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Hack Squats - Do They Work?


Hey guys,

Was just wondering are hack squats with barbell effective for building strength and muscle mass and also wanted to know how many of you use it and does it work for you?

Here's a link to show the exercise I'm talking about just in case some of you may know it as something else: www.bodybuilding.com/fun/videos/2008/barbellhacksquat.wmv

Also I know Dorian Yates and Ronnie Coleman performed these as a staple of their leg workout but they used the machine version of the exercise, which works best for you and which do you think is better?

Thanks guys!

(Forgive me for my douchebag like username but I couldn't think of anything else)


There is a learning curve, but I think its great. It allows you to do squats without much equipment or worrying about safety. I prefer to do these for higher reps though.

As for which one is better, well no one can really say that an exercise trumps another one. It comes down to how both of them feel and which one will give you better results. Obviously if you workout at home and don't have the machine, the barbell version will be better. If you workout in a gym, the machine might be better. Who knows?

Just try them both and see which one you like.

By the way, even though the machine version is referred to as a hack squat, I don't think its the same as the free weight version. Not even close. And I don't mean that in a bad way. I'm saying that if you look at both of them in action, they look different. But, thats just semantics.


Thanks for the reply.
I've noticed that hack squats seem to target my inner quads whilst conventional back squats target the quads over all. Quads have always been a problem with me as my legs are a weak point in my body :frowning:

How much do you think would be a strong weight to hack squat if I back squat 265 Lbs. I'm sorry for the many questions but my legs always seem to bother me.

Thanks again guys!


I don't know :stuck_out_tongue:

Honestly, Im not a fan of trying to compare similar lifts together in regards to poundage. All I can say is that whatever weight you do use, try to out beat that every workout. Even if you start off with 100 pounds, it doesn't matter. Try to get that 100 to 200. Your thighs will thank you :wink:


I don't really see to many people using the barbell hack squat. Actually I've never seen anyone use that movement in the gym except for me a few times. It gets pretty awkward once you start moving up in weight. I think it's easier to round the lower back doing hack squats then conventional. Like I said it can get uncomfortable at times getting that bar up in a safe manner.

If it came down to machine hack squats or barbell. I'll take the machine all day.


Some people just don't have the arms for it. I have arms like a T-rex. With the learning curve, plus the fact you can move more weight on the machine version, plus the fact that there's lots of other good exercises out there, I think the Barbell Hack has gone the way of the DoDo. I may try em tommorrow just to see if I can actually do them.


ive tried them, its like pulling sumo as far as leg work. don't bother IMO.


Thanks so much everyone, I'll take all the replies into consideration before my next leg workout.


Incidentally BR, scientists have concluded that the T-Rex could lift between 300 and 400 lbs with one arm!



You can copy and paste link


I did the barbell version for a while, not a half rep like that vid but as low as possible while keeping torso upright and heels elevated. While the exercise burned like fucking crazy, I just couldn't use a decent amount of weight (maybe 70-80lbs?) opposed to the machine version where you can stack plates on.

Seemed like I was wasting my time on these and I stopped doing them. I don't have alot of experience with the machine but I personally wouldn't bother with the free weight version again.


Iron Dwarf, if you weighed multiple tons, would you be proud of lifting 300 to 400 pounds?


They are two completely different movements. The Barbell version is a full body movement with grip strength being vitally important, whereas the machine version focuses the resistance into the quads esp. around the knee.

Personally I would stay away from machine hack squats becasue your hips are locked into position leaving the excess movement to transfer through the knee joint, which is bad news period! It is however a staple for a lot of bodybuilders. Check out Thibadeau's articles.

You should try reverse machine hack squats if you use this apparatus! Just simply face into the machinee...here's a link so you can have a look! Not a very good example but you'll get the idea nonetheless.

I have tried barbell hacks but for me they were quite difficult because the bar kept getting caught under my glutes while standing up straight so any attempt at a rhythmical movement was impossible.

If you are looking for some area specific quad exercises just change your stance while squatting and or front squatting from wide to narrow and you will feel a difference. But don't get caught up with inner or outer quad development especially at your age. Concentrate on increasing the kg's with perfect form and over time you will see a difference in your leg development.


They took some getting used to but I like doing them now. I haven't done them in a couple months but I look forward to adding them into my routine again. I vote yes for hack squats.