Hack Squat

About

Gym-goers wishing to develop the major muscle groups of the lower body can do so successfully with the sled hack squat. As with other squat variations, how the athlete places their feet during the exercise has some influence on which muscles receive the most stimulation from the lift.

The quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes will all be targeted with the sled hack squat, but the athlete can shift emphasis onto their glutes and hamstrings by placing their feet further up the platform and taking a wider stance. On the flip side, taking a shoulder width stance with the feet placed lower on the platform will engage the quadriceps to a greater degree.

As the back is fully supported, the sled hack squat is the perfect choice for those with injuries who cannot perform the free weight squat alternatives.

Instructions

Preparation

  1. Load the machine with the required weight
  2. Stand on the platform with a suitable width stance, back supported by the back rest and shoulders pressed securely under the shoulder pads
  3. Extend at the knees to push the sled upwards, allowing you to turn or pull the safety lever so the sled is free to travel up and down the rails

Execution

  1. Slowly descend by bending at the knees and hips until your legs are at ninety degrees, keeping your back firmly pushed up against the back rest and torso erect
  2. Return to the starting position by pushing through the heels to extend the legs and hips
  3. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions

About

The barbell hack squat is an uncommon sight in gyms, and is widely considered a fairly "old school" exercise. The reason for its demise is likely due to the difficulty in its execution, and there being plenty of other alternative exercises which successfully target the muscles of the lower body.

As with other squatting variations, the quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes are the primary target of the exercise. However, due to having the load behind and below the body (unlike the back and front squat), much greater resistance is placed on the muscles responsible for extension of the hip; the hamstrings and glutes, and less load placed on the knee extensors; the quadriceps.

Instructions

Preparation

  1. Load the barbell with the correct weight and put on the safety collars
  2. Stand with the barbell behind you, taking a shoulder width stance
  3. Squat down, keeping your torso erect, chest up, and grasp the barbell (palms facing away from you)
  4. Stand up with the barbell, so the bar is resting on your backside

Execution

  1. With the bar kept close to your glutes, squat down by bending at the knees and hips, until your thighs reach parallel with the ground. Always keep your torso erect, chest up and gaze forward
  2. Push through the heels, extending your legs and hips to ascend to the starting position
  3. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions

Other Leg Exercises

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