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Hack Squat Form Tips. Switch Up Your StanceTo emphasize glute involvement take a wider stance and/or place your feet slightly higher on the sled or platform. To emphasize quadriceps involvement take a narrower stance and/or place your feet slightly lower on the sled or platform. To execute the hack squat using a machine begin by resting your back against the pad with your shoulders under the bars.

Place the feet on the upper portion of the platform, shoulder-width apart, with the toes pointed slightly outward. Place your hands on the handles and straighten your legs. To use the hack squat machine, you stand on a fixed platform (facing away from the machine) beneath shoulder pads that bear however much weight you select.

Typically, that platform is angled so that your toes are slightly below your heels, positioning your body as if you are doing traditional squats with weight plates under your heels. Luckily, a hack squat machine is a safe and efficient way to exercise without potential injury. Performing a hack squat on a hack squat machine will help you target your quadriceps and your glutes.

The exercise is performed by placing your feet on top of plates shoulder-width apart. Machine Hack Squat Instructions Load the machine with the desired weight and position your shoulders and back against the pads. Position your feet at shoulder width, extend your legs, and release the safety handles.

Slowly lower the weight by bending your knees until your thighs are approximately at 90 degrees. The back squat may be the best overall thigh developer, but it is also the toughest on your spine and knees. Having a hack machine in your home gym allows you to squat without the pain. The benefits of these machines are that they will relieve pressure on your lumbar region while allowing you to target specific areas of the thigh. Don’t skip leg day!

A hack squat machine allows you to focus on your quads without worrying about form or spotters. Take some of the pressure off of your joints and get big with our review of some of the best hack squat machines on the market! We’ve carefully researched our top picks to provide you with the best options available. But before you jump into the reviews, take a look at these.

The hack squat is one of the famous machines that are used by the bodybuilders and fitness trainees to develop the lower body parts. The exercise is performed on a sled by bending the body into a 45-degree angle. It works on the three main muscles of the lower body. How much does a hack squat machine cost?

Hack squat machines cost roughly $1000 $3000 on average. Where can I buy a hack squat machine? On Amazon.

What is the best hack squat machine? We recommend the BodyCraft F660 Leg Press / Hip Sled. Learn more in our buyer’s guide. How to use a hack squat machin.

Do a wall squat, 7 Benefits of Doing Squats and Variations to Try.Variations of the squat can include weights, like barbells or dumbbells, resistance bands, or yoga balls. To do a basic squat: Start with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart. Keep your.

This traditional Front Squat grip is also used in Olympic lifts such as the Clean.

List of related literature:

The hack squat machine was next, the third angle of the morning in which I worked legs.

“Muscle: Confessions of an Unlikely Bodybuilder” by Samuel Wilson Fussell
from Muscle: Confessions of an Unlikely Bodybuilder
by Samuel Wilson Fussell
Open Road Media, 2015

It’s important to note that you can use a box to gauge distance with all of the squat variations, but at a certain point the box needs to be removed so they know when and how to reverse the movement in midair.

“Glute Lab: The Art and Science of Strength and Physique Training” by Bret Contreras, Glen Cordoza
from Glute Lab: The Art and Science of Strength and Physique Training
by Bret Contreras, Glen Cordoza
Victory Belt Publishing, 2019

Holding the weight on the back of your shoulders, with your feet either flat on the floor or with the heels elevated by one-inch blocks, keep your upper body straight and lower yourself into a full squat.

“Arnold” by Arnold Schwarzenegger, Douglas Kent Hall
from Arnold
by Arnold Schwarzenegger, Douglas Kent Hall
Simon & Schuster, 1977

This setup is easier than a Pistol Squat because you don’t need extend the nonworking leg in front of your body.

“Your Body Is Your Barbell: Lose Weight and Get into the Best Shape of Your Life in just 6 Weeks Using Nothing but Your own Bodyweight” by BJ Gaddour
from Your Body Is Your Barbell: Lose Weight and Get into the Best Shape of Your Life in just 6 Weeks Using Nothing but Your own Bodyweight
by BJ Gaddour
Rodale Books, 2014

Modification: To make the exercise easier, use a chair to support the bottom of your squat.

