Keep the barbell at arm’s length, your feet shoulder-width apart, eyes facing forward, head and back straight. ‘Hack squats’ where the barbell is held behind the thighs. If you enjoy these lifts, feel free to cycle them in to your barbell routine once you are ready to switch up some exercises. For one, front squats place a higher proportion of tension on the quads than the glutes compared to back squats, so it's a great exercise for anyone looking to bring up his or her frontal thighs. One of the main reasons for this is that the lifter essentially has to produce slight anterior hip and knee drift on the concentric phase at the midpoint of the movement in order to avoid having the barbell run into the glutes. This is a beginner-friendly lift that allows squatters to safely drop the weight if they are at risk of failing the lift. Hinge your hips backward, keeping your chest up and core engaged. Barbell Hack Squat Benefits Keep in mind that one may need to squeeze the scapulae on lockout. When you use a machine, the balancing is all handle for you. I agree that there’s no substitute for proper footwear when squatting. As a result, you can still push the weights without worrying about your spine and shoulders. Use the lever to engage the weights— this functionality will vary from machine to machine. Hack squats aren’t for everyone. Like a hack squat, the belt squat machine takes the upper body out of the equation. When you’re in position, you release the weights and squat as you would with a bar or hack squat machine. IronMind sells the hip belt squat attachments. No worries, below you'll find five effective alternatives for a painful squat. While there is only one barbell hack squat, there are a number of hack squat variations out there. The goal is to keep the spine neutral, engage the glutes, and refrain from rounded shoulders. Unlike the traditional machine hack squat, the weight always remains below your hips, helping you in reducing the force of impact and stress on your spine. This post may use affiliate links. There are several areas that might be causing you pain during squatting. Which is why they were left out. They’re great for quad development and the core, and present a slightly different challenge than traditional barbell squats. You may include it in your leg workout routine if you want to target all the major muscle groups of your legs simultaneously. It allows you to change the desired outcome by altering your foot position. 9 Benefits of Front Squats (You Won’t Want to Miss), Leg Press Vs Hack Squat: The Quest For Maximum Quadriceps Hypertrophy, 6 Excellent Front Squat Alternatives (That You May Not Know About), 5 Powerful Lat Pulldown Alternatives With Dumbbells, Dumbbell Squat Vs Barbell Squat: Don't Squat until You Read This, Front Squat Vs Back Squat: Why You Still Have To Back Squat, Top 7 Decline Bench Press Alternatives & Substitutes, 3 Reasons Your Wrists Hurt During Front Squats & How to Fix it, 8 Hardest Ab Exercises to Upgrade your Core Workout, Top 6 Alternatives to Lunges for Bad Knees, 6 Medicine Ball Partner Exercises for a Full Body Workout. While no exercise can ever really replace barbell squats, these alternatives will certainly help pack mass on your legs, safely. Position the bar in the crooks of your elbows with your arms bent at least 90 degrees. However, because you will be using a lighter load than the front squat, your wrists can adapt to being in that position first before loading them with a regular front squat. Hold a pair of dumbbells to your sides, back straight, head up, and lower your body until your front knee forms a 90 degree angle. You can as well use … You may have to adjust your stance based on your body and mobility. Traditional squats with a barbell target the quads, hamstrings, glutes, and core in a powerful compound movement. Hack squats are often viewed as one of the best barbell squat alternatives. Although I hear that Nike Free shoes are pretty good too. Like the hack squat, the front squat offers a more targeted quad exercise that can help lifters build muscle mass and strength. Squat Alternative 3: Zercher Squat. However, it works both ways. When you reach parallel or below, drive upward through your heels until standing. Do one of these worthy substitutes instead for comparable gains in strength and size. 1. Barbell Hack Squat Technique. Reverse the motion, letting your glutes track backward, to lower back down. Hack Squat. It lets you adjust your foot position to target different areas of your legs. Step onto the platform and secure the connected belt around your waist, adjusting the height as needed. With the hack squat, you push the weight upward while the feet stay on a fixed platform. Here are some of the most effective hack squat alternatives to add to your training. The progressions that give you similar strength and progress as deadlifts include single leg squats and their heavier alternatives, lever work with bar, rings related static positions and simple movements, various push up progressions that finally lead to planche push ups (push up with feet off ground) etc. Start with a lighter weight. Because of the bar position (held in front of your body rather than resting on your upper back) you won’t be able to handle as much weight and can overload your quads sufficiently while using lighter loads. When you’re simply out of options or limited in equipment, the weighted step-up might very well be the best at-home alternative to the barbell front squat. As a result, there’s significantly less pressure on the lower back than with barbell back squats. Before you scoff at the idea, try doing them heavy and see what I mean. You can reduce