T Nation

Hack Squat - Machine Vs. BB

I went to visit a gym I’m thinking of joining and was pleasantly surprised to find that they have a hack squat machine.

I’ve never seen one before as I’ve seen the barbell hack squat demonstrated before, the machine didn’t look how I imagined it to be.

It is set at 45 degrees and you align your shoulders under the pads and it would seem that you basically squat. I looked up a demo of it on exrx.net and that seemed to show it off ok.

I’d like to ask this question - in a barbell hack squat the barbell is lifted vertically, but on the hack squat machine it seems you are squatting at 45 degrees - is the effect on the quads the same either way you do the hack squats, and which of the two would you prefer you use (in the same whay that you might decide to do high barbell squats as opposed to Smith machine squats).

Cheers ta, Ian

Stay off the machines and just SQUAT!

i don’t use the hacksquat and leg press machines anymore, i just stick to barbell and dbs squat and dls. When i used to use the hack squat i would keep my feet fairly high on the platform to keep my knees behind my toes when i went all the way down. barbell hacksquats will give you better overall body development because of the affect they have on your back part of your body is immense. make sure you use straps for safety because it wouid not be nice to have a loaded bar land on the back of your shins. also i would recommend wearing or covering the shins because the bar will scrape pretty hard along that part of your body. keep the reps low as you do in the deadlift and watch your strength levels move up. laters pk

The only time i would ever use the hack squat machine is at the end of the work out if you really wanted to exhaust your quads. Never use it as a main exercise.

I use the Hack-Squat machine and the Leg-Press to warm up in a super-set fashion. Usually 200 lbs. of plates on the HS 3X10 and 300 on the LP 3X10. One set/then the other. Towards the end of my W/O I do Deadlifts and Barbell Squats using free weights.

Thanks for the input guys - it’s much appreciated.

I’ve seen the hack squat mentioned in quite a few training programs on T-Nation.com but it has usually been the barbell version, rather than the machine.

It was interesting to see it for the first time. As was the donkey calf raise too - never thought I’d see one of those :slight_smile:

You might get a lot of bruising on your shoulders. I gave it up for that reason alone.

When you load the machine that is at a 45 deg angle you will not see the full load. You actually only have to push against 70.7% (cos 45 deg) of the weights. You also do not need to use as much of the stabilizing muscles because the load is guided in a machine. Assuming you do regular squats as well as hack squats, the amount of weight you can do on the machine is about double the free weight squat.

Sorry for the bump, but I thought it was better than starting a new thread.

I just tried hack squats for the first time and I don’t think I was doing them right. I kept the poundage low so I could concentrate on form, but it’s still no good. Every time I try to perform the squat, I go from the bottom to about 1/4 squat position and the bar rams itself into my hammies just above the back of my knee. From there I either have to shrug it out over my hamstrings, or rake the bar right over them so I can lock out my knees and finish the rep. That can’t be right, can it?

Does anyone have any tips? I asked the attendant at my gym and she had no clue. And no, my hamstring development is pretty poor, so it’s not like my hyyuuuuge hams are sticking out and getting in the way. :slight_smile:

The hack squat machine, regardless of the “machines are the devil” contingent can be a very useful complement to squats, which should obviously be the core of any leg day.

There are two ways to use the machine…facing inward, or facing out with your back against the pad. The latter is preferable.

Place your feet shoulder width or closer in the middle of the platform–not the front!–and simply squat as low as you can.

The hack squat helps build the outer sweep of the thigh.

This is, of course, if you are training for physique goals. If you’re a PL’er or strongman guy, stay the hell away from the thing.

While there may be some advantages to doing the exercise with a barbell, I can’t see them. Much like lying dumbbell curls for the hams, the benefits are outweighed by the sheer pain in the ass of the motion.

[quote]harris447 wrote:
The hack squat machine, regardless of the “machines are the devil” contingent can be a very useful complement to squats, which should obviously be the core of any leg day.

There are two ways to use the machine…facing inward, or facing out with your back against the pad. The latter is preferable.

Place your feet shoulder width or closer in the middle of the platform–not the front!–and simply squat as low as you can.

The hack squat helps build the outer sweep of the thigh.

This is, of course, if you are training for physique goals. If you’re a PL’er or strongman guy, stay the hell away from the thing.

While there may be some advantages to doing the exercise with a barbell, I can’t see them. Much like lying dumbbell curls for the hams, the benefits are outweighed by the sheer pain in the ass of the motion.[/quote]

Thank you for giving the man a straight answer, I was curious about hacks myself.

[quote]StrongMan wrote:
Stay off the machines and just SQUAT![/quote]

machines allow you to add more volume to specific muscles without straining other muscles that you might not want to give any more work to.

i never use machines, but i’m hoping this statement is a joke. nothing wrong with doing some leg presses for extra hypertrophy without the CNS drain and fatigue of supporting musculature that you might not want.

Oh I love the hack squat… Thinking about doing them in another 20 minutes or so. I just did a full leg session earlier, but fuck it, the more the merrier.

You know, I have seen a lot of machine attrition lately. They are good tools, they are not to replace barbells and dumbells, but they can be excellent tools if used properly in conjunction with freeweights. Lighten up, besides the hack squat is one of the better machines out there. Beats the abducter hands down…

[quote]nramaker wrote:
Sorry for the bump, but I thought it was better than starting a new thread.

I just tried hack squats for the first time and I don’t think I was doing them right. I kept the poundage low so I could concentrate on form, but it’s still no good. Every time I try to perform the squat, I go from the bottom to about 1/4 squat position and the bar rams itself into my hammies just above the back of my knee. From there I either have to shrug it out over my hamstrings, or rake the bar right over them so I can lock out my knees and finish the rep. That can’t be right, can it?

Does anyone have any tips? I asked the attendant at my gym and she had no clue. And no, my hamstring development is pretty poor, so it’s not like my hyyuuuuge hams are sticking out and getting in the way. :)[/quote]

I use to experience the same problem. It may sound a little unsafe but at the point the bar touched my hamstrings I would push my hips forward instead of trying to stand up.

It did always seem to cause some rounding of the upper back, but not the lower and NEVER caused me any problems. That was using weights up to approx 340lbs.

Wearing some “smooth” track suit bottoms did help as opposed to jersey/cotton type.

Wheels

[quote]binford wrote:
The only time i would ever use the hack squat machine is at the end of the work out if you really wanted to exhaust your quads. Never use it as a main exercise.[/quote]

After a 14-16 total set quad workout not much cripples your walking ability like 3 more sets of 15 rep 1-leg ATG hack squats. My stomach gets queezy just thinking about it.