T Nation

barbell hack squat

I tried doing the barbell hack squat a couple days ago and I liked it, but I’m not sure my form was correct. I’m having trouble finding consistent information. [For example, reading the t-mag archives, Poliquin and Davies seem to describe it differently, but I could be wrong because Poliquin’s article was much more detailed].

I want to avoid using a wedge under my heels.

I’ll appreciate any ideas you have.


It seems like there are a few ways to do these. What you described I think is just like a back squat with the heels raised with a wedge or something to emphasize the quads. In that Coach Davies article, it’s done like a deadlift the wrong way around (bar in behind instead) & flatfooted, & then there’s the machine.

Thanks for the response Drax.

Both Davies and Poliquin describe the barbell hack squat, but Poliquin suggests putting a wedge under your heels. Yes, it’s like a deadlift with the barbell behind your heels.

Have you ever done it?
Thanks again.

I have done Hack squats with a board and I know they blow away the hack machine by far. Most people haven’t done them because it is very hard! I highly recommend them!

I find that when doing barbell hacks, I do not need a wedge. I try to arch my back hard and keep my head titled backwards. This keeps my body in good alignment and allows me to go until the barbell hits the back of my ankles. I do find that I have to use a wedge or at least something to elevate my heels when doing front squats. My suggestions for the hacks would be to try them without the wedge. In general, most people do ok once they get past the awkward stage. Good luck!

I have a question about form for barbell hacks. When I do them, I seem to always hit myself in the hamstrings or in the bottom of my ass with the bar on the way up. Is there some inherent flaw in my form that is causing this, or is that what is supposed to happen? Thanks.

I hit the back of my ankles at the bottom and my butt at the top, but don’t hit anything else during the motion.

I have the same problem. Most of the time I didn’t hit my hams, but every now and then I did, and it was very hard to determine what I was doing wrong.

Here’s how I think about it. The barbell hack squat seems to isolate the quads more than the hams, so the movement probably involves moving the knees forward (over the toes) more than usual, and that’s why Poliquin recommends a heel wedge.

My probem was that I kept getting confused during the exercise and ended up doing some bastardized hybrid of a back squat and deadlift. I don’t think either is correct because the knees have to be more forward.

That’s my guess anyway.

Thanks for your comments.