What Is A Hack Squat?

With the present recognition of lifehacks, it’s straightforward to imagine the hack squat is a few trendy variation meant to resolve an issue with the normal squat. And although the transfer was created to modify up regular weighted or easy bodyweight squats, individuals have been hack squatting for the reason that late 1800s. 

The hack squat is usually credited to wrestler George Hackenschmidt (therefore the “Hack” within the title), who designed the transfer to alleviate the impression on the again and hips whereas isolating the quad muscular tissues labored for focused improvement. Whereas some elements of the exercise have advanced over the past century, its thigh-toning ethos stays.

So, what do you might want to know to soundly execute one like The Russian Lion himself? Under, we’ll cowl why the transfer is value rediscovering and how you can loop it into your exercise routine.

How one can Execute a Conventional Hack Squat

There a couple of variations of the normal squat: V squat vs Hack squat vs body weight vs sumo, and the listing goes on. However one of the vital well-liked squat variations is the hack squat. Again when bodybuilding was in its infancy, Hackenschmidt didn’t have the kind of equipment used for hack squats in trendy gyms. He did, nevertheless, have barbells and a want to get stronger. Sooner or later, he determined to mix the 2, bent down on the knees, and gave beginning to the hack squat.

The kind of hack squats The Russian Lion was doing on the flip of the twentieth century require little tools and are nonetheless broadly practiced at this time. Right here’s how you can prep for a conventional hack squat:

  1. Select your weight – Your weight for a hack squat isn’t going to be as heavy as different squat variations. The ability wanted to drag off a hack squat comes primarily out of your quadriceps, so assess your power there earlier than deciding how a lot to choose up. Typically, you need to have the ability to do 2 to 4 units of 8 to 12 repetitions, so select a weight that fits these targets.Will it’s comfy? They’re squats, so likelihood is, you’ll really feel the burn—simply be sure to keep up kind all through.
  2. Arrange – Discover an space with a mat or different non-slip floor appropriate for any sort of squat. You shouldn’t be dropping the load any vital distance, however a padded, shock-absorbing flooring can’t damage in case you by accident let go. Place a barbell loaded with plates on the bottom behind you and put together to raise.
  3. Take maintain – Squat down in a beginning place as you’d for a conventional squat and seize the burden from behind you with an overhand grip. On this place, you have to be nearly sitting on the bar together with your arms holding it subsequent to your thighs. The soles of your footwear needs to be completely flat on the bottom. 

Bend low at your knees and hold your backbone as straight as doable. Should you discover grabbing the burden from this angle too troublesome, you should use a platform or rack to raise it. Then, merely step ahead after securing it to start your set with a downward movement.

  1. Drive upwards – Begin pushing out of your ft upwards to raise the burden. You must really feel the vast majority of the pressure being exerted out of your thighs. Because the bar climbs greater, stretch out your hips and straighten your legs as a lot as doable. As you attain full extension, flex your quads tightly to raise the burden that additional little bit. Your again needs to be straight as an arrow all through this whole motion to forestall harm.
  2. Ease downwards – Return the burden to the bottom with a sluggish, managed motion. Primarily, reverse the motions you probably did to raise the burden. Bend on the knees and decrease your posterior till you’re once more nearly sitting on the bar. Backbone stability is essential—at no level in the entire motion ought to your again bend.
  3. Repeat till you attain your objective – Preserve pushing till you’ve hit the reps and units you’re aiming for. As with every train, guarantee adequate relaxation between units, usually round 2 to three minutes. Depart not less than 48 hours between exercises as properly– although your muscular tissues would possibly welcome a couple of additional days off!

This tried and true technique of hack squatting is a alternative technique for free-weight aficionados and people with restricted tools. It has a dozen many years of confirmed beneficial properties underneath its weightlifting belt, and it’s an efficient train as long as you nail the shape.

If the barbell hack squat isn’t your factor, nevertheless, there’s one other, extra trendy technique of hack squatting that’s turn out to be well-liked in weightlifting communities.

How To Use a Machine to Hack Squat

In truth, there are two right solutions to the query “What are hack squats?” They are often carried out with or with out machine help, and each kinds of train differ barely from one another. The barbell hack squat options embrace machine hack squat exercises. Should you’re fortunate sufficient to be a member at a health club with a hack squat machine, you should use trendy know-how to use George Hackenschmidt’s age-old health finesse. 

The method of hack squatting with a machine is just like doing it with free weights, however with a couple of twists. To start:

  1. Set and cargo the machine – Set the machine to a place the place the helps relaxation comfortably in your shoulders once you’re at full extension. You must have the ability to deal with a heavier load with machine help than when lifting free weights, simply be certain to not pile on an excessive amount of to keep away from harm. You possibly can all the time add, however if you happen to damage your self, you possibly can’t raise something.
  2. Climb in – Get within the beginning place together with your again firmly in opposition to the rear pad with the helps squarely in your shoulders. Your foot placement needs to be according to your physique, dealing with ahead, and planted flatly on the platform. Launch the security handles and…
  3. Slide down – The stress of the burden and the pressure of gravity ought to naturally start to push you downwards. Bend on the knees and slowly decrease the burden till your quads are at a few 90° angle from the machine’s body. Your again ought to stay firmly planted in opposition to the pad, and the quantity you tackle shouldn’t really feel prefer it’s crushing you.
  4. Push again up – Drive your ft into the platform and stretch out your legs to their most. As with the conventional hack squat, flex your quads pon full extension to raise the load as excessive as you possibly can.
  5. Do extra – Related guidelines relating to reps, units, and relaxation govern machine-assisted and free-weight hack squats. Do what you’re comfy with, set targets, and observe plans to outdo your self the following time you head out to hack.