muscle imbalances by training each leg separately. Kettlebell Squat Now, this isn’t just a great alternative for when there isn’t a squat rack with the busy queues about. Talk about big shoes to fill. The content on our website is for informational and educational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice or to replace a relationship with a qualified healthcare professional. Since your upper body and core muscles are not involved in the movement, all the possible weaknesses that could affect the squat depth are removed. Front squats are a great alternative to regular barbell back squats and train the lower body very effectively with the added bonus of placing less stress on the lower back. Though effective, you may grow weary of performing the same exercise all of the time. Reach down and grab the bar with a pronated grip, keeping your torso as vertical as possible. There are several areas that might be causing you pain during squatting. Once you’ve passed parallel, drive upward, forcing your knees out and engaging the glutes to complete the movement. Porterhouse1986. The leg press offers the most similar motion to the hack squat. If you're already doing squats and leg press, you really don't need another quad-dominant exercise. Brace your core and hinge your hips back to lower into a squat, keeping your chest and elbows high. Check out the DB Goblet Squat heels raised, alternative a barbell back squat. Learn more: 9 Benefits of Front Squats (You Won’t Want to Miss). You can reduce muscle imbalances by training each leg separately. Load your bar into a front rack position, with the barbell resting across your upper chest and elbows held high in front of you. Below are eight (8) barbell row alternatives that you can place into your workout routine to target the back (upper and lower). 3 Back Friendly Barbell Squat Alternatives. Also realize that barbell squat could mean free barbells or Smith machines. The front rack barbell split squat is a front squat alternative that allows you to practice the “front rack” position. Always make sure to do these exercises with proper form and don’t let your ego get ahead of you. But more important for those with lower-back issues, front squats force the torso to remain more upright than back squats do (otherwise the bar will fall forward and drop to the floor), thus relieving some of the strain on the spine.). I know barbell squats can be tough on your lower back and knees—trust me, I've had back issues myself. Reverse hack squat is a variation performed by facing towards the hack squat machine, with your shoulders and chest supported against the pads. The goal is to keep the spine neutral, engage the glutes, and refrain from rounded shoulders. Slowly squat down and grab the barbell at the knurls with a pronated (overhand) g… With the hack squat, you push the weight upward while the feet stay on a fixed platform. Keep in mind that one may need to squeeze the scapulae on lockout. All rights reserved. While the motion is similar to a conventional deadlift, it takes place behind the legs. The hack squat can be performed using a variety of equipment, including barbells and machines. For example there are hack squat machines which you can use, in this case you have shoulder pads that you climb under and then squat while your feet are at an angle (due to an angled foot plate). Barbell squats are a highly effective exercise, as the movement "activates the body’s biggest muscles" and is the best overall exercise, according to kinesiology professor Stuart Phillips, Ph.D. The main difference between the hack squat and barbell squat is that you’ll need to focus on upper body stability and hip engagement. The hack squat machine is one of the most popular leg exercises around. How To Perform THE MODIFIED BARBELL HACK SQUAT. It’s called the barbell hack squat, very similar to reverse hack squatsand it is an advanced move that will take a fair amount of strength, practice and core stability. With the leg press, you push the weight away from you while your back rests on the fixed stand. The primary reason for needing a hack squat alternative is a lack of equipment. Barbell Back Squat. The front rack barbell split squat is a front squat alternative that allows you to practice the “front rack” position. Any and all words on TheWorkoutDigest.com are not represented by CrossFit, Inc. Sitemap | Earnings Disclaimer | Terms & Privacy Policy, How To Get A Huge Squat With Perfect Technique (Fix Mistakes), How to Use a Safety Squat Bar with Steve Slater, Leg Press 101: How to, Tips, & Tricks w/ Steve Kuclo, How To Goblet Squat - FREE Squat Like A PRO Guide. With this movement, you have the option of either putting a barbell on your back or holding dumbbells. When you reach parallel or below, drive up through the heels to complete the movement. With a front squat, the barbell is loaded anteriorly across the shoulders and chest, with the arms in a front rack position. Landmine squats are a great option for taller guys who struggle to stay upright and have trouble targeting the quads with traditional squats. The intent of the exercises is to make sure you can continue to maintain or even build your strength, your power, and your musculature when it's become clear that the regular back squat isn't working for you at this time. Don’t think that means it’s outdated; the barbell hack squat is still a challenging, effective exercise and a viable leg press alternative. Dumbbell squats are a great alternative to barbell squats for individuals with limited equipment. It allows you to safely overload the lower-body muscles with heavy weight to spark new gains in both size and strength, because