The hack squat is one of the best knee-dominant, full-body exercises you can do to transform your body and build strength in your hips, glutes, and quads. The bar is held across the shoulders of the lifter, who then squats down until his thighs reach approximately 90 degrees (quarter squat) and then rises back up – similar to a standard back squat.
If you want to build big, strong quads, your go-to exercise should be the squat. But it’s not just the energy of bending that flexes them into shape—it’s also our powerful quadriceps muscles that bend the knees and offer support during this movement.
Is there anything more awesome than an awesome squat? One problem is that people are notorious for having trouble getting low enough in their squats. Something as simple as an ill-timed pause can lead to pulled quads or even worse, a pulled groin.
To get down low and be consistent in your squats, become a master of the hack squat. Remember, as the name implies, this is an exercise that trains the muscles that flex the knees. By tilting your feet out sideways to move deeper into your squat, not only will you develop more quad strength and improve your balance and lower body mobility but also build up more muscle in your groin by creating added intermuscular and muscular support.
#1 How To Do Hack Squats:-
- Stand with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart and place a barbell across the back of your shoulders.
- Push your hips back and bend your knees to lower into a squat, keeping your back straight and squeezing the glutes to lift back up. As you come down, push the heels out so they are slightly wider than your hips.
- Remember to keep the knees in line with the toes. If needed, you can place plates on each side of your feet to maintain proper squatting form.
- Take as big a breath as possible and hold it for 2 seconds before exhaling on the way down into the squat and breathing normally during the lift.
There are three ways to go about this move: You can simply keep your feet where they are and not move them sideways. Or, you can move your feet out to the side and then return them to the original starting position. Or, you can rotate your feet completely outwards so that when you sit back into the squat, your knees face directly outwards.
#2 Mistakes People Do While Doing Hack Squats:-
- Not getting down low enough
- Not squeezing the glutes to lift back up
- Leaning forward in the hips at any time during the movement or stopping and starting for too long.
- Not moving your feet out to the side
- Raising the heels off of the ground too much when coming up from the squat.
- Tilting at the hips
- Not squeezing your glutes to come up.
- Avoid going too low, this will be more challenging than lower reps. We would work on doing 1 rep instead of 5, 10 or 15 reps. If you have trouble go down to around knee height.
#3 Points To Remember While Doing Hack Squats:-
- Lift and jump your feet together as far apart as possible, making sure they stay aligned with your body.
- Keep your feet in place while lowering into a deep squat and keeping your knees in line with your toes. Try to go as low as you can without losing your form. Push yourself down until your thighs are parallel to the floor and keep them thereby squeezing the glutes tight.
- At the bottom of your squat, take a big breath in and hold it while you lower down. As you start to lift, exhale and push yourself back up until your legs are straight.
- Return to the starting position and immediately return your feet to their original position before jumping into the next rep.
- Always keep your knees in line with your toes and keep the bar centred on the upper traps and rear deltoids.
Repeat this move for 10 sets of 4-8 reps.
TIPS- Bring your hands down to rest on each knee as you descend into your squat, keeping the elbows directly under the shoulders. This will help keep good posture while also providing a bit more balance.
#4 What Are The Benefits Of Hack Squat?
Hack squats, when done correctly and with good technique (which may take some time to get used to), are very safe and effective for building strength in a wide range of muscles in the leg, especially the lower body such as glutes and hamstrings.
- Strengthens & sculpts muscles in your leg, groin & butt region.
- Helps increase quadriceps strength & build stability in the knee joint.
- Helps increase balance and improves lower body mobility.
- Bodyweight movement is easy to perform anywhere with minimal equipment such as a barbell or dumbbells.
- Improves flexibility in the hamstrings, calves & groin.
- Perfect Squat Variation For Building Stronger Legs, Butt and Glutes.
- Enhances core strength.
- Allows you to lift heavier weights without compromising your posture
- Allows you to gain lean muscle while burning fat by increasing muscle mass and decreasing body fat.
- Great way to burn fat.
- Hack squats will help you lose weight, look better and continue to build muscle strength and mass.
The hack squat can be done with a barbell loaded with a weight plate, dumbbells or kettlebells. Begin on all fours with your hands behind your head, at least hip-width apart and the bar resting across the back of your shoulders as described above. Squat down, keeping your back straight and squeezing the glutes tight to lift back out of the movement.
#5 Variation Of Hack Squat
- Add resistance to the movement by placing additional weight on the barbell or dumbbells.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and lean forward as if you are doing a lunge.
- Move your feet wider than shoulder-width apart but only enough to allow you to lower into a squat.
- By moving your feet out wider, you will be able to squat lower without losing your balance or having the dreaded forward lean.
- Lower yourself down into a full squat position and hold it for 2-3 seconds before coming up to the starting position.
- Hold the bar in front of you allowing the shoulders to rotate backwards while going down so that when you come back up, they are already rotated forward preventing any rounding of the upper back as well as pressure on your spine.
#6 Alternative Exercises of Hack Squat
- Front Squat
- Back Squat
- Box squat
- Goblet squat
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