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Barbell Hack Squats Aren't Working

I’ve recently started doing barbell hack squats because I have really skinny legs, I’ve done 4 sets gradually increasing weight until I can do 6 hard reps. The thing is when I finish a set my quads burn like hell I can’t stand up for a moment, specially on the quads, BUT the next day I don’t feel sore, zero soreness, nada, and I don’t see any growth, nothing, and I’m eating quite a lot, nutrition is solid. What might be the problem? It’s really annoying because I hate having skinny legs.

some ideas:

-switch out hack squats for other squats with larger ROM.

-soreness doesnt generally indicate growth.

-try working in other rep ranges also.

-your legs are compromised of more than just quads, hit the hammies and glutes also, this means squats, deads, lunges and so forth.

-give it time. legs wont grow in a month :slight_smile:

[quote]imc_1121 wrote:
I’ve recently started doing barbell hack squats .[/quote]

you said it yourself. You RECENTLY started doing them. Which means you have to give them time. BB Hack’s are a great exercise. But I hope they’re not the ONLY one. Try to include at LEAST another exercise.

Hit the hamstrings too.

Oh and, this may seem unconventional, but if you can, hit your outer and inner thighs. They contribute to thigh mass greatly. Tom Platz had awesome legs, not because of his extraordinary quad or ham development, but because of his inner thigh development.

Cheers

Here’s a picture of his thighs:

So the problem is probably in the rom or the reps? Should I try a snatch grip and doing them on a platform?

[quote]imc_1121 wrote:
So the problem is probably in the rom or the reps? Should I try a snatch grip and doing them on a platform?[/quote]

The problem is likely your overall intensity. Don’t rely just on hack squats. They’re a great exercise choice but represent only one tool in the box. (Now, I’m assuming you’re talking about barbell hack squats and not some silly machine version.)

Even still, you have to incorporate several squat variations and several deadlift variations to fully hit the quads and hamstrings.

If you’re a beginner who has just recently started to do a new exercise or program it should be EASY to literally hobble yourself for the next two days. If you’re not feeling wobbly that day and sore the next, you’re simply not putting in the effort required to cause micro-trauma to the muscle fibers.

For hypertrophy, pick a weight that you can do for 10-12 reps, then do several sets of at least 6-10 reps. You should be shaking a bit on the last reps of the last sets. No need to go to failure all the time but it’s a good idea once every few workouts.

Remember, it’s failure that stimulates new growth. If you just go through the motions your body has no reason to adapt.

Yes, I’m talking about the barbell version. But the thing is I couldn’t do another rep, my legs, especially the quads felt very tired and sore, the burn while doing the exercise was intense, it’s very wierd that I don’t feel sore today.

Change you’re rep range and/or try the 45 deg. incline leg press.
Do as many reps as you can for 2 minutes without stopping or until failure, then finish off with high-rep knee extensions.
See how you feel after that.

Well I’m pretty sure I trained to failure yesterday when doing bb hacks, I couldn’t do another set.

again, bb hack squats probably arent enough. and you wont see gains in a month. maybe youre not eating as well as you think you are, its a common error.

might i suggest something like starting strength/5x5 if youre relatively new to lifting?

might also be beneficial if you posted your diet up, and others will be able to provide some insight

Hey imc_1121,

Just a few questions that might help someone smarter than myself in assisting you:

  1. What is a typical training week for you?

  2. How long have you been training consistently?

  3. Have you taken before and current measurements of your legs?

  4. What are your overall stats (height, weight, BF %, age, etc.)?

  5. What is your diet like (calories/day, general idea of carb/protein/fat ratios)?

There are a few reasons that pop into mind about why you aren’t seeing size progress. It sounds like you’re training the upper legs hard, since you’re getting the burn. But if you’re training too often or not often enough, you might not see the results you want. If you’ve only been training consistently for two weeks, you have to give it time. If you’re diet is solid like you say, then you’re getting enough calories and the proper ratios to feed growth. If you haven’t taken measurements of your legs, do it now. An 1/8th of an inch is progress, even if you can’t tell by eye.

I used to work my legs out to the point I would get sick but I never saw any size increase. My problem came down to diet and exercise type. Although my diet was good (healthy and good ratios), I plain wasn’t getting enough calories to support growth. I also changed my training to incorporate deadlifts and barbell squats, while supplementing later that week with more of isolation type exercises such as hamstring curls, extensions, leg adduction and abduction (the girl machines). I reduced sets and reps from 6 sets x 8-10 reps to 4-5 sets x 4-6 reps for each exercise. Growth and strength gains have been great over the last few months.

Hopefully with some more info we can help you out.

[quote]Dark Engineering wrote:
Hey imc_1121,

Just a few questions that might help someone smarter than myself in assisting you:

  1. What is a typical training week for you?

  2. How long have you been training consistently?

  3. Have you taken before and current measurements of your legs?

  4. What are your overall stats (height, weight, BF %, age, etc.)?

  5. What is your diet like (calories/day, general idea of carb/protein/fat ratios)?

There are a few reasons that pop into mind about why you aren’t seeing size progress. It sounds like you’re training the upper legs hard, since you’re getting the burn. But if you’re training too often or not often enough, you might not see the results you want. If you’ve only been training consistently for two weeks, you have to give it time. If you’re diet is solid like you say, then you’re getting enough calories and the proper ratios to feed growth. If you haven’t taken measurements of your legs, do it now. An 1/8th of an inch is progress, even if you can’t tell by eye.