“Extreme Transformation: Lifelong Weight Loss in 21 Days” by Chris Powell, Heidi Powell
from Extreme Transformation: Lifelong Weight Loss in 21 Days
by Chris Powell, Heidi Powell
Hachette Books, 2015

To successfully complete the squat, heels must remain on the floor, the head and chest must face forward, and the dowel must be maximally pressed overhead.

“Athletic Body in Balance” by Gray Cook
from Athletic Body in Balance
by Gray Cook
Human Kinetics, Incorporated, 2003

All of the technique elements that are important in a regular squat are important here.

“Maximum Strength: Get Your Strongest Body in 16 Weeks with the Ultimate Weight-Training Program” by Eric Cressey, Matt Fitzgerald
from Maximum Strength: Get Your Strongest Body in 16 Weeks with the Ultimate Weight-Training Program
by Eric Cressey, Matt Fitzgerald
Hachette Books, 2008

In addition to adding leverage and weight to the mob, using a box or bench gives you added mobility, giving you access to areas of your hamstrings that are inaccessible when mobilizing from the floor.

“Becoming a Supple Leopard 2nd Edition: The Ultimate Guide to Resolving Pain, Preventing Injury, and Optimizing Athletic Performance” by Kelly Starrett, Glen Cordoza
from Becoming a Supple Leopard 2nd Edition: The Ultimate Guide to Resolving Pain, Preventing Injury, and Optimizing Athletic Performance
by Kelly Starrett, Glen Cordoza
Victory Belt Publishing, 2015

Barbell Lunge Combo 4 x 6 each leg (front/reverse) Minimal rest C) Barbell Front Squat 4 x 8

“Men's Health Natural Bodybuilding Bible: A Complete 24-Week Program For Sculpting Muscles That Show” by Tyler English, Editors of Men's Health Magazi
from Men’s Health Natural Bodybuilding Bible: A Complete 24-Week Program For Sculpting Muscles That Show
by Tyler English, Editors of Men’s Health Magazi
Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony/Rodale, 2013

In the squat the thighs need to be parallel to the floor at the end of the eccentric repetition phase.

“Optimizing Strength Training: Designing Nonlinear Periodization Workouts” by William J. Kraemer, Steven J. Fleck
from Optimizing Strength Training: Designing Nonlinear Periodization Workouts
by William J. Kraemer, Steven J. Fleck
Human Kinetics, 2007

Alexia Lewis RD

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Heath Coach who believes life is better with science, humor, and beautiful, delicious, healthy food.

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  • I can only do the sled with no weights. But yet I can squat 3 plates. And leg press 6 plates. Yes to proper depth and form. Idk why i cant hack squat. Is it just harder?

  • Great video and tip’s.
    I’ve been up on my toes without the results that I was striving for now I understand.
    Thanks for sharing the details

  • I’ve never been able to do hacks until I discovered the HS linear hack squat. My knees can handle it and there’s spinal compression. One year in and my legs are actually growing! And at 65+ too!

  • This training video answered all my questions about hack squat. I’ve had a leg press/hack squat machine and didn’t use the hack squat because I also am short. Why I didn’t think of mats I dunno? Thanks again Dr Mike!! Your the real game changer.

  • Will we achieve the same effect instead of Hax Squad Machine by using the Smith Machine Back Squad with the legs slightly forward? What other technical aspects should we pay attention to?

  • Lol apologies for the mini series… starting legs would you do just hack squats to start? or would you add in leg press as well? And just starting is one or both of these enough for a leg workout?

  • Thoughts on the way Tom Platz used to do a lot of hack squats, descending with heels up on your toes then driving up with heels down with the knees kinda pointing out?

  • Wouldn’t having a resistance band on only one side mean that the resistance is slightly higher on that particular side. Or is the difference negligible. TIA

  • We should just have a war on this Earth against every fucking idiot on steroids. What people fail to realize is everything they teach is based on their steroid demanding biology. The reason why many see little results is because they listen to fuck heads like this. And I’m not talking about this video exactly, showing somebody how to properly use a machine for you steroid dick suckers going to defend against my statement. The point is nobody should be taking advice from these fucking morons.
    They are a danger to society and should be eliminated.

