Find out how to Do the Hack Squat: Alternate options, Type, and Advantages


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The hack squat is a lower-body train involving a hack squat machine.

It’s a go-to train for a lot of gym-goers as a result of it trains your whole decrease physique with out stressing your knees and again as a lot as different free-weight squatting workouts.

What’s extra, it helps you develop lower-body energy, energy, pace, and agility, making it a superb choice for athletes. 

On this article, you’ll study what the hack squat (and hack squat machine) is, why it’s useful, the muscular tissues labored by the hack squat, easy methods to carry out correct hack squat kind, one of the best hack squat 

What Is A Hack Squat?

The hack squat is a lower-body energy coaching train.

Initially, weightlifters carried out the hack squat by putting a loaded barbell behind their heels, squatting down, gripping the barbell, then standing up. In reality, that is how the train acquired its identify—”hack” comes from the German phrase “hacke,” which interprets to “heel.”

These days, nonetheless, most individuals favor the machine hack squat to the barbell hack squat. As such, the machine hack squat is the variation we’ll concentrate on on this article.

The machine hack squat includes a hack squat machine, which is a bit of exercise gear that helps your again whilst you carry out the train and makes including weight extra simple.

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Hack Squat vs. Leg Press: Which Is Higher?

It relies upon.

The hack squat trains your quads by means of a larger vary of movement, which suggests it’s possible barely higher for coaching your quads than the leg press.

Nonetheless, the leg press is much less taxing in your decrease again and customarily much less fatiguing total. This makes it extra appropriate for individuals with lower-back points and for coaching your legs on the finish of a exercise while you’re already feeling ragged. 

After all, there’s no purpose to incorporate simply one in all these workouts in your program—one of the best resolution for most individuals is to do each (or to do the leg press or hack squat and one other squat variation). 

A great way to do that is to incorporate the hack squat in your program for 8-to-10 weeks of coaching, take a deload, then substitute the hack squat with the leg press for the next 8-to-10 weeks of coaching.

Then, you may both proceed alternating between the workouts each few months like this or keep on with the one you like.

That is how I personally like to arrange my coaching, and it’s just like the strategy I advocate in my health books for women and men, Larger Leaner Stronger and Thinner Leaner Stronger

(And if you happen to’d like much more particular recommendation about what workouts to incorporate in your coaching program to succeed in your well being and health targets, take the Legion Energy Coaching Quiz, and in lower than a minute, you’ll know the right energy coaching program for you. Click on right here to test it out.)

Hack Squat vs. Squat: Which Is Higher?

It relies upon.

The hack squat and again squat are each efficient workouts for coaching all of the muscular tissues of the legs, although the barbell squat is probably going higher at coaching stabilizer muscular tissues throughout your whole physique and secondary muscle teams such because the decrease again.

That mentioned, some individuals lack the mobility to carry out the again squat correctly or can’t carry out it due to preexisting accidents that make it unsafe or uncomfortable.

For these individuals, the hack squat is a greater choice, no less than till they develop the mobility to carry out the again squat with correct kind or get well from their damage.

Normally, there’s no purpose to decide on simply one in all these workouts, although. The most effective resolution for most individuals is to incorporate each workouts of their program. 

A great way to do that is to begin your leg exercise with the again squat, then carry out the hack squat later in your exercise when supporting muscular tissues like your decrease again are bushed, however your legs can nonetheless handle one other few units.

Hack Squat: Advantages

1. It trains your whole decrease physique.

Many individuals suppose you carry out the hack squat for quads.

Whereas it’s true that the hack squat is a extremely efficient quad train, it additionally trains your whole decrease physique, together with the glutes, hamstrings, and calves. It additionally trains your core and decrease again to a lesser diploma, too. 

2. It’s extra joint-friendly than different lower-body workouts.

Analysis reveals that the hack squat locations much less stress in your backbone and knees than different lower-body workouts, together with the entrance, again, and sumo squat.

As such, the hack squat is a superb lower-body train for people who find themselves coaching round or making an attempt to keep away from reaggravating a again or knee damage and discover different free-weight squatting workouts uncomfortable.

3. It might enhance athletic efficiency.

Analysis reveals that the hack squat helps you develop lower-body energy, energy, pace, and agility, which makes it a superb train for athletes who play sports activities that require you to leap, dash, or change route at pace. 

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Hack Squat: Foot Placement

Many individuals consider that altering your foot placement on the hack squat machine significantly influences which lower-body muscular tissues the hack squat emphasizes. 

There could also be a kernel of reality to this concept, nevertheless it’s nonetheless extra flawed than proper.

There’s no analysis investigating how hack squat toes place impacts muscle development particularly. Nonetheless, scientists have checked out how altering your foot place in the course of the leg press and squat impacts muscle activation. 

Because the hack squat, leg press, and squat are related lower-body workouts, we are able to possible use the outcomes of those research to grasp the impact of fixing your foot placement on the hack squat.

