Hack Squats: Correct Technique, Variations, Alternatives

This is a nominal exercise developed by Georg Gakkenshmidt for pumping the lower body: buttocks, abs, ankles, square muscle, calves, but the main emphasis is on quadriceps.


Features Of Hack Squat

Before choosing hack squats for your workouts, you need to figure out what it is, what tasks these exercises perform, and what muscles work.

Most of the load falls on the quadriceps – the femoral muscle, which is called the quadriceps, it includes 4 large muscles: 3 oblique and 1 straight, they form the front of the thigh. Their main function is to bend the knees and the hip joint.

Hack exercises activate a huge part of muscle fibers not only in the hips. Squats are good for the buttocks, abs, and calf muscles. As a result of regular and correct training, an increase in muscle mass and its relief depiction are observed. Well, of course, in the classroom you have to give all the best to the program – therefore, calories are actively burned and weight loss occurs.


Hack squat machine exercise variations

For home workouts, such squats are not entirely suitable. They nave difficult techniques and can harm not only muscles but also joints with ligaments.

And to check whether you are doing everything correctly, a trainer in the gym or those who have already mastered these exercises can.

Therefore, it is better to acquire the necessary skills in front of experienced athletes. They will help you choose the most suitable option for squats.

Barbell hack squat proper form and technique

At home, you can do hack squats with a barbell.

Execution technique

  • Warm your muscles.
  • Prepare the bar, set the working weight on the bar.
  • Stand so that the bar is behind you. Legs are shoulder-width apart.
  • Bend your knees, grab the bar from the top with a direct grip.
  • At a moderate pace, get back to the starting position: the back should be level, the head is looking forward, the arms are straightened, the bar is held behind the back.
  • Without lowering your head, squat so that your hips are parallel to the floor, but your knees should not protrude beyond your toes.
  • Without rest, rise to the starting position, pressing on the heels.
  • Perform the desired number of repetitions.

Hack Squats Technique

Helpful tips:

  • the chin points up;
  • push heels into the floor as much as possible to protect the spine from overloads and prevent injuries.

Exercise variations

  • Classic barbell hack squats: the feet are parallel to each other.
  • To pump the outside of the quadriceps: we spread the heels to the sides.
  • To increase the load on the inner part of the thigh: we part with the socks.

Hack squat machine exercises

Hack machine squats are especially popular. Hack machine is a steel frame with a movable platform for the legs and soft pillows for the shoulders. The angle of inclination to the floor is approximately 15 °. The frame moves the slide up and down with the platform to which the load is attached. There are various models of the machine (for example, without shoulder pads).

Execution technique

  • Set the desired weight.
  • Stand on the platform so that there is a distance of 60 cm between the feet.
  • Bend your knees slightly.
  • Feet – parallel to each other (depending on the version of the exercise).
  • Press your back tight against the moving platform. The shoulders should be under the pillows.
  • Disengage the stoppers, straighten the knees so that the weight goes to the shoulders.
  • Squat without rest, until the angle between the leg and thigh becomes straight.
  • The back should still be pressed firmly against the machine. Hips should not go forward.
  • Press the heels into the platform, without a pause to rise. Do not straighten the legs to the end.
  • Performing hack squats in the machine, you need to constantly maintain tension in the muscles.
  • Repeat the exercise as many times as necessary.

Helpful tips:

  • firmly press your back to the moving part of the machine;
  • hold onto the handles tightly;
  • shoes should be with ribbed soles that do not slip on the platform.

Exercise options

  • Narrow legs. To work out the lateral heads of the quadriceps in the hack machine, the feet should be as close to each other as possible.
  • Wide. To train the medial heads of the foot, we arrange as wide as possible.
  • High. Those who want to use squats in the hook to pump the buttocks need to raise their legs to the platform to maximum height.
  • Low For the relief of the front surface of the hips, a low setting of the legs is chosen.

Reverse Hack squat proper form and technique

On the machines, you can perform reverse Hack squats, which are focused on the development of the biceps of the thigh and buttocks. They are recommended, first of all, for women – for weight loss and body shaping.

Execution technique

  • Set weight.
  • Stand facing the machine, place your feet parallel to each other.
  • Bring shoulders under the pillows of the hack machine, grab the handles.
  • Keep your head upright, do not lower your chin.
  • Tighten your muscles, bend your back slightly.
  • On inspiration, slowly lower the body to a parallel line with the platform. The movement is carried out by taking the pelvis back and bending the knees.
  • On exhalation without pauses, return to the starting position. Do not straighten your knees to the end.
  • Run as many times as needed.