  • DONT GO ALL THE WAY DOWN. Going all the way down increases chances of wearing out the cartilage at the bottom of the patella and increase in patella tendinitis

  • Exposure to the hack squat is such a benefit to hypertrophy training. I turn gay for Dr. Mike. Like one of those new fluid trans people.

  • If you go so low you’ll activate the hamstrings & glutes. Just go to parrallel slow with pause reps. Also fun to do, Begin with an ascending set, the opposite of the drop set. Start with bodyweight as warmup 8reps, then trow on a 10kg plate on both sides, immediately do another 8 reps, trow another 10 plate on both sides, again 8 reps, until you get to the weight you’re gonna use for the normal sets. do 3 normal sets. Then finish with a drop set till bodyweight. Time to die

  • Unfortunately my Anytime Fitness location does not have the hack squat machine, I’ve seen it done with a barbell but I’m rehabbing my Rotator cuff and can’t pull the barbell up correctly, any other way of doing this and getting the benefits of this move,

  • At least there’s one thing I can say I have in common with Mike, and its things happening in our assholes…wait no that came out wrong

  • Recently switched to a powerlifting gym which doesnt have a hack squat. Are theyre any bars or methods you can suggest to mimic one? I was having good results with them.

  • If you do high bar squats with Oly shoes, should you use those Oly shoes when hack squatting as well for “transfer” purposes.

    Ps. I can maintain heels down without Oly shoes going atg on hack squats soo I don’t know if it actually matters all that much.

  • Hey, problem. The hack squat machine WITHOUT additional weight is crazy heavy for me and I can’t go down all the way. Should I just forget the whole thing?

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  • My gyms Hacksquat rack has the foot plate angled forward rather 90 degrees from the direction of weight travel. Anyone know what that’s about? I know many of the kinds of racks allow you to change the floor plate angle but this on is fixed and at probably 95 or 100 degrees off the direction of travel.

  • I’m really enjoying this series. How about doing the barbell hack squat; it might be interesting as it’s more technical than the machine version.

  • “I never grew taller than a child,” ���� I completely understand that and how usually machines don’t accommodate short people’s full range of motion.

  • I am actually doing the feet real high on the platform since I cannot normal squat. So I hope that is good for the glutes instead of the quads. I will try to see if my back is rounding when I do it. I do have a tendency to do that indeeed:/

  • Who’s the idiot that gave you a dislike? John. Your experience and advise is what makes these videos really valuable. Keep it up!!

  • Hack squats for the win, excellent mass builder, my favorite.
    brand does matter though, our gym just got a legend fitness hack squat, not a fan, but I HIGHLY enjoy a cybex hack squat, great depth availability.

  • I like using a pretty heavy load and push hard as fuck to get up to 10 reps at about RPE 9. I usually don’t lock out until I do quick rest/pause breathers at reps 7-10. Starting to use the hack squat with this method FOR ME has noticeably grown my quads. I have had multiple people say, “Damn dude! Your legs are GROWING! What are you doing different?” Oh, yeah. And my squats are going up and up and up after a multi-month plateau.

  • What are the best tips if you find this places too much pressure on your knees no matter how many foot positions or placements you use?

  • How about a video with more common, crappy leg press machines that most gyms have? (Like the one that looks like a chair and moves mostly horizontally?)

  • Is the Leverage based Power Squat machine like the one from Watson or Arsenal a good alternative for people with longer femur than tibia who experience knee issues on a linear hack squat?

  • Hey MD,I done hang cleans,shoulder shrugs and dead lifts today.Is it ok to do squats,hack squats and lungdes tomorrow? ��������and your tips are greatly appreciated on the hack squats. They really hurt my knees when feet low.Now I know what to do. My workout has me doing them second after barebell squats.IS this not good?

  • I’m not sure if it’s just my measly ectomorph nervous system or what but I wouldn’t be able to be let alone speak this composed 15min after my leg workout lol.

  • For years I always did this movement with my feet higher up. I didn’t think it was helping my quads grow. But then someone told me to put my feet in the “low foot” position to work my quads. I tried doing it that way and I did feel it more in my quads. But after only three leg workouts doing hack squats with the lower foot position my knees are kinda messed up. Also, when I go down all the way in the low foot position my heels lift up off the platform. Is there any solution? I have a longer torso and shorter legs. Should I just avoid doing the hack squat?

