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Squats vs. Hack Squats

I was wondering if anybody could give me some advice on squats vs.using a hack squat? I am 37 years old and just recently started training again down in my basement.I am still interested in putting on muscle and know the importance of squats and dead lifts.

The problem however [other than maybe me being a pussy]is that I had back surgery many years ago and have a steel rod fused to my spine. I do squats but is very uncomfortable for my back to the point where I’m not going as heavy as I can.

The question I have is can I expect almost the same benefit if I were to go heavy on a hack squat?

While on this topic I have the same question concerning doing stiff-leg deads as opposed to regular dead lifts?

I appreciate if anybody has any advice on this. Thanks…

I wouldn’t even think of calling you a pussy, there are people out there who have no back issues who will not even think of putting weighton their back. And you have a steel rod along your spine. My hat off to you!!

anyway, the squat is the #1 exercise. but in your situation you do whatever feels comfortable. the difference with the hack squat is you won’t have the weighton your back which means your upper body is not getting the benefit of that, the static contraction of staying tight and stabilizing the weight. But it’s still good for the legs.

What about front squats???
as for the deadlift and stiff legged.
stiff legged is mainly for your hammies and glutes, and again the deadlift works the whole body. And it depends on the stance you use, conventional or sumo. Conventinal will use quads more than the sumo.

Between stiff leg deads and hack squats, your legs are getting a fairly well rounded workout. Throw in some lunges and split squats as well. Mike Robertson did a great article a while ago on single leg stuff. There was plenty in that to kick anyone’s ass.

I think someone already suggested it…front squats. You have to ask yourself, “what is my reality?” The reality is, you have a steel rod in your back. It’s not being a pussy to not back squat. I know quite a few prominent strength coaches you don’t have their athletes back squat at all. Front squats allow for greater depth, they don’t put as much compressive force on the spine, and they hammers the quads. Sounds like a perfect exercise for you.

Also, don’t neglect the importance of unilateral work. One-legged strength is entirely different than two-legged strength. So adding in a healthy dose of split squats, step ups, one-legged RDL’s, etc should bode well for you.

[quote]NVRQUIT wrote:

The problem however [other than maybe me being a pussy]is that I had back surgery many years ago and have a steel rod fused to my spine. I do squats but is very uncomfortable for my back to the point where I’m not going as heavy as I can.

The question I have is can I expect almost the same benefit if I were to go heavy on a hack squat?
[/quote]

Is it uncomfortable to squat with a light weight or just the bar? You said you just got back to lifting, so why start out so heavy and risk injury? From my female point of view, even men in my age group (I’m 52) fall into loading the bar as heavy as possible and sacrifice their form for their ego.

IMO… back squats are better that hack squats, and if you are able to use proper form with a lighter weight and be comfortable with it, gradually increase the weight by 1-5% every other week to progress. If this doesn’t work. by all means, hack squat, as this insures proper movement. Best of luck to you.

If you lift in a gym with a “super deadlift bar” or a hex bar, this may be an option for you as well. While you will be limited by grip strength, it will put (according to the literature…) the “weight centered through body’s midline, reducing stress on the lower back”. Maybe this could help in your situation.

Don’t mess around, use light weight and check th esuggested exercises as above. How is your back strength? You’ll need to work on the back more than legs and of course your core. This may sound silly, however don’t rely on a weight belt if at all possible, the back will strengthen in a proactive way then keeping it week with a belt. A belt IMO is only uselful for max lifts. How does the rod impead your form is the question I think you need to ask and how you can work around it. Leg extensions and leg curls can also be used. Deadlifts, if capable will do a fine job for overall mass development, think how you could work around the challenge. DB squats may be good as well. Experiment.