Reverse Hack Squat Technique

Helpful tips:

  • do not tear off the heels from the platform;
  • do not round the back;
  • heavyweight in hack squats is prohibited, as it creates strong pressure on the spine, which is fraught with injuries;
  • no need to turn toes or heels to the sides, which is possible in the basic versions of the exercise, – with such experiments, back squats in the hack machine are dangerous dislocation of the knees;
  • heels should be closer to the top of the platform;
  • it is advisable to leave a slight angle at the knee when lifting.

Hack squats for women

Classic Hack squats can be performed not only by men. They are great for women, as they allow you to burn extra calories in training, draw beautiful body contours, and remove fat in the breeches. True, the technique for women is different and has its own characteristics:

  • the load is due to the frequency of performed movements, and not due to weight (as in men);
  • movements should be smooth, slow, without jerking;
  • alternate and vary exercises, changing the position of the legs;
  • squatting in women should not be accompanied by a holding of breath, which helps to stretch the muscles of the abdomen and sag;
  • You can do girls on a hack machine no more than twice a week.

It is advisable for girls to use such squats only with the permission of specialists – a doctor and a trainer. For the first time, training should take place under the supervision of a knowledgeable person who can always tell you how to do this or that exercise.

Smith machine hack squat: advantages and disadvantages

Hack squats are only useful with the right technique. The slightest mistakes are fraught not only with unpleasant consequences, but primarily with injuries. All the positive and negative aspects of these workouts are best studied in advance and prepared for them.


  • execution technique is quite simple;
  • load capacity can be increased;
  • the minimum load on the spine;
  • individual muscles are fully developed.


  • among the most common consequences are knee pain;
  • more suitable for building quadriceps for bodybuilders than for women losing weight;
  • the presence of a large number of contraindications: injuries, fractures, problems with the musculoskeletal system (and especially with the knees), muscle inflammation, fever, inadequate physical fitness.

Knowing the minuses of hack squats, you should know in advance how to avoid these unpleasant moments.

Hack squat useful tips

Common mistakes in Hack machine squats

Do you want to get the maximum benefit without harm to your own health and musculoskeletal system? In this case, be sure to study as much information as possible on the technique of correctly performing squats and listen to the advice of specialists.

  • Be sure to do a warm-up to stretch the biceps, the quadriceps of the thigh, and warm the joints and ligaments.
  • If hack squats are heavier, you must first put on a special belt for back safety.
  • All movements should be uniform and smooth.
  • Legs are bent on inspiration, unbend – on exhalation. In the squat, breathing is held for a short time.
  • Exercises in machines are best done after regular squats with a barbell.
  • If you have flat feet, you need to consult orthopedists and buy special shoes.
  • To reduce knee pain, wrap them during training with an elastic bandage, under which you can apply a warming ointment.
  • An orthopedic belt will relieve back pain.
  • Squats provoke a lack of oxygen in the muscles, which makes them a painful procedure. Overpowering the pain is not easy, therefore, withstand units. But the result is worth such an effort. Regular classes lead to the drawing of beautifully embossed hips.

Q&A: hack squat alternative, how many reps to do

What hack squat alternatives?

Hack squat is believed to be the best exercise for quadriceps. But if there are problems with the knees, it can be replaced with a leg press or squats with dumbbells, with a barbell, or a bodybar.

Leg press vs squat: What is better

The debate about which of these exercises is better for pumping the quadriceps does not cease. From the point of view of efficiency, athletes involved in the Hackenschmidt technique achieve greater muscle definition. But leg press is much safer, as it removes the load from the back and does not injure the knees.

How many times to squat?

Better to start with 15 repetitions. The maximum number of hack squats is 35 (for men) and not more than 20 (for women). Since this is an energy-intensive exercise, it is better to use the “pyramid”, increasing the mass in each next workout. After that, for a change, start the reverse order – gradually reduce the number of lifts, but increase the weight.

If you choose hack exercises for weight loss, you must be aware that initially they were not designed to burn calories. Their main task is to pump the hips. If you engage in the full program, instead of legs that have become stiff (we are talking about women), you can get a pile of muscles. You should visit website dianabol.fit where you can find many facts about workouts and anabolic steroids administration tips. Therefore, first of all, they are recommended for athletes to build muscle mass. In order for them to be effective in terms of weight loss, training schemes and performance techniques need to be adjusted taking into account personal needs.


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