  • I’ve been training at home since March and have been doing a DIY-style hack squat using a foam roller against the wall (without external load, so far). Once I’m set up, I start the reps at the bottom ROM and cut off the upper ROM a little above parallel, shooting for that sticking point sweet spot where I feel a tremendous amount of tension in my quads, before lowering back down with as much control as possible (control decreases with reps). To be clear, I’m probably a mid to upper-level beginner with legs, but these foam roller squats are absolutely brutal on my quads, which is great, but at the same time it isn’t this overwhelming exercise, and I largely attribute that to being able to take a nice pause at the bottom in between each rep and take a breath and then really feel the motivation to fire a another really strong contraction. I’m tall so I keep my feet really close to my body and this allows for a nice stretch. As long as I keep my feet nice and tight to my body and make sure my legs are aligned properly both at the top and bottom (I do preliminary setup at the top before I drop down to starting position and fine tune the setup) so that my knees track over my toe correctly, I have zero knee pain and just walk away with a huge quad pump. I highly recommend giving this a shot for anyone training at home and wanting to hack squat. It’s a really fun movement, but also really challenging. Before quarantine, I was doing safety squat bar squats at the gym for worksets of 200lbs in 5-7 rep range. When I switched to these foam roller squats, my initial capacity for them (again with no external load) was sets of 5 or 6, going to failure. This is definitely the leg movement I look forward to most these days. Combined with weighted lunges, foam roller back extensions and supermans, I feel like I’ve not just adequately but above-and-beyond replaced my safety bar squat in terms of gains (for the time being, at least) and because of this I’ve been having really good progress despite training entirely at home with minimal equipment.

  • When I try to place my feet lower on the platform to focus on quads my heels always lift up while at the bottom of the movement. I can’t seem to avoid this no matter what I do. The only way I can keep my feet flat is if I place them high up on the platform. But that focuses on hams instead of quads.

  • 0:19 Opening remarks
    1:36 Mistake #1 Not enough ROM
    2:53 Mistake #2 Too much ROM
    3:35 Mistake #3 Not having a standardized ROM
    5:10 Mistake #4-Feet placement either too far back or forward
    7:17 Mistake #5 coming up on toes
    9:08 Mistake #6Magical feet width
    11:46 Mistake #7 Uncontrolled descent
    13:33 Mistake #8 Lockout paranoia
    15:55 Mistake #9Going too heavy or too light
    17:30 Concluding remarks

  • Hey John, thanks so much for your vids they’ve really helped me restructure my training for the better.

    Just wondering what your thoughts are on Reverse Hack Squats? What muscles do they primarily hit?

  • I underestimated this exercise a lot. Injured lower back with barbell squats so started doing these and have to say it is much harder imo.

  • My lower back still hurts a bit going too heavy with squats or deadlifts from a lil’ strain I got a little under a week ago. Thought I’d finally give this a try, gotta say, if you need to go lighter and get a little volume, this and reverse hypers are a blessing.

  • Ok first off, why’s this guy’s legs shaved? He’s no competitor. Second, his eccentric motion was far too quick, especially on a machine that removes the need for balance. Machines are particularly good for slow eccentrics. Don’t these guys know that the negative is just as crucial for hypertrophy as the concentric?

  • Call me a wimp or a chicken, but I never go heavy on these because I get total nerves about the chance on my slipping off of the platform. Does anybody else ever have this fear? Or am I just thinking too much about it.

  • Is this the best alternative to squatting? I to nervous to do standard one after suffering a spinal injury (three disks) a little over a year ago. What are best alternatives for squats and deadlift…………. QUAD

  • Hi I was wondering if there are any brands that you’d recommend on hack squat machines. I have only 3 options, Matrix hack squat, nautilus hack squat and tuffstuff hack squat but I don’t know which one to go for! Your help would be great. Thank you!

  • Mats are a good solution to being too short to hack squat but there really is no solution to being so narrow you just shoop straight tf through the shoulder rests. Mike may joke but being literally the size of a small child is no fun.