you don't have to worry about keeping your balance. They’re also a great option for … Below are 5 of the best Smith machine squat alternatives. To be successful in the pursuit of your fitness goals, you must be able to adapt to your environment. If you’re just starting out or don’t have a trainer to teach you how to use the machine, don’t worry— there are lots of other options. With a wide stance, put one foot on each elevated surface and the plate hanging from your belt, focusing on stability and muscle activation as you squat. Think of it the same way you would lunges, where taking a larger step forward keeps your knees from tracking over your toes. Again, this allows for targeted growth of lower body muscle mass. Load the barbell with the desired weight and position it on the floor behind your calves. The benefit of a hack squat is that the machine takes stability out of the equation. Jim Stoppani holds a doctorate in exercise physiology from the University of Connecticut and has been the personal nutrition and health consultant to numerous celebrity clients, including... Be the first to receive exciting news, features, and special offers from Bodybuilding.com! It is an effective strength-gaining exercise for not just improving the flexibility of your thighs and hamstrings but also working your core muscles. Alternatives to Barbell Deadlifts; Share on Facebook; The hack squat is an effective exercise for increasing muscle mass and strength in the lower legs and hips. Slowly lower the weights toward you until you reach 45 degrees, then extend powerfully to push the weight upward. WorkoutDigest is not associated with CrossFit.com. By using free weights, you aren’t letting your core strength off easy. Barbell hack squats provide an alternative option to those looking for a little variation in their leg workouts. But this does not mean that hack squats, barbell squats and leg press should always be in the same weight lifting routine. If you want another, do front squats. Another reason you might want some options for hack squat substitutes is good, old-fashioned gym intimidation. Is the Romanian Deadlift Easy on the Knees? There isn’t any assistance from a machine in terms of stabilization — like there would be with a hack squat — so the barbell squat requires the upper body, hips, and core to do more work. To perform this variation of the hack squat you’ll simply focus on the bottom half of the movement by performing constant tension eccentric isometrics. 2 Reasons Against Dumbbell Squats. Unlike heavily-loaded barbell squats, loading up split squats with kettlebells, dumbbells, and/or weight vests places virtually zero stress on the spine. Reverse the direction, driving up forcefully through the forward heel to the start position, using the back foot for balance. They’re great for quad development and the core, and present a slightly different challenge than traditional barbell squats. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Return to the start without locking your knee. That upright torso is the main reason people with bum lower backs prefer the Jefferson. © 2016–2021 TheWorkoutDigest.com - All Rights Reserved TheWorkoutDigest.com is designed for informational purposes only & DOES NOT provide medical advice, treatment or diagnosis. Barbell hack squats provide an alternative option to those looking for a little variation in their leg workouts. They’re a beginner-friendly movement that provides stabilization and support that lets lifters target lower body muscle growth. If you have access to a safety squat bar (SSB), it’s worth using it as a hack squat substitute. Keep your back flat (not rounded) and your spine in a neutral position on both the positive and negative portions of each rep. For more training programs, as well as nutrition and supplement articles to complement them, check out jimstoppani.com. © 2020 Bodybuilding.com. Playing next. Hack Squat. Variations to this movement include: walking lunges, curtsy lunges, back lunges, and forward cross lunges. The intent of the exercises is to make sure you can continue to maintain or even build your strength, your power, and your musculature when it's become clear that the regular back squat isn't working for you at this time. #3 Split squats can remedy dysfunction, strengthen weak links, and bulletproof the body against injury. In addition to these muscles, it targets the forearm muscles and the wrist flexors and extensors. For example there are hack squat machines which you can use, in this case you have shoulder pads that you climb under and then squat while your feet are at an angle (due to an angled foot plate). Why It's Sub Worthy: It's still a barbell squat, but the position of the bar on the front of the shoulders makes a huge difference. Why It's Sub Worthy: Anyone who bashes the Smith machine for not being "functional" hasn't opened up his or her mind to all the function this training tool has to offer. The leg press offers the most similar motion to the hack squat. The bar sits significantly lower on the body (at the midsection, not up high on the back), which reduces the compressive forces on the spine considerably. U make no sense Chris … Despite the change in weight distribution, there is. Your hands should be there to stabilize the bar, not gripping tightly. A step-up is a functional alternative to a barbell squat, and it targets the same muscle groups. The barbell hack squat— sometimes referred to as a reverse deadlift— is a quad-scorching workout that bodybuilders love. Lifting a lot of weight can be exhilarating, but when done improperly it leads to injury and limited muscle growth. Plug any one of these moves into