Most often – powerlifters and weightlifters. Secondary Muscles Worked: Hamstrings, Calves, and Glutes. Stand on the foot platform with your back against the support pad. Stick with us for our video guide to the single leg hack squat and give this exercise a try. This means that the dominant side of your body works harder, causing the muscles on your non-dominant side to become weak. Avoid letting your head slip forwards away from the support. There isn’t any exercise worth replacing barbell squats, but that doesn’t mean that the hack squat isn’t worth doing! All you’ll need is a workout band like this and a pole or somewhere to fasten the band to. Welded steel frame. The Hack Squat is a popular exercise used by many weightlifters for lower-body development. Want to kick-start your career in the fitness industry? How to Perform the Machine Hack Squat. To try this, do 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps using 65-70% of your 1 rep max. To make this exercise even more difficult you can lean back while performing the sissy squat. This means one thing – the hack squat benefits your quads more than a free-weight squat. Keeping your head up throughout the entire movement will help you to keep this form. This is the holy grail of squatting. Position yourself on the footpads of the squat machine. So, stick with us, because after that we’ll explain all of the key hack squat vs squat similarities and differences. … Holding on to the side handles, extend your left leg to push you the weight up off the stack and move the side handles to disengage the safety bars. Reverse Hack Squat Machine. Opposed to the front hack squat, the main reverse hack squat muscles worked are the hamstrings and the glutes. For an easy hack squat alternative, stand upright with your feet hip-width apart and hold a dumbbell in each hand at arm’s length. Barbell squats are one of the best exercises you can do, they have tons of varied benefits and definitely deserve a spot in your workout. Secondary Muscles Worked: Glutes, Hamstrings, Calves, Lower Back and Core. As with barbell squats, there are a number of variations which can be performed on the machine. Even if the dominant side can manage with a particular weight, there’s a risk of injury if you overload the weaker side of your body. Let’s break each lift down a bit further so you can try both variations for yourself. For a more advanced variation, try the reverse hack squat machine. Despite their humorous name, the benefits of sissy squats are abundant when added into an everyday workout routine. Find a fixed spot to look at to keep your head up. Check out the hack squat benefits below and you’ll be convinced. For this exercise, we recommend 10-12 reps for 3-4 sets. The barbell hack squat benefits those who want to workout from a home gym or don’t want to wait around for the machine to be free. In case your gym does not provide you a hack squat machine, you can always train your legs on a smith machine,barbell squats, seated leg press, and lunges with dumbbells. Depending on what exactly you want to pump more, this or that exercise is chosen. Most of our real-life movement involves the body moving toward the legs, so it makes sense to mimic that in … The best substitution is the basic Squat. In this article, we will tell you how to perform it using the hack squat machine. You’re probably wondering what’s wrong with regular barbell squats? Remember that the hack squat machine itself will add to the resistance (exactly how much it weighs varies from machine to machine), and the movement is less of a compound movement compared to the standard squat, so there is more stress on the main muscles worked. If you’re looking for an easier or more advanced hack squat alternative, stick with us for all of the best alternatives and variations of this exercise. To see serious development in the size and strength of your quad muscles, find the hack squat machine in your gym and follow our video guide to executing this movement perfectly. This unilateral movement is an advanced exercise that’s executed on the hack squat machine. If you’re not confident that you have enough strength in your knees to safely execute this exercise, the leg press is a good hack squat alternative that won’t put as much strain on your knees. Depending on your strength and ability you should choose a band that will make this exercise difficult, but that isn’t pulling you forward or off balance. You may not even be aware, but a lot of the time the dominant side of your body takes on more of the load of a bilateral exercise (like the regular hack squat) compared to your non-dominant side. The Quads are the main muscles worked for the standard leg press, and the secondary muscles are the Calves, Glutes, and Hamstrings. Your email address will not be published. The movement is pretty similar for both the hack squat and regular squats. In turn, your quads do more work. We’re not denying that barbell squats are the ultimate leg exercise. Holding an MA Marketing Communications and Branding as well as a BSc Psychology from the University of Liverpool, Abbie’s experience encompasses the retail, hospitality and fitness industries. Leg Presses are pretty much the opposite movement if you are looking for a machine-based alternative. Keeping hold of the safety handles, inhale and slowly lower the weight by bending at the knees. Now recently my gym has gotten in a new hack squat machine and being the impressionable lifter that I am, I just had to use it. For this substitute, all you’ll need is a smith machine, weights, and a barbell pad. The hack squat machine provides the movement with stability and support, so if your quads are strong enough, you can load the machine with a lot of weight. Push through your heels to straighten your legs (without hyperextending your knees), until you reach the starting position. Pause when your legs are extended (never hyperextend the knee) and hold the weight for a second. Instead, grab a weight and hold it at chest level. Push the weight back up to the starting position, contracting the quad muscles as you extend your leg. Because of this, the movement also engages the core muscles. This