  • Ive never really played around foot placement on hack squats. Didnt have a hack squat machine until last year. I noticed my hams blew the hell up. That was a high and med foot position. Well tried the lower foot position and holy crap, the burn was unreal! Thanks big John!

  • As someone who is taking up weight lifting for health and fat loss. I have found that I despise deadlift and barbell back squats, and simply will not do them. I will have to try this hack squat machine in place of barbell back squats. What do you all recommend for barbell back squats and deadlift alternatives?

  • I find I can feel my quads working when doing hack squats more than barbell squats. It seems like my back takes over during barbell squats sometimes. I’d imagine I could get in more volume without too much recovery issues as well when doing hack squats vs barbell squats

  • Hey!!! Marc!!! What is the best weight lifting / powerlifting belt that you can recommend for going heavy that truly supports your back!!! I count the seconds to the new Ruckus comes out!!! I love what you do!!! Thanks!!! bro!!!

  • John is 100% right. Hack squat are heavily dependent on the machine. In my local 24 hr fitness gym, they swapped the traditional Hammer strength hack squat with Linear hack squat (life fitness). LHS have 45 angle at the back, so your back isn’t upright. Combined that with doing it as my first set, I overworked my patellar tendon. Now I only do 2 exercises for legs: barbell back squats and dumbell split squats to failure. No tendon issues so far. I feel the older you get your goals should be injury prevention and lower body fat (even at expense of small incremental muscle gain). The tendons / joints aren’t loyal as you age:(

  • This is one of the only YouTube videos that give you answers to everything in the title plus more. Thank you for amazing content and wisdom.

  • Hey Mike, is it fundamentally bad to let your pelvis tilt while squatting? My lower back stays neutral, but I cannot get depth unless I allow my hips to round.

  • Great videos John, I feel like you’re talking right to me, genuine dude I can tell. Keep up the good work man, these videos are legit. I’d love to get a whole weeks worth of lifting in with ya, hitting all muscle groups.

  • I like the idea of a series of these videos identifying the common mistakes for one exercise at a time. Please include a link to a playlist of this series.

  • Kind of a stupid question I’m 6’4 am I too tall to utilize a hack squat machine I tend to feel pressure on my knees. Love these vids just hit that subscribe button!

  • Great video, I see a lot of people on the hack squat with their feet together to target the glutes. Is that also okay in your opinion?

  • Hey John, if you’re ever in the Atlanta area come to Mad House gym in Lithia Springs. It’d be a blessing to have you plus I think you’ll be pleased to see about every piece of equipment you could imagine.

  • Thank you so much for the warnings. As I get older injury and doing an exersize wrong is more important than how much weight I can move.

  • I wish I could do hacks without knee pain. It’s so strange how easily I can do barbell back/front squats (even weighted with the barbell on my shoulders sissy squats to help keep my back perfectly straight) and even use a smith machine with zero issues, but the moment I try to use the hack squat, its 100% knee pressure and no matter the position, I can’t fix it. I can do reverse hacks tho interestingly enough.

  • I have the 40 degree BMs hack and a 35 degree nebula, every now and then I start my leg workouts with hacks and have developed some minor kneed discomfort. I will never do hacks again as a first exercise

  • I like to think this tip en info applies to dumbbell squats aswell, atleast so it feels ��!

    I mean, iam talking about the kind of exercise you do by emulating an squat machine.
    Like, using a foam roller behind your back while you lean against the wall and a pair of dumbbell weights to be an MEAN SCREAM SQUAT MACHINE ��

    correct me if iam wrong Mountain��1 ^^, but is that ↑ example the right approach, and the next best thing to an squat machine press?!?

    John, I incorporated an interval lunge exercise from one of your streams that really sets your legs on fire!
    It is the “tri-set” exercise in wich you do 3×8 rep each leg with an 10 seconds pause/hold between every 8 reps.

    I have done that exercise right after my leg extensions & curls (band) at the start of my exercise on leg day.
    And i must say, there’s no much juice left in my legs to go on by the time i do my final calves exercise!!…. 40 min later��!

    I did, 2x2x15reps and 10 secs hold per leg with 50 pound dumbbell!

