T Nation

Hack Squat v. Hack (Dead) Lift

Before you make fun of my username, I am a Shawnee Indian, and that is my name. I also have a western, legal name, but I use this one as an internet alias. I’ve run into lots of problems using it, though, so if any admins read this, if possible, please change it to the initials W.H., my new pseudonym.

My background: I am an All-Rounder. I hold 5 IAWA World’s Records. Thats all you need to know for now.

Back to the subject at hand–Many people use these terms interchangeably, but in fact they are different lifts. Here are the official regulations for the Hack (Dead) Lift as per the International All-Round Weightlifting Association:


C10. Hack Lift

IAWA rules for the Deadlift apply, except that the bar will be placed behind the lifter. The bar may touch the calves and the rear of the upper legs as it rises. Should it bind against the upper legs, the bar may be stopped momentarily while a hip adjustment is made. The bar may not, however, be lowered during the movement.


The Hack Squat, the Lift that Hackenschmidt is so famous for performing, is an entirely different lift with much worse leverages. The bar must be held with the hands together at the lower back, and the lifter must then rise onto the toes as he descends until his butt almost rests on his heels (with the hamstrings resting on the calves), keeping the spine upright. As far as I am aware, there is no governing body for this lift.

As an example of the different poundages for the lifts, I can Hack (Dead) lift 450 pretty comfortably (my present max, but done in training), but can only Hack Squat about 115.

The all time record in the hack squat proper is Hackenschmidt’s 187 lb, whereas some people have performed hack lifts of over 700 lb.

Hope that helps clear some things up. The proper Hack Squat is an extremely difficult and dangerous lift, so I would advise against its practice unless you already have very strong, healthy knees.

Stick with the Hack (Dead) Lift instead.

Cheers,

W.H.

Whispering Hawk,

  1. Welcome to the site.
  2. I really don’t think you’re likely to catch any flak for the name. Look around at some of the outr? handles.
  3. Thanks for the clarification of the two lifts; I’d appreciate some more info: how does the hack deadlift differ from the regular deadlift re: the muscles it targets?
    Thanks.

Interesting stuff man thanks a lot, a whole lot. Love to learn new stuff.

[quote]Whispering Hawk wrote:
Before you make fun of my username…

[/quote]

Speak up, bird; I can’t hear a word you’re saying…

Willkommen, Hawk.

[quote]TShaw wrote:
Whispering Hawk,

  1. Welcome to the site.

  2. I really don’t think you’re likely to catch any flak for the name. Look around at some of the outr? handles.

  3. Thanks for the clarification of the two lifts; I’d appreciate some more info: how does the hack deadlift differ from the regular deadlift re: the muscles it targets?
    Thanks.[/quote]

  4. Thank you.

  5. Just a pre-emptive measure. They seem to be all the rage these days. ;^)

  6. Re: the muscles:

The Hack Squat is going to place a great deal of emphasis on the Vastus Medialis (even though this isn’t supposed to be possible, if you try it you’ll see!), as well as some work on the glutes. There is a great deal of stabilization going on as well, as the position is quite unstable.

The Hack Lift will work a profile of muscles sort of like a hybrid between a squat and a deadlift. The quads definitely play a large role, as do the spinal erectors, the various muscles around the hips, the quads, the abdominal muscles (both for intra-abdominal pressure and to keep the weight from pulling you back towards the top), all the way up to the shoulders and neck.

I tend not to think about things this way though, as I am a competitive lifter instead of a bodybuilder, I think in terms of lifts and assistance rather than muscle groups. So keep that in mind when I’m talking about muscle groups.

As an example of what the hack lift can do for you:

One time, practicing singles for 1 arm hack lifts (hold the bar at the center, these are killer, I may write a description later), and ATG squats for triples, I took my deadlift (no belt, wraps, or anything else) from a difficult 405 to a relatively easy 460 in about a month! Some of the improvement was technique, obviously, but there was a lot of raw strength gain as well.

Again, I would no recommend practicing the true hack squat if you have any knee problems, and start with a really light weight. According to Pavel Tsatsouline and Steve Maxwell, 600 lb. squatters have been humbled by a mere 88 lb. in the hack squat, so be careful.

[quote]Xen Nova wrote:
Interesting stuff man thanks a lot, a whole lot. Love to learn new stuff.[/quote]

No problem Xen. Glad you enjoyed it. These kinds of lifts are my specialty and my passion.

[quote]Ross Hunt wrote:
Whispering Hawk wrote:
Before you make fun of my username…

Speak up, bird; I can’t hear a word you’re saying…

Willkommen, Hawk.[/quote]

Hahaha. Didn’t know you were over here too, Ross. Thanks for the Welcome, auf deutch.

I think it’s a cool name.

I’ve always done your hack (dead) lift, I just never knew what to call it.

Thanks.

Thanks for the details, Hawk. I’ve done the Hack Lift, thinking it was a Hack Squat. Gets caught on my hamstrings though; probably I should work to keep my shoulders back.

Whispering Hawk,

First off, cool name! I think you should keep it, as is.

Second, thanks for the informative post. Glad to have you aboard!

[quote]bikemike wrote:
I think it’s a cool name.

I’ve always done your hack (dead) lift, I just never knew what to call it.

Thanks.[/quote]

Thanks; no problem.

[quote]TShaw wrote:
Thanks for the details, Hawk. I’ve done the Hack Lift, thinking it was a Hack Squat. Gets caught on my hamstrings though; probably I should work to keep my shoulders back.[/quote]

No problem. A lot of people mix the two up, most of whom don’t even know the proper Hack Squat exists.

I like to think about pushing my hips forward and pulling my shoulders back when I Hack Lift, keeps the bar from hitching and helps improve my deadlift technique as well. Its an interesting lift, remarkably technical for its simplicity.

[quote]Chad Waterbury wrote:
Whispering Hawk,

First off, cool name! I think you should keep it, as is.

Second, thanks for the informative post. Glad to have you aboard!

[/quote]

Thanks Chad. Since the folks here have been so polite, I think I’ll keep it as is, as you suggest.

No problem. Glad to be here!

Cheers,

W.H.

WH,

As far as I can recall, all around weightlifting has never really been covered here on T-Nation. In fact, I’d wager that a majority of readers don’t even realize that your sport exists.

You should consider submitting an article, it could make for a valuable addition to the T-Nation library!