The hack squat is one of the most effective exercises you can do from home, considering that it works your entire lower body and your core. However, you may not know much about these benefits and want to learn more. Maybe you’re considering getting gym equipment and want to be sure of what the benefits are before making this big purchase.
What are the benefits of doing regular hack squats? That’s what we’re going to cover here.
Read on to learn more about this exercise.
Barbell Hack Squat
When you’re doing a barbell hack squat, you’re doing a deadlift with the barbell sitting between your legs. It helps with strengthening your legs. More specifically, this exercise builds the hamstrings, glutes, and quads.
Coined by the famous strength-builder Hackenschimdt, it’s an exercise with many benefits.
The position of your body will be like that of a squat, but the extra weight from the barbell will have a much greater impact. If you aren’t sure how to do it, a personal trainer or strength coach can help you.
Hacking the Hack Squat
There are some strategies you can use to ensure that you’re doing the hack squat correctly and that you’re doing it so it’s possible for you, whatever your starting strength might be.
To hack the hack squat, you’ll want to:
- Keep your spine neutral to avoid stress on the spine
- Don’t round your shoulders
- Focus all your efforts on the glute muscles
- If you have weak ankles, put a plate under your heels
- Move the weight slowly
- Ensure your hack squat form is correct
By following these tips, you can make the hack squat a regular part of your training program.
How to Do Hack Squats on the Hack Squat Machine
If you have a hack squat machine, you can derive many benefits from doing hack squats on it. This is a good alternative to working out with a barbell.
To do hack squats correctly on the hack squat machine, you’ll want to use the appropriate weight amount for you, so set it up that way. Start with a lighter weight. Ensure the weights are balanced on both sides and do a repetition 8 to 12 times.
If you aren’t comfortable, that’s a sign you’ve picked weights that are too heavy for you.
Keep in mind that your shoulders should be pressed against the shoulder pads, and your legs should be even with your shoulders. Once you’re in this position, you can start to push forward and do the hack squats by using the leg press.
Barbell Hack Squat Workouts for Bigger Quads
If you want bigger quads, barbell hack squat workouts are a great way to get there in the workout world.
For beginners, you should do 5 sets of 5 reps. Then, as your quads start to get bigger and bigger, you can do more sets and more repetitions. You can also slowly add weight as your quads get bigger over time.
An alternative exercise that will build your muscles is by doing the reverse hack squat. You can also do one leg at a time (once you’re ready!). As you can imagine, putting all that weight on just one leg will make your quads bigger in no time.
Another exercise to consider? The front squat.
Barbell Hack Squat Exercise Video Guide
By watching this barbell hack squat video guide, you’ll be able to see how to a barbell hack squat correctly. This is important since doing the exercise incorrectly could cause you to injure yourself.
As you watch, keep in mind that you’ll start in a squatted position, with your thighs nearly as straight as the ground beneath you. As you lift up, you’ll want your heels to dig into the ground—that way, the pressure is on your legs.
Barbell Hack Squat: Video Exercise Guide & Tips
This barbell hack squat video exercise guide will help you do the barbell hack squat effectively so that you can build your muscles over time and get those godlike quads you want.
Some tips to follow while going along with this video are:
- When gripping the bar, have your palms face behind you
- Ensure your hands are the same width apart as your shoulders
- Your chin should be parallel to the floor
- Ensure your thighs are parallel to the floor
- After you’ve gone all the way up, slowly return to your original position before starting again
- Keep your feet flat
- Ensure the bar goes up to chest height
How to Do the Barbell Hack Squat (Legs) – Fitness Volt
According to Fitness Volt, there are some things you’ll want to remember when doing the barbell hack squat:
- In terms of your stance, you’ll want to keep your legs slightly wider than shoulder-length apart
- Ensure your feet are pointed slightly outward
- Squat down before lifting up and think of this as a deadlift exercise, considering that you have the barbell
- As you go up, everything should be tight and balanced—your back should be straight, your chest up, and your core activated and tight
- When you’re up and standing holding the barbell, you want to be standing straight with your heels digging into the ground
- When going back down, do so slowly and touch the barbell to the floor (remember, this is a deadlift, not just a squat)
Hack Squat: Upgrading the Old-School Strength Staple
Just because the hack squat is a classic exercise that’s been around a long time, that doesn’t mean there aren’t adjustments you can make to it.
There are some upgrades that work quite well, such as using a Swiss Ball. To do this exercise, put the Swiss Ball between your back (the thoracic and lumbar regions) and a wall.
This will make the exercise a bit easier and smoother, so especially if you’re a beginner, this can be a great alternative to the classic hack squat.
Remember to go slow and be reasonable about how much weight you’re using. Just because you’ve simplified the exercise, that doesn’t you still can’t get injured by overstraining yourself.
Some other squat variations? Try the bodyweight squat, which is gentler on your knee and hips.
Build Huge Wheels With This Hack Squat Guide
There’s another way you can use hack squats to build huge wheels and to really get your muscles working.
It’s called the Tom Platz style squat. It requires using a hack squat machine. Instead of placing your feet apart, as you usually do, you’ll want to place them together in the start position. Your feet should be pointed outward.
Then, lift your knees up, and keep them up as you do the exercise. While you’re squatting down, press through your tiptoes.
A word of warning: don’t do this too often—you don’t want to overwork yourself.
How to Do Barbell Hack Squats Correctly
We’ve reviewed many different ways of doing barbell hack squats here, but you want to ensure that you’re doing them correctly. It’s important for your health. To do them right, make sure you:
- Set up your plates correctly, and if you’re a beginner, use 25 or 10 lb weights
- Use a mirror when doing the bar squat so you can ensure you have proper form
- Be reasonable with your amount of reps
- Ensure your back is neutral. Otherwise, you could end up in a lot of pain or with irreversible damage
You might have some additional questions. Here, we’ll answer the most frequently asked questions about hack squats and related exercises.
Q: What muscles does a hack squat work?
A: The lower body (these muscles include the calves, quads, hamstrings, and glutes), as well as the core. That’s the benefit of compound exercises—they work multiple muscles. Eventually, it will help with your range of motion.
Q: Is a hack squat better for your back?
A: It can be much better for your back than other popular exercises like barbell squats.
Q: Which one is better, a hack squat or a regular squat?
A: In terms of a hack squat vs. squat, if you want to build muscle, a hack squat is better than a regular squat.
Q: Why are barbell back squats more popular than regular squatting?
A: It’s a move that comes naturally to the body and that builds more muscle over time.
Q: How do I replace back squats in my routine?
A: You can replace back squats with alternative exercises that work the same muscles, such as front squats.
Q: Which is better, a barbell hack squat or leg press?
A: It depends on your goals, but a hack squat is better for building more muscle.
Q: What are the benefits of front squats over back squats?
A: Front squats put less strain on your lower back.
Q: Will squatting all the way to the floor work my quads?
A: It depends on the angle of your body, but with a front squat, yes.
Q: Which one should I do first, deadlifts or squats?
A: Squats are more gentle on your muscles and slowly build them up, so it’s better to do them first to prepare your body for deadlifts.
Q: What muscles are involved in a barbell squat?
A: The adductors (groin muscles), the glutes, and the hamstrings.
Q: How do I squat without a rack?
A: You’ll want to lift with the barbell behind your back and with a wooden block that elevates your heels, barbell hack squat.
Q: What is the ideal number of squats?
A: There’s no real ideal number since it depends on the person’s strength, but generally speaking, we recommend 3 sets of 12 to 15 reps.
Have More Questions?
If you have more questions about the hack squat, we’re here to help.