    Question john, do you think or do you know off poeple that using heavy bands in combination with dumbbells to improve muscle size/strenght in legs over time!?

    I like to think so, especialy and because i hardly can stand on my legs by the end of my workout!!

    Only bad thing about squats is the knee joints for REAL!!!

    The wider i go, the more i feel it in the knees, even though i do the exercise with proper form!
    Narrow stance seems to be more forgiven!

    Thanks for another GREAT youtube from non other than Howling-��Mad��Packleader-Mountain��1 ARF-Barf-WHOOOOoooooooo

  • i stole your method from tom platz hack squat isotension video and incorporated it into my leg routing. my quads hate you! thanks again for a great video!

  • 2:24 Couldn’t agree more. Strained my patellar tendon doing the low footing very first in my routine. It’s been a little over two months, and I’m still paying for it. Warm up on leg day, folks!

  • Im 6’4 and full depth is at the very bottom hitting the pegs and the very top is where I extend lol, cant put mats:/. Ill just deal with the pegs

  • Thanks for the tips on this machine. It’s a love hate relationship for me as well. Always trying to make sure my knees are feeling good. Do you have any tips for foot placement on the vertical leg press machine? Thoughts on depth and back pain on it as well? It’s hard to judge depth I feel my ankles won’t let me go low like on the angled press and though it’s said to be good for people with back issues I find if I am too far in the machine I feel direct weight and pressure on my lower back.

  • Hack squats are awesome i can go heavier on them than standing squats as i have herniated disks in my lower back and neck from the car accident i was in back in 2001

  • Awesome bro!! Appreciate the help legs are the only muscle I haven’t added to a routine yet do to medical reasons now I have a green light on that, so I am excited to dive in. Like the band trick love that, one question… I am starting this exercise to simulate a squat or prepare. You mentioned foot placement further up hams, further down quads. Drive through your heals never lifting because that is quad tendon.. and also I noticed your chuck Taylor’s would you grab a pair of these to keep your foot flatter closer displacement, is it worth buying lifting shoes like crossfitters? Most of my foot wear are basketball or over ankles.. but chucks for now be good?: appreciate your feedback and I definitely subscribed and liked you went through things slow and I like that. Last question feet shoulder width? And do you want to force your knees out on the way down. Cheers and thanks again can’t wait to get started.

  • I respect the fact that you give advice on how to prevent injuries with such exercise which indeed have a considerably higher risk of injury than classic leg workout ( leg extension, squats, formal leg press). Thank you sir, I’ve been learning a lot from you, keep the channel going and best of luck!!!������

  • I understand that there different variations of hack squats, but in regards to quad development would doing them like let’s say a Ton Platz ( feet placement low and on toes) would that be somewhat potentially dangerous?

  • IMO, another point to mention is bracing / not rounding your upper back. The weight should rest on your shoulders and you should keep your chest up just like in a front squat + keep your core tight throughout the movement.
    Great advice as always, John.

  • Good video. Short sweet and to the point. No added fluff. John does a great job on how to do exercises and how not to get injured.

  • Amazing content as alway’z my man. Unfortunately I can only get to planet fitness for my workouts, it’z convenient at home and I can walk to them when I’m out of town. So no hack squats for me, but when I can get to other gyms hack squat and the v squat are definitely on my list. Regular squats are just too hard on my knees. Do you have any recommendations for good legs without squat’z? Thanks again for the lesson!!

  • Thanks for the fantastic instructions. I will most definitely apply differnt foot positions to my training. My gym has what’s called a linear hack squat. Anyway you sort of sit in it. I use it more of as a sissy squat because I go all the way down.

  • i do these specifically for quads after ive done barbell squats. i keep my feet lower down on the pad and just squat to parallel. i dont see the point of going lower them. also wasnt the hack squat designed totarget quads? the barbell hack squat is a quad exercise. Also, i had been raising my heels and i think this was the cause of quad tendon pain in my left leg. i make an effort not do this now. is it recommended to keep the feet wider to ensure this doesnt happen? i usually keep mine lose together in an effort to target the quads more as explained in the video.

  • Please do a leg press exercise index next. I loved this video. The timing couldn’t have been better with legs coming up as well. ����.