T Nation

Barbell hacks

More than a few times over the last 10 years I have attempted to add BARBELL HACKS to my training program. But each time the results were woeful. I just never quite got the hang of them. But after reading Coach Davies “Forgotten Squats” article six weeks ago, I felt inspired to give them one more try! This time, however, things went differently…much differently!

For no particular reason at all, I decided to do barbell hack squats AFTER conventional deadlifts. As in the past, I expected to struggle. But much to my surprise, the weight jumped off the floor for 8 reps! “Heck, this is easy,” I thought. Then I put another pair of 25’s on the bar and NAILED 2 more sets of 8 reps! I had just beaten my personal best by 30 lbs!

It’s been almost six weeks since I “successfully” reintroduced barbell hacks into my routine. I’m still employing them “after deadlifts,” AND MY QUADS ARE LOVING IT! Just not quite sure why doing them AFTER makes such a difference, but for me it does!!! So, if you haven’t had any luck in the past with barbell hacks, give them one more shot; but this time, try them AFTER deadlifts…You may be pleasantly surprised!?

P.S. For all you guys who train at home, this could the one quality leg exercise that you have been looking for to fill the void.

Joey Z.-Please read my response without taking offense. First, I do not know your history pertaining to barbell hack squats but from the information provided in your post, no logical or even intuitive conclusion can be drawn that performing specifically deadlifts prior to barbell hacks has changed the way your quadriceps respond to barbell hacks. Why? Well, many possible confounds interfere with such a hypothesis. First, you stated that you read Coach Davies’ article prior to reinseting barbell hacks. Well, a better understanding obtained from the article may account for your positive results. Another reason for your success could be better nutrition. Are you improving as a whole? If you are, then nutrition or an absence of stress (lower cortisol=more anabolic) could be causing your results. Are you more flexible? Are your knees healthier now than the first times you tried barbell hack squats? If either are the case, your body may better be able to correctly execute the difficult form required for barbell hacks. Also, your success may not be due to performing specifically deadlifts prior to barbell hacks but simply the pre-exhaustion factor. It could be the case that any leg exercise performed before doing barbell hacks stimulates better results for you personally. Congratulations on your success and I hope it persists, but think about how uncontrolled one’s life is before declaring such specific advice for others to follow.

The OUTSTANDING results I enjoyed by performing deadlifts prior to barbell hacks are most likely due to a neurological response. This response would appear to be an unconventional form of post-tetanic facilitation, or “wave loading.” The maximal load used during deadlifts, 315 lbs for 5 sets of 5 reps, activated or heightened the nervous system, preparing it to easily handle the lighter load on a similar, yet mirror movement, barbell hacks (e.g. 205 X 3 sets of 8 reps). To put it into simpler terms: it’s like swinging a weighted baseball bat before going to the plate.