We have been big fans of the Zercher lift here at PTG and have found it difficult to find much information about the man behind the lift. We recently found this article from Wally Strosnider that provides some insight and background about Ed Zercher. Check it out. PTG!
The Man Behind the Zercher Lift
I have been reading about the Zercher Lift lately in PLUSA, and really enjoy seeing that name in current Powerlifting articles. Ed Zercher lived in South St. Louis near California and Chippewa. My father was 14 years old when he first lifted weights with Ed down at the old Boy's Club, back in 1933. Dad said that Ed was always there volunteering to help youngsters or, for that matter, anyone who wanted to train.
Ed trained a lot of different lifts. He did Hip Lifts, Harness Lifts, One Hand Deadlifts, One Finger Deadlifts, Bent Presses, Side Presses, Crucifixes, Two Hands Any How (actually the name of a lift), and more. During breaks in contests, Ed would awe the crowd by doing a few of his favorite exhibitions.
He would lie on a bed of nails, just a big board full of common 10-penny nails sticking through. Then he would lay another bed of nails, points down, on his chest. Two full sized men would stand on the top bed. The secret, Ed confided in me, "don't mind the pain". Another crowd pleaser was Ed's Leg Presses. No machine, no equipment. Just an Olympic Bar and bare feet. Ed would lay on his back on the platform, place an Olympic Bar on his bare feet and do Leg Presses - full and deep. I saw him do 250 lbs. for 100 reps at a meet at the state pen. I saw him do reps with the bar loaded to 250 lbs. and his 225-lb. son-in-law sitting on the bar. Ed was in his late 60's at the time.
Ed Zercher. The man invented a lift that is known by his name throughout the nation - no, actually around the world. The first time I saw his name in PLUSA I wanted to run over and show him the magazine, but unfortunately we had lost him a few years before. He would be proud to know that so many people remember him.