Hack Squat Machine: How To, Muscle tissue Labored, & Advantages

Alongside the leg press, hack squat machines are one of the crucial fashionable items of gymnasium gear. That stated, a variety of questions additionally encompass the hack squat, akin to correct kind, setup, and easy methods to load it for particular objectives. 

Utilizing a hack squat machine can look and even really feel odd as it is a distinctive motion, however do not let that hold you from using it. It might be one of the best single train you are able to do to coach your quadriceps.

On this article, we’ll inform you every thing you must know concerning the hack squat. Let’s get began.

Desk of Contents:

  • What Is A Hack Squat Machine?
  • Hack Squat Machine: Muscle tissue Labored
  • Correct Hack Squat Type
  • 3 Finest Hack Squat Variations
  • How To Program Hack Squats
  • Hack Squat Advantages
  • FAQs

machine hack squats

What Is A Hack Squat Machine?

Earlier than we get into extra particulars on the hack machine, why is it even named “Hack”? It is a good query and may make clear what the hack squat is all about.

Within the late 1800s, there was an old-time strongman named George Hackenschmid. George was a extremely influential determine within the sport and fathered a number of workouts, together with the ground press and the “hack squat.”

He initially created the barbell hack squat to place extra stress on his quadriceps muscle groups whereas mitigating stress on the decrease again. To do that, he started to choose up a barbell off the bottom. Nevertheless, he picked it up from behind his again, inflicting him to sit down again with an upright torso and minimal hip flexion, placing maximal flexion within the knees.

Whereas very efficient, lifting a barbell from behind the again can also be very awkward. As such, the barbell hack squat is never seen today. As a substitute, the hack squat machine removes the barbell’s awkwardness but offers the entire identical the advantages.

Hack Squat Machine: Muscle tissue Labored

The hack squat is one in every of many compound workouts that trains all of the lower-body muscle groups. The distinction between it and different decrease physique workouts, akin to the normal squat, lies in the way it targets these muscle groups. 

As talked about, hack squat machines deal with the quadriceps, a bunch of 4 muscle groups that sit on the anterior of the higher thigh. These muscle groups are the first knee extensors, making them the primary muscle groups labored within the hack squat.

how to use hack squat machine

Your glutes and hamstrings are the opposite main muscle teams labored with hack squats as they’re wanted to increase the hips. Although the torso stays straight when the thighs come nearer to the chest as you descend right into a squat, you go into hip flexion.

Then, because the legs press the load up, it’s essential to prolong the hips to face and lock out the motion.

How To Use Hack Squat Machine: Correct Type

Performing the machine hack squat is kind of easy, and most lifters discover it comparatively snug. Whereas the train will be difficult when first making an attempt it, the motion is comparatively straightforward.

As talked about, hack squat machines include a sled that runs up and down a monitor on an angle. On the backside of the sled is a platform you stand on so your again is on the sled. On the prime of the sled are shoulder pads that you just stand below and deal with to seize.

hacksquat machine

How one can Use the Hack Squat Machine:

  • Stand along with your toes shoulder-width aside and about one step out. You’ll be able to flip your toes out barely if snug.
  • Enable the sled to come back down by flexing your knees whereas maintaining your again tight in opposition to the pad.
  • Come down till your knee makes a 90-degree angle, after which drive your physique up. On the prime, don’t lock out your knees however slightly keep “delicate knees.”

3 Hack Squat Variations

The hack squat finished in its authentic goal is a unbelievable train. That stated, there’s multiple approach to make use of the hack squat machine. Under are some superior hack squat variations to attempt the following time you need to change issues up.

1) Reverse Hack Squat:

The most typical variation of the hack squat is the reverse hack squat. To carry out it, flip round and face the sled with the shoulder pads over your shoulders.

When prepared, drive the hips again whereas maintaining your shins on the identical angle. You’re primarily performing a hip hinge, making the first motion at your hips slightly than the knees. Because of this, you will hit the glutes and hamstrings extra.

To be taught extra concerning the reverse hack squat, take a look at our devoted article right here: Is The Reverse Hack Squat Actually That Efficient?

2) Smith Machine Hack Squat:

The Smith machine hack squat is solely a hack squat finished on the Smith machine (shock!).

We like this model because the Smith machine stabilizes the bar path and makes it simpler to elevate. As well as, we will set the beginning place greater, additional eradicating a number of the awkwardness.

When you just like the sound of constructing main muscle on a Smith machine, take a look at our article: The Final Smith Machine Leg Exercises.

3) Landmine Sumo Deadlift:

Landmine workouts are a few of my all-time favorites, and the landmine sumo deadlift is not any exception.

The landmine sumo deadlift is an superior various to the hack squat. It retains the torso upright with important knee flexion, providing you with the hack squat’s advantages of elevated quad activation and diminished decrease again stress. 

How To Program Hack Squats

Programming the hack squat is comparatively straightforward to do. Because it’s a big, compound decrease physique train, it will likely be a main accent motion.

When you’re making an attempt to determine what coaching day to place them on, there are a couple of choices. For one, you possibly can clearly do them on leg day as your foremost squat sample.

As one Redditor asks in response to substituting the hack squat for a conventional barbell squat:

“What are your objectives? If it is purely hypertrophy, sure the hack squat is a superbly acceptable substitute. For lots of people it could be a better option as a result of particular person biomechanics, damage historical past, the extra stability it offers, and so on.” (supply)

You may additionally mix them with an upper-body push for a extra anterior, total-body session. Or, you possibly can even use them as a quad finisher for muscular endurance coaching.

