T Nation

Hack Squats

I’m looking for some tips on form for Hack Squats. It doesn’t “feel” like I’m doing them correctly. I felt most of the stress in my quads and some in my lower back muscles. The bar seems to hit my butt, too. (That could be because I have a fat ass, but let’s not get into that) I switched to front squats, which I think I did right, but they bothered my wrists a little afterwards. (Clean grip) I don’t have squat/power racks, but I’m looking for a good leg exercise, with emphasis on the posterior chain/glutes. Thanks!

To-Shin Do

Hack squats and front squats are both quad exercises. If you are looking for post/chain, then go with goodmornings, deadlifts, exercises where you stretch the hams, whereas here you are pushing with the quads.

On the hack squats, I think it is normal if the bar is pressed against your butt. Experiment a little, and you will figure out how to get it down. On the front squats, I use a crossed-arm grip. I rest the bar on my shoulders and cross my arms over it. If it is really heavy it will be pressed up against my neck, but otherwise I think it works well.

Travis is right, if you’re looking for posterior chain exercise, you need another exercise instead of hack squats.

Two things that help me from hitting my butt when I hack squat.

  1. Let the bar hang down in your fingers a little instead of keeping it pressed into the palm. This keeps the bar a little lower and away from the butt a little more.

  2. Take only as wide a grip as you need to clear your legs on each side as this will keep your hands as low as possible.

If you just keep doing front squats a few times a week, your wrist will become flexible enough to use a clean grip in short order. Even if you’re not doing front squats on a certain day, so a set or two with light weight to warm up and stretch your wrists.

I have the same problem when I do hacks, but my gym is equipped with soem nice old school equipment from before it became a “fitness center” and one of those pieces is a bar that is curved so that it curves around my ass very nice bar see if your gym has one or see about getting one yourself

A cambered bar like the above poster mentioned seems to work pretty well for Hacks. For the front squats I would rack 135# and setup for the front squat with a clean grip.Insted of squatting the weight, just lift it out of the rack and support it while focusing on pulling your elbows up and pushing your chest up and head slightly back. This can be done quite often until your wrist and elbows get comffy with the clean grip. I would avoid the arms crossed thing, but who am I:)


If you can only do lifts off the floor? With an emphasis on the posterior chain I would do Sumo deads and Romainain Deads. The sumo’s tear me up like nothing else. Good Mornings are great, but setting up from the floor would be hard, you could Snatch or C&J it up :slight_smile:


How about stiff-legged deadlifts?

I always found them to be the cheap and easy version of Good Mornings (I’m sure someone could explain the finer differences in muscle recruitment, but I can’t). And you can certainly do them off the floor!


Posterior chain exercises
Snatch grip RDL
Dimel Deads
Pull throughs
Sumo RDL
Single leg back extension
Reverse hypers and GHR’s if you have them

If you dont use these for your main movement then great PC exercises at higher reps:
Goodmorning squats
Sumo deads

Stiff leg deadlifts are not the same as goodmornings. Same muscles different way. Try them both and you will know how.

Thanks for all the responses guys! So far I’ve been doing one-legged RDL, dynamic lunges and Supine bridges. I split my leg workout into two days, so I think I’ll try Sumo DL tomorrow and see how that goes. A side question, do DL hit the upper back as well? As for Good Mornings, I’ll have to hold the weight on my chest, right now I have a shoulder issue that prevents me from putting a bar behind my neck. I’ll probably rotate the exercises every couple weeks and see what results I get with each one.

To-Shin Do

The wider your grip with DL’s the more emphasis is placed on the upper back.