I used to work my legs out to the point I would get sick but I never saw any size increase. My problem came down to diet and exercise type. Although my diet was good (healthy and good ratios), I plain wasn’t getting enough calories to support growth. I also changed my training to incorporate deadlifts and barbell squats, while supplementing later that week with more of isolation type exercises such as hamstring curls, extensions, leg adduction and abduction (the girl machines). I reduced sets and reps from 6 sets x 8-10 reps to 4-5 sets x 4-6 reps for each exercise. Growth and strength gains have been great over the last few months.

Hopefully with some more info we can help you out.[/quote]

This might be one of the best 1st posts ever, good job.

  1. Typical training week: 3 days per week, Monday - legs, I do lunges and hack squats, I don’t do normal back squats because I never feel it in my legs or anywhere I just get tired; Wednesday - back, I only do heavy deadlifts and my back is getting pretty big for my size; Fridays - chest and shoulders, Military press and bench press.

  2. How long have you been training consistently? Seriously training 3 months.

  3. Have you taken before and current measurements of your legs? I just measured them they are 21 inches, hadn’t measured before.

  4. What are your overall stats (height, weight, BF %, age, etc.)? Height is 1.75 meter, 68 kilos, BF around 12%, 19 yo.

  5. What is your diet like (calories/day, general idea of carb/protein/fat ratios)? Hmm on training days probably 5000 calories, non trainig ones 3000-4000.

Lunges make my butt grow, I had flat glutes before now they’ve grown , but my thighs have stayed the same.

From reading quite a lot, and from my own experience, I have found peoples legs dont really start to grow until they are doing 12+ reps on most of their leg exercises.

Low reps get my legs strong but they dont necasserily get any bigger.

I’ll try doing 20 reps, I hope that works on my next leg workout.

[quote]ninjaboy wrote:
Dark Engineering wrote:
Hey imc_1121,

Just a few questions that might help someone smarter than myself in assisting you:

  1. What is a typical training week for you?

  2. How long have you been training consistently?

  3. Have you taken before and current measurements of your legs?

  4. What are your overall stats (height, weight, BF %, age, etc.)?

  5. What is your diet like (calories/day, general idea of carb/protein/fat ratios)?

There are a few reasons that pop into mind about why you aren’t seeing size progress. It sounds like you’re training the upper legs hard, since you’re getting the burn. But if you’re training too often or not often enough, you might not see the results you want.

If you’ve only been training consistently for two weeks, you have to give it time. If you’re diet is solid like you say, then you’re getting enough calories and the proper ratios to feed growth.

If you haven’t taken measurements of your legs, do it now. An 1/8th of an inch is progress, even if you can’t tell by eye.

I used to work my legs out to the point I would get sick but I never saw any size increase. My problem came down to diet and exercise type. Although my diet was good (healthy and good ratios), I plain wasn’t getting enough calories to support growth.

I also changed my training to incorporate deadlifts and barbell squats, while supplementing later that week with more of isolation type exercises such as hamstring curls, extensions, leg adduction and abduction (the girl machines).

I reduced sets and reps from 6 sets x 8-10 reps to 4-5 sets x 4-6 reps for each exercise. Growth and strength gains have been great over the last few months.

Hopefully with some more info we can help you out.

This might be one of the best 1st posts ever, good job.[/quote]

Ninjaboy, thanks! Maybe I should quit while I’m ahead.

Couple suggestions.

  1. most people cant do a hacksquat of the floor due to poor ankle mobility. Unless you can keep your back fairly vertical then your not doing this exercise correctly.

  2. Use a power rack and a block to elevate the heels. The HS is intened to be a Quad dominate exercise. This will help make up for some of the ankle mobilty and put more stress on the quads

  3. Once your heels are on the 2x4 see how low you can go with the bar behind you in the HS position. Once you start to bend at the back STOP. Set the pins there. Wear straps, lower to the pins stop for a split second, then return.

[quote]imc_1121 wrote:
I’ll try doing 20 reps, I hope that works on my next leg workout.[/quote]

imc_1121,

From your stats (5’9" ish, 150lbs, good BF%) and training level, it sounds like you’re sure getting enough calories to grow. How much protein are you getting a day?

It looks like the guys posted some good suggestions, specifically regarding increasing rep ranges and adding leg exercises.

The only other ideas I have are making sure you’re taking enough rest time between your sets, try swapping your Wednesday and Friday routine to allow extra healing time for your legs and consider taking a week off soon (if you have been hitting training consistently for the last 3 months) to rest and grow.

Let us know how any changes work out for you.

I’d say nutrition is solid because my back, chest and glutes are growing, I think I get more than 200g of protein a day. After this monday’s leg workout I’ll post results. I’ll try some high reps, elevated heels, and snatch grip too lol, and see how it works.

Legs can take a ton of punishment. I mean I cant overtrain legs to save my soul. Back squats, leg press, lunges, leg curls, leg extensions, and calf raises on the smith machine is what I’m doing.

My legs just got up to around 27 inches. Punish em, hurt em. And, when you look at a side of beef, think snack