As an example, analysis reveals that putting your toes excessive on the leg press machine’s footplate (so your toes nearly hold off the highest) will increase glute and hamstring activation, and putting your toes low on the footplate (so your heels nearly hold off the underside) will increase quad activation.

In each circumstances, nonetheless, the distinction in activation is slight. And since extra muscle activation doesn’t all the time imply extra muscle development, it isn’t clear how a lot altering the peak of your foot placement impacts your long-term outcomes.

Issues are much more ambiguous relating to stance width and foot orientation.

Whereas most leg press analysis reveals that muscle activation in your legs is identical no matter how large your stance is or the way you level your toes, some squat research present that taking a wider stance emphasizes your glutes and hamstrings, taking a narrower stance preferentially trains your quads, and pointing your toes out will increase activation in your adductor longus (internal thigh muscular tissues).

Once more, although, these research solely measure muscle activation, not muscle development, which makes it troublesome to say whether or not tinkering together with your stance width and foot orientation has a significant impact on long-term muscle positive factors.

With this in thoughts, essentially the most secure, efficient, and cozy hack squat foot placement for most individuals will likely be one which locations your toes midway up the footplate, somewhat wider than shoulder-width aside, and together with your toes pointing barely outward.

Hack Squat: Muscle tissues Labored

The principle muscular tissues labored by the hack squat are the . . .

  • Quadriceps
  • Hamstrings
  • Glutes
  • Calves

It additionally trains the core and decrease again to a lesser extent, too.

Right here’s how the primary muscular tissues labored by the hack squat look in your physique:

hack squat

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Hack Squat: Type

One of the simplest ways to study easy methods to hack squat is to separate the train into three elements: arrange, descend, and squat.

hack squat

1. Arrange

Load the hack squat machine with the specified quantity of weight, then place your toes shoulder-width aside on the footplate together with your toes pointed barely outward, your shoulders in opposition to the shoulder pads, and your again in opposition to the backrest.

Seize the protection handles, then straighten your knees and use the handles to launch the load. 

2. Descend

Take a deep breath into your abdomen and brace your abs, then whereas preserving your again pressed in opposition to the backrest, decrease your physique by bending your knees. Enable your knees to maneuver ahead in the identical route as your toes. 

Preserve reducing your physique till the angle between your calves and thighs is 90 levels or barely much less.

3. Ascent

Drive your toes into the footplate and straighten your knees to return to the beginning place. This can be a mirror picture of what you probably did in the course of the descent. 

Right here’s how correct hack squat kind ought to look while you put all of this collectively:


The Finest Hack Squat Alternate options

1. Reverse Hack Squat

The reverse hack squat is identical because the common hack squat, besides you carry out the train dealing with the machine reasonably than away from it. 

By performing the train whereas dealing with the machine you shift the emphasis to your posterior chain (the muscular tissues on the again of your physique), which makes the reverse hack squat various for these seeking to develop their glutes and hamstrings greater than their quads. 

2. Barbell Hack Squat

The barbell hack squat lets you prepare the identical muscular tissues to the same diploma because the machine hack squat, making it a superb hack squat substitute while you don’t have entry to a hack squat machine

3. Landmine Hack Squat

The landmine hack squat is a hack squat variation that makes use of a landmine attachment and barbell rather than a hack squat machine. Equally to the common hack squat, the landmine hack squat trains your entire lower-body muscular tissues, which makes it a viable various if you wish to change up your coaching.

4. Smith Machine Hack Squat

In case your health club doesn’t have a hack squat machine, the Smith machine hack squat is a worthy various. That’s as a result of it lets you prepare the identical muscular tissues to a comparable diploma. Moreover, since you use a Smith machine, it’s as secure and straightforward to regulate because the common model. 

5. Entrance Squat

The entrance squat isn’t a hack squat variation, per se, however a free-weight various to the hack squat that trains the identical muscular tissues. 

FAQ #1: Are you able to do a hack squat and not using a machine?


The most effective various to the hack squat that doesn’t require a hack squat machine is the barbell hack squat.

To carry out the barbell hack squat, place a loaded barbell behind your legs, squat down and grip the barbell, then rise up.

FAQ #2: The place can I study easy methods to use a hack squat machine?

To study easy methods to use a hack squat machine, comply with the directions above. 

Or, if you happen to’d favor extra hands-on instruction, converse to a coach at your health club. They need to be capable of present you easy methods to use your health club’s hack squat machine and clarify easy methods to use correct hack squat kind

FAQ #3: Pendulum Squat vs. Hack Squat: What’s the Distinction?

The pendulum squat is a lower-body train that makes use of the pendulum squat machine.

The principle distinction between the pendulum squat and hack squat is the pendulum squat machine is configured in order that the train is most difficult on the high of every rep and best on the backside. 

That is the alternative of the hack squat (and all different squat workouts), which suggests the pendulum squat trains your decrease physique barely in another way.

That’s to not say the pendulum squat is best—each workouts prepare the identical muscular tissues equally nicely, so when you have entry to a pendulum squat machine, it’s wise to incorporate each workouts in your program.

+ Scientific References


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