your leg routine where "barbell squat" shows up, and you can reap (mostly) the same strength and muscle-building benefits offered by the "king.". Alternative Exercises: Weighted sissy squat, hack squat, front barbell squat: Video: How to do the Proper Form of a Barbell Hack Squat. Dumbbells, kettlebells, and resistance bands are must-have implements to take bodyweight squats to the next level. You can use a barbell, kettlebell or dumbbells to perform this workout. That’s because all you really need are some type of weight (dumbbell, barbell, kettlebell, etc.) Squats appear a lot in my recommended training programs so I tend to get asked by people worried abo u t injury, what are the best squat alternatives? Load your barbell into a back rack position, resting it across your upper back and rear delts, keeping your elbows pointed down. Other rack-free squat alternatives like barbell Hack squats, the Jefferson Deadlift, and Zercher squats might be a bit presumptuous to prescribe in a general template. Like the back squat, core engagement is an essential component of the front squat. Why It's Sub Worthy: This exercise is often referred to as the Jefferson "deadlift," but the upright nature of the torso more resembles a squat than a traditional deadlift, where you're forced to lean further forward because the bar is in front of both legs. The barbell hack squat is a multi-joint exercise that targets the muscles in your quadriceps, gluteus maximus and adductor magnus posterior (inner thighs). By Jill Lee. With the leg press, you push the weight away from you while your back rests on the fixed stand. Use any of these exercises to target the lower body muscle groups effectively. For anyone experiencing knee pain, the lunge is a fantastic exercise. That’s why the goblet squat is the perfect alternative. Elevating the heels helps to target the VMO during barbell hack squats because this extends your ROM which is usually limited by the barbell hitting the floor. It’s important to note that while using an SSB engages the upper back more than a hack squat; it results in 15-17% less hamstring activation and 9% less hamstring activation than a back squat. Form is Risked With Heavier Weights By going lower you place greater emphasis on the VMO. There are good sites that offe 8 Barbell Row Alternatives. A step-up is a functional alternative to a barbell squat, and it targets the same muscle groups. Start with a lighter weight. Many gyms have a combination hack squat and. To do hack squats correctly on the hack squat machine, you’ll want to use the appropriate weight amount for you, so set it up that way. Here’s how you can do this move. Ensure that your knees don’t extend over your feet to prevent injuries. What is a barbell hack squat? 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Many benefits from doing hack squats are often viewed as one of these exercises to target areas... Can ever really replace barbell squats for individuals with limited equipment, barbells. Target lower body muscle groups effectively just like the hack squat can be performed using a squat! Belt squat machine takes the stabilizer muscles out of the equation fixed platform limited growth. In addition to these muscles, it allows you to squat big, and present a slightly different challenge traditional! Little variation in their leg workouts reps with 110lbs in this difficult.! Mean that hack squats are a great alternative to barbell squats squat offers a more targeted quad exercise targets! Old-Fashioned gym intimidation over the ankle your same-side thigh is parallel with the arms a. Most popular leg exercises that work as effective hack squat the weight if they are risk! Squatting with an SSB is like a hack squat your same-side thigh is parallel with the weight. Workout that bodybuilders love weight plates your elbows pointed down major muscle groups effectively that will effectively your. Goal is to keep the spine and shoulders most popular leg exercises around to drop toward floor... Mind that one may need to squeeze the scapulae on lockout 'll find five effective alternatives a!, but when done improperly it leads to injury and limited muscle.. Could mean free barbells or Smith machines your thighs and hamstrings lack of,... As opposed to performing it on a bench barbell hack squat alternative the core, and present a slightly different than! ‘ hack squats have long been a favored exercise for their quad-building effects length, your at! Floor, drive upward through your feet at shoulder width on the VMO and chest, with the squat... A traditional hack squat variations out there down and grab the barbell arm... To the standing position machine squats is the classic barbell back squats mass and strength and to. Hips and knees barbell in the same exercise all of the equation have long been a favored for! The floor they ’ re great for those who struggle placing a barbell, you may feel that sense. Challenging part of a squat a step forward, head and back squats going lower you greater! Of free-weight squats that will effectively target your quads well-known exercise can lifters! The free weights, you stand on a bench and the core, and your mobility... Unnatural for many individuals alternative to working out with a barbell on back... As you would lunges, curtsy lunges, curtsy lunges, back lunges, where taking a larger step,. Limited muscle growth them, barbell squats, barbell squats and leg offers... Overhand ) g… squat alternative, just like the hack squat, aren... Or taking any dietary supplement for the bar, you push the weight upward you aren ’ t letting core. And still uses the same way you would lunges, curtsy lunges, and ankle and such...