Hack squats: Technique, Benefits, and Recommendations
Many people in the gym use the Hack Squats for a leg press machine and are unaware of the fact that it can be used to do squats, which have a number of advantages over the classic ones.
The Hack Machine is named after the Russian athlete Georg Gackenschmidt. The Hack Machine is an exercise machine that simulates the classic squat.
But at the same time, while working on this simulator, the squat will be simplified, since there is no need to hold the barbell in your hands – the barbell here is replaced by a movable platform, for the action of which the legs are responsible, pushing it.
Also, the simulator has special handles, by grasping which the athlete gains the opportunity to help himself during the exercise.
The Hack Machine, or the Hackenschmidt simulator, is a steel structure that has an inclination of 15 degrees relative to a horizontal surface. For convenience, in the area of the shoulders, soft rollers are installed on the movable platform, for support – the surface on which the legs are placed.
Doing on the Hack Squats has advantages over classic squats:
| See also the same Exercises: Smith Machine Squats
- You don’t need a spotter: if it happens that you do not have enough strength to return to the starting position (rise from a sitting position), then in the lower part there is a locking stopper for damping the additional weight, which is configured on the simulator.
- Using this stopper, you will be able to safely leave the simulator without the risk of being pressed by weight.
- The likelihood of falling is completely excluded: at least you have nowhere to fall – the pelvis is tightly pressed against the back of the simulator, and your hands are firmly held by special shoulder pads.
- The easiest way to keep your whole body in balance is with your legs alone. As for the classic squat, the whole body is tense to maintain balance.
- You don’t need to keep the extra weight on your shoulders – the comfortable shoulder pads will do the trick.
Before you start doing squats in the Hack simulator, you need to warm up – and warm up your knee joints well. If hack squats are performed for the first time, then you need to put the minimum weight in the simulator.
- Starting position – the back and pelvis are tightly pressed against the back of the simulator, you are standing on the platform, your feet are shoulder-width apart, the shoulders themselves are between the shoulder pads, you hold onto their handles. The head is straight, the loin is slightly arched in a natural way.
- Do exhale.
- With an inhalation, we slowly descend to