is because the placement of weight and your position in the hack squat machine forces an upright position which keeps the main emphasis of the movement on the quads. It’s vital that you keep your back and your glutes against the padded support throughout the entire execution of this exercise. If you want to be more specific in the part of the quad that you’re training, you can emphasise either the inner or outer quad by adjusting the position of your foot on the platform. Place your feet should-width apart on the platform. If your knees are further forward than your toes, your feet are too low on the footplate. So why are we even suggesting that you consider a hack squat instead? When your thighs are close to parallel to the ground, pause for a second. This stance puts the stress on the quadriceps, butt and inner thighs. Ensure that your back is straight and your chest is up. You just can’t go wrong with the Squat. If you have a lower back injury, try a barbell hack squat, or if there’s a trap bar at your gym the trap bar deadlift is a killer quad exercise that protects your lower back. Once you’ve completed the recommended sets and reps, engage the safety bars and then step off the machine. Another benefit of the machine specifically is that exercising on the machine makes it easy to get the right form. The machine hack squat and barbell hack squat may look completely different but they work toward the same goal. Your body should be as upright as possible and you should be keeping your chest up through the entirety of the exercise. In which case, maybe you’re in the wrong place. But first, here’s how to do a hack squat on the machine. Although this is an easier hack squat alternative, we’d say that the barbell variation is the safer option for your lower back. However, the fixed range of motion exercised on the machine forces an unnatural movement which can cause joint injuries if you use a lot of weight. Its arguable that the machine makes this exercise easier than barbell squats, but it’s important to remember that hack squats are still a killer workout for your quads. And about these of back squats, front squats, Sumo squats or overhead squats are also ideal alternatives to challenge yourself. Extend your knees and drive your hips forwards to lift the barbell. Load the machine with as much weight as you can manage for your less dominant leg. The leg extension machine is another great substitute that can be found at almost every gym. If you’re a newbie at the gym, start off adding a small amount of weight to the machine and slowly increase the resistance as you get stronger. To put more emphasis on the quads, stand with each of your heels raised on a platform or weight plate and your toes on the ground. To make this exercise even more difficult you can hold a weight while performing it. You could also use the hack squat as a pump exercise to warm up the legs, mainly the quads, before a barbell squat. You can perform the hack squat at a 45-degree angle, which provides a more controlled movement and allows you to go deeper than a traditional squat. The lower you place your feet on the platform, the more the exercise will work the quads. Beyond OriGym, she describes herself as a ‘work-hard, play-hard’ type going on scenic runs and upbeat exercise classes, and often found on the front row of a Saturday morning spin class. If you do want to improve the aesthetic of your quads, the hack squat is definitely worth considering. Hack Squat. Let us know in the comments section below. Now that we’ve cleared up how to do a hack squat and a barbell squat with proper form, check out the similarities and the differences between the two. An important thing to remember when executing the single leg hack squat is that you should load the machine with as much weight that you can manage with your non-dominant side, regardless of whether you can go heavier with your dominant side. If you’re serious about having quads that look like they’ve been carved by the gods, try the single leg hack squat. Stop lowering your body when your thighs are parallel with the floor. When it comes to developing the lower-body, the hack squat (or hack squats) performed with the machine is the preferred choice of bodybuilders and weightlifters.It is generally done on a sled, which appears to be similar to a Smith machine, letting you do the squat … One of the main differences is that the exercise machines like the hack squat machine provide stability for the movement. Titan Fitness’ hack squat machine is another one that’s combined with a leg press, and is one of the more affordable… For strength building, we recommend a 5x5 training system for this exercise so, 5 sets of 5 reps. Do 5 reps per set for 5 sets with around 85% of your 1 rep max. Contract your quads and slowly flex your knee to lower the footplate back towards the starting position. For a hack squat alternative that doesn’t require a big piece of exercise machinery, try barbell hack squats. If you want to target the quads specifically, the hack squat triumphs. Needless to say, I’m a fan boy. Meanwhile, the glutes and the hamstrings are also recruited to drive your body upwards from the bottom of a barbell squat. The main muscles worked by the reverse hack squat are the Hamstrings and the Glutes, this movement also recruits the Calves and Quads as secondary muscles. This is very important for preventing extra strain on your joints or even injury. In this position, make sure that your knees are in line with your toes. Additionally, hack squat machines are quite common and should be included in most local gyms. Extend your legs to stand up so but don’t lock at your knees – this is your starting position. For that reason, this is a great exercise for bodybuilders, or anyone focused on the aesthetic benefits of exercising. The normal stance of the barbell hack squat is with your feet placed at shoulder-width apart. First, unlike squats performed with free weights—which require lots of core stability on your part—hack squats keep your upper back and hips in a stable position, explains McCall. To make sure that the movement emphasises the quads, keep your upper body straight and upright.