I posted an article on Zercher style lifts written by Jim Smith, author of Combat Core on http://www.wg-fit.com/Articles/zercherlifts.htm sometime ago. Up until Jim sent me that article I had been using the Zercher style in my own training but didn’t really advocate it to others.
What is it? Basically is used to describe any lift where you are holding the weight in the crook of your elbow. You can securely hold a substantial weight, either a bar or sandbag/punch bag safely. Because you’re front loaded the core is working extra hard to support you without the same back strain you get with traditional squats and deadlifts (great news for my particular injuries, maybe I’m getting old?!)
Why do I like it? Because I usually train in either with minimalist and/or improvised equipment or in a commercial gym that is equipped with the evil Smith Machine, I needed some way to squat and lunge with a bar from the floor. The squat was easy, clean and front squat. The rest wasn’t so easy.
Then I got thinking, I muck around with the junior students by picking them up and holding them in the crook of the elbow while I run around. I’d never (yet) dropped one on their head, why can’t I do the same with a barbell?
From there on in my split squats went through the roof.
A couple of years on I discover that I didn’t invent it, some bloke named Zercher did. I still think the edges lift sounds better.