassy surface with your own set of weights. This set up is ideal for anyone with a home gym. Just take your barbell outside and practice on a suitable surface.

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