On common, most individuals load the hack squat within the muscle hypertrophy vary of 75-85% 1RM. You may go barely heavier or lighter primarily based in your objectives, however it’s best to keep away from 95%-100% exertion. The knees shall be below immense strain throughout maximal lifts and PR makes an attempt.

hack squat smith machine 

3 Finest Hack Squat Advantages

You may need to program the hack squat into your regime for a lot of causes. Listed here are a few of our favourite advantages.

1) Focuses On The Quads:

As talked about, each decrease physique compound train will prepare your quads, however many decrease physique workouts are literally posterior dominant. For instance, even the deadlift has quadriceps activation, nevertheless it’s primarily a hamstrings and glute train.

There’s nothing flawed with posterior chain workouts, however it’s best to embody some quad-dominant workouts to have a well-rounded program.

2) Takes Stress Off The Again:

The again squat is the king of decrease physique workouts, however it may well place a variety of stress on the decrease again, even when carried out appropriately. On some coaching days, this may truly be the limiting think about your coaching. On different days, chances are you’ll simply be experiencing decrease again points.

If all you had in your arsenal have been again squat, you may name it a day. Nevertheless, when different squat variations can be found, you possibly can press on with coaching. Research have proven that the torso experiences considerably much less stress throughout the hack squat.

3) Optimizes Decrease Physique Power:

The human leg is insanely sturdy if all of the muscle groups work collectively.

You have got three foremost muscle groups that work in unison to generate maximal quantities of energy: the glutes, the hamstrings, and the quadriceps. Nevertheless, identical to a series, they’re solely sturdy as their weakest hyperlink. In different phrases, a weak muscle will restrict your complete decrease physique energy.

As talked about above, many decrease physique compound workouts are inclined to focus extra on the posterior muscle groups, however the hack squat prioritizes the quadriceps. It is one of many few compound workouts that does so.

As such, spending a while on hack squat machines will strengthen the quadriceps and achieve this in a compound train, making it extra transferrable to real-life energy.

Including the Hack Squat Machine to Your Dwelling Gymnasium

With advantages like these, including a hack squat machine to your private home gymnasium is a worthwhile funding, notably for those who regularly go for dwelling exercises.

The best choice to maximise your private home gymnasium gear’s effectivity and usefulness is to buy a combo machine, just like the Power USA 45-Diploma Leg Press/Hack Squat Combo. It is an incredible piece of equipment that may immediately double your choices and optimize your leg coaching.

That includes a 45-degree leg press, you’ll do hack squats, leg presses, calf raises, ahead thrusts, and extra. The 26 x 22″ foot plate lets you change your foot place to focus on varied leg muscle groups throughout your coaching. Lastly, it comes with 4 weight plate holders, 4 band pegs, and a lifetime structural guarantee.

hack squat machine

The Power USA Final Leg Press & Hack Squat Combo is engineered to develop explosive decrease physique energy and stable legs. Incorporates a 45 diploma angled design that mixes a leg press…


We all know you will have much more questions, so let’s take a minute and reply them right here.

How heavy is the hack squat machine with out weight?

Most hack squat machines have empty sleds that weigh round 110-130lbs.

Why are hack squats so arduous?

Hack squats are notoriously tough for a number of causes, akin to weak quadriceps or just being an unfamiliar motion.

Do hack squats work glutes?

Sure! Though we discuss it s a quadriceps motion, the glutes are utilized in nearly each decrease physique motion sample, together with the hack squat. 

Are hack squats dangerous for knees?

No kind of squat is inherently dangerous, however the hack squat can be dangerous for the knees for those who use improper kind.

Is a hack squat as efficient as a squat?

Each workouts are very efficient at constructing general leg energy. Conventional again squats are inclined to favor the posterior muscle groups, such because the hamstrings, whereas the hack squat favors the quadriceps.

Which is healthier, leg press or hack squat?

Your particular person coaching objectives will dictate what’s greatest. That stated, if we needed to decide one, it will be the leg press machine. One of many foremost elements is you could carry out many alternative variations of leg presses to maximise the muscle groups used. You may additionally purchase one of many combo machines to get one of the best of each worlds.

benefits of hack squat

A Abstract Of Machine Hack Squats

The hack squat is undoubtedly among the best workouts you need to construct leg muscle groups. After studying this text, it’s best to now be armed with every thing you must truly begin utilizing the hack squat machine as an alternative of simply gazing it and questioning what it does. 

Plus, if you additionally think about that it is a compound train that enables huge hundreds, you see that it is also simply as able to constructing severe leg energy as some other decrease physique motion. The truth is, I would go so far as to say that no exercise program needs to be with out the hack squat machine.

For extra nice workouts that work your decrease physique in the identical approach as a hack squat machine, take a look at these 8 Finest Hack Squat Alternate options. Concerned with including a leg press/hack squat combo to your private home gymnasium? Listed here are the ten Finest Leg Press Machines!

hack squat machines

F760 – From the heavy gauge metal, to the economic grade linear bearings, this machine is constructed to resist the hardest exercises – for a lifetime! Adjustable shoulder pads enable for a variety…


  1. Clark, David R.; Lambert, Michael I.; Hunter, Angus M.. Trunk Muscle Activation within the Again and Hack Squat on the Identical Relative Hundreds. Journal of Power and Conditioning Analysis 33(); July 2019. | DOI: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000002144
  2. Deniz, E., & Ulas, Y.H. (2019). Analysis of Muscle Actions Throughout Completely different Squat Variations Utilizing Electromyography Indicators.

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