Skip to main content

How To Do Hack Squats

What Is A Hack Squat

How To Do Hack Squats

The hack squat is a variation of the squat that is performed on a hack squat machine. Compared to other squats, the hack squat requires less balance and stability as the torso is fixed in place throughout the exercise.

The angle of the hack squat also changes the muscles worked. It puts greater demand on the quads, and less reliance on the erector spinae, glutes, and hamstrings vs other squats. This makes it a great exercise for anyone looking to focus more on building strength in their quads.

Commonly Asked Questions On Hack Squats

  • The hack squat targets the lower body muscles, with most of the work coming from the quads. This is because the back support from the machine means the glutes and hamstrings are recruited less, so the quads have to work harder to shift the same weight.

  • Hack squats are not better or worse than regular squats, but the different variations are more suitable for different goals. Hack squats activate the quads more, so are a great exercise if your goal is to really challenge the quadriceps. However, they require less stability and challenge less muscle groups than regular squats, so if your goal is well rounded strength and stability, back squats may be more suitable.

  • Hack squats are a challenging movement and due to the reduced involvement from the hamstrings and glutes, you’ll be unable to lift as much with the hack squat as you would other squat variations. However, you may find the form easier to master as there is greater assistance from the machine.

Hack Squat Tips

When performing a hack squat, make sure to keep your back flat against the support pad throughout the whole movement, and your heels flat on the platform.

Changing your foot position can alter the angle of the muscles worked. If you want to keep the focus on your quads, place your feet at the bottom of the plate. Having your feet higher will recruit the hamstrings more.

How To Do Hack Squats

  1. Step on the to machine and position yourself so that your back is flat against the support with a neutral back and shoulder pads rest on your shoulders.

  2. Retract your shoulders blades back and adopt a shoulder width stance on the plate.

  3. Push up through your feet to unlock the machine and then extend your legs up, making sure to keep a soft bend in the knee to avoid your legs locking out.

  4. Sink your hips down by bending at the knee, stopping until your thighs are parallel with the floor.

  5. Push through your feet to drive back up to the starting position, making sure to push through the whole of each foot and not just the heel.

  6. As you return to standing, keep a soft bend in the knee.

If you’re not sure if any of the above exercises are suitable for you, please consult your doctor before you start it. Need guidance on how to perform the exercise? Ask a personal trainer at your gym.