Zercher carry exercise
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Zercher carry

Exercise details

  • Target muscles: None; see synergists and important stabilizers
  • Synergists: Gluteus Maximus, Hamstrings, Quadriceps (Rectus Femoris, Vastus Medialis, Vastus Lateralis, Vastus Intermedius), Adductor Magnus, Soleus, Gastrocnemius
  • Important stabilizers: Erector Spinae, Levator Scapulae, Upper and Middle Trapezius, Upper Pectoralis Major, Lower Pectoralis Major, Anterior Deltoid, Lateral Deltoid, Biceps Brachii, Brachialis, Brachioradialis, Rectus Abdominis, Obliques
  • Mechanics: Compound
  • Force: Pull

Starting position

  1. Place a barbell on a waist-high rack and load it.
  2. Scoop the barbell up into the crooks of your elbows and keep your elbows tucked into your sides. You may cross your wrists to help keep the barbell in place.
  3. Pull your hips in so that they are underneath the bar and stand up. You should be standing tall, carrying the barbell in the crook of your elbows.


  1. Keeping your body upright and breathing normally, walk in a straight line for the prescribed distance.
  2. At the end of the walk, lower the barbell on to another rack or platform.
  3. Turn, scoop the barbell up into the crooks of your elbows and walk back to the starting rack.
  4. Repeat until you have completed the total prescribed distance.

Comments and tips

  • The Zercher carry is a major full-body exercise that is great for developing core and overall strength. It is also a wonderful exercise for beginners, those who have back pain, or have had previous back injury since carrying the barbell in the crook of your elbows reduces stress on the upper back.
  • For your safety, do not turn while carrying the bar. Doing so may injure your knees. It is also dangerous to walk backwards while carrying the bar.
  • If there is any discomfort in the crook of your elbows, you can wrap a sweatshirt around the bar to add padding and reduce the discomfort.
  • See also the Zercher squat and the dumbbell farmer’s walk.

Zercher carry video


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