Each kinds of hack squats promote decrease physique muscle group improvement and result in a stronger you. They’re fairly particular within the space they aim, nevertheless, so hack squats won’t be the appropriate train to match everybody’s targets.

Regular Squats vs. Free Weight Hack Squats vs. Machine-assisted Hack Squats

Hack squats are a compound train particularly tailor-made to focus on the quadriceps. That stated, no muscle actually works alone. When doing any train, we (inadvertently or not) work a number of elements of our physique without delay.

Totally different workout routines can be utilized to isolate particular muscular tissues for max work and development. To grasp whether or not or not hack squats can assist you obtain your health targets, you possibly can contemplate what they work vis-a-vis typical squats:

  • Common squats – The normal squat is the steadfast raise of leg day which, in line with well-liked recommendation, is rarely to be skipped. It’s definitely a go-to for these on the lookout for all-around improvement, particularly across the glutes. 

In truth although, regular squats are multifaceted and have interaction your leg muscular tissues, hips, and again. Additionally they enhance knee power and even activate core muscular tissues. Should you’re seeking to enhance power basically, it’s onerous to discover a higher motion than the basic squat. 

  • Free weight hack squats – As beforehand famous, hack squats are formulated to isolate the quadriceps and work them as a lot as doable. Utilizing free weights, nevertheless, doesn’t totally eradicate the activation of different muscle teams. The barbell squat requires you to interact a lot of your physique with the intention to stabilize and stability the load. These muscular tissues closest to the quads—your calves, glutes, and decrease again—will come into play, notably when hack squatting with free weights.
  • Hack squats with a machine – Machines can optimally isolate muscular tissues by eliminating kind breaks and doing the work of stabilizing masses for you. Even on a hack squat machine, you received’t solely have interaction your quadriceps throughout repetitions. The remainder of you received’t must do almost as a lot work throughout a machine hack squat, nevertheless, which suggests your quads will take the brunt of the load. 

Now that you’ve a greater concept of which leg muscular tissues, in addition to different muscle teams, completely different squats optimally activate, you possibly can determine which fashion to execute subsequent time you hit the health club. 

Or, you could possibly strive all of them—no matter feels best for you!

Pop Your Excellent Squat at Chuze Health

Should you’re on the lookout for a premier place to provide hack squatting a go, come work out with the health execs at Chuze Fitness. Whether or not you’re hacking with free weights, a machine, or sticking to the basic squat, Chuze has the area and tools for you.

Not a lot of a squatter? No downside—browse the iChuze app for inspiration for all types of exercises, from newbie’s yoga to HIIT, to find video sequence for each health stage.

Whether or not you be part of one in all Chuze’s group fitness classes or practice 1:1 with an skilled coach, the professionals at Chuze need you to go away feeling impressed (and perspired). Discover a Chuze in your space by trying to find “gyms near me” and cease by to find out how our group can assist you obtain your health desires.


Reviewed By:

Ani is the Vice President of Health at Chuze Health and oversees the group health and workforce coaching departments. She’s had a 25+ yr profession in membership administration, private coaching, group train and teacher coaching. Ani lives along with her husband and son in San Diego, CA and loves sizzling yoga, snowboarding and all issues wellness.




  1. Males’s Well being. Need Monster Quads? Time to Be taught the Hack Squat. https://www.menshealth.com/fitness/a28133625/hack-squat/
  2. BarBend. George Hackenschmidt: The Father of the Bench Press and Hack Squat. https://barbend.com/george-hackenschmidt/ 
  3. Bodily Tradition Research. Three Outdated-Faculty Squats You’re Not Doing. https://physicalculturestudy.com/2017/02/02/three-old-school-squats-youre-not-doing/
  4. Livestrong. A Hack Squat Vs. A Again Squat. https://www.livestrong.com/article/538392-a-hack-squat-vs-a-back-squat/
  5. Bodily Tradition Research. Three Outdated-Faculty Squats You’re Not Doing. https://physicalculturestudy.com/2017/02/02/three-old-school-squats-youre-not-doing/
  6. Livestrong. A Hack Squat Vs. A Again Squat. https://www.livestrong.com/article/538392-a-hack-squat-vs-a-back-squat/
  7. Muscle and Power. Machine Hack Squat Video Train Information. https://www.muscleandstrength.com/exercises/hack-squat.html
  8. Nationwide Library of Medication. Variations within the muscle actions of the quadriceps femoris and hamstrings whereas performing numerous squat workout routines. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8783452/
  9. College of Delaware. Free Weights Vs. Machines: How do you have to select?. https://sites.udel.edu/coe-engex/2018/04/03/free-weights-vs-machines-how-should-you-choose/