How to do Hack Squat: Benefits, Variations, Alternatives

How to do Hack Squat: Benefits, Variations, Alternatives

Surely you’ve been working the quadriceps during leg day and they put you in the routine of the hack squat. This is a guided machine exercise that favors the development of the quadriceps because keeping the body more stable, you can focus on moving more weight.  

This is a variant of the normal squat that helps you optimize work on the knee extensor muscles. However, if the technique is not performed well, it can lead to injury.

In this article, we are going to tell you everything you need to know about the hack squat so that you can perform it correctly and reap its benefits.

What is Hack Squat? 

This type of exercise is designed to work the quadriceps in isolation. By relaxing the stabilizer muscles, as this is a machine-guided movement, we can isolate the quadriceps well to increase the load and pressure placed on them.  They are performed on an inclined plane which has some advantages which we will see later.

The name of the hack squat comes from the name of the machine where we make it called the hack press. It is a press that is tilted and has a backrest that runs from top to bottom via two moving rails. When backed up, the weight of the lateral support is deposited on it. By isolating the quadriceps we can work with more weight.

The supports are located on the shoulder which will also help with pushing. This is a fairly effective exercise that brings many benefits even if you do not work out with high intensity.  It also helps to warm up without putting weight on it, as we can have a full guided range of motion that helps stimulate the muscles we are going to work.

Also Read: Top 6 Leg Workout For Mass

How to do Hack Squat with Proper Technique? 

A hack squat needs a machine, so you’ll probably need to go to the gym to do it.

Hack squat

  • Load the machine with the weight that you want. Before adding a lot of plates, it’s a good idea to get used to how the machine moves.
  • In the machine, put your feet shoulder-width apart and your shoulders and back on the pads. Then, step into the machine.
  • It is time to let go of the safety handles. Inhale, and lower yourself down until your knees are at a 90-degree angle.
  • There is a pause here. Then push up through the backs of your feet to extend your legs back to where they were before you started.
  • Sets: Start by completing 2 sets, then work your way up to 3 sets.
  • Rep: 10–12 reps, once you can complete this easily, add more weight.

Hack Squat Variations

Keep your training varied, fun, and effective by adding in different variations.

Reverse Hack Squat

Reverse Hack Squat | Hack Squat

In this case, you try to do the exercise but face the backrest. This pose helps in charging the muscles to enhance the work of the knees in a better way. In addition, it favors the performance of the gluteus while pushing.

Narrow Hack Squat

Narrow hack squat | Hack Squat

As with a traditional hack squat, you’ll set up in the machine the same technique should be followed here as well.

To complete the action, pull your feet closer together instead of keeping them shoulder-width apart. On the ascent, you should continue to push with your feet. The quadriceps get a lot of attention in this exercise.

Barbell Hack Squat

Barbell hack squat | Hack Squat

Another version is to position yourself in a flexion position and place a bar behind the heel, squatting against it with the palms of the hands facing back. 

We should lean back slightly and contract the abdominal band. Look, we have to keep it forward and feet parallel to the width of the shoulders. The breathing and movements will be done in the same way as in the traditional hack squat.

Also Read: How To Get Rid Of Skinny Legs: 5 Skinny Legs Workout

Hack Squat Alternatives

The 8 best alternatives are:

  • V-Squat
  • Landmine Squat
  • Leg Press
  • Safety Bar Squat
  • Barbell Hack Squat
  • Goblet Squat
  • Front Squat
  • Hatfield Squat

Benefits Of Doing Hack Squat

The main purpose of this type of exercise is to strengthen our quadriceps so that they work in isolation. This is a fairly safe exercise because we have support and a directed movement.  The back should be supported during the performance to avoid overloading the legs.  The spine and pelvis are less likely to move and this makes it a very safe exercise.

The advantage of this exercise is that it does not cause movement in the body and does not work the stabilizer muscles. The disadvantage is that it isn’t a multiple-joint exercise like the traditional squat, but it is a good alternative to complementing the exercises of a training routine and making it more complete.

As for the muscles involved in this exercise, we obviously have the quadriceps, but being the femoral biceps stretching and glute exercise, it also helps during the pushing phase. Remember that legs require a bit more training volume because they are larger muscles.


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