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Fitness Education

What Does Hack Squat Work?

If you’re looking for a way to blast your quads, glutes, hamstrings, and calves, look no further than the hack squat. 

This exercise is a variation of the classic barbell squat, but it uses a strength training machine that allows you to lean back and push the weight with your legs. This reduces the stress on your lower back and spine, and lets you focus on your lower body muscles.

What Does Hack Squat Work_

How to Perform the Hack Squat

To do the hack squat, you’ll need a hack squat machine, which looks like a sled with a platform for your feet and pads for your shoulders. 

Here are the steps to perform the hack squat correctly:

  1. Step onto the platform and position your feet shoulder-width apart, with your toes slightly pointed out.
  2. Place your shoulders under the pads and grab the handles on each side.
  3. Unhook the safety catches and lower yourself until your thighs are parallel to the floor, or slightly lower if you have good mobility.
  4. Pause for a second at the bottom, then push through your heels and extend your legs to return to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for the desired number of reps.
  6. Re-engage the safety catches to rack the weight sled.

What Muscles Does the Hack Squat Work?

The hack squat is a compound exercise that works multiple muscle groups in your lower body. The main muscles involved are:

Quadriceps

These are the four muscles on the front of your thighs that extend your knees. The hack squat targets all four heads of the quadriceps: the rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, and vastus intermedius.

Glutes

These are the three muscles on your buttocks that extend your hips. The hack squat works all three glutes: the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus.

Hamstrings

These are the three muscles on the back of your thighs that flex your knees and extend your hips. The hack squat works all three hamstrings: the biceps femoris, semitendinosus, and semimembranosus.

Calves

These are the two muscles on the back of your lower legs that plantarflex your ankles. The hack squat works both calves: the gastrocnemius and soleus.

Why Should You Do the Hack Squat?

The hack squat is a great exercise for building strength and size in your lower body. It also has some benefits over the regular barbell squat, such as:

  • It’s easier on your lower back and spine, since you don’t have to support a heavy bar on your shoulders.
  • It’s more comfortable and stable, since you don’t have to balance the weight or worry about falling forward or backward.
  • It allows you to use more weight, since you can push with more force from a fixed position.
  • It isolates your lower body muscles more, since you don’t have to engage your core or upper body as much.

Final Thoughts

The hack squat is an effective exercise for targeting your lower body muscles, especially your quads. It’s also easier on your back and spine than the regular barbell squat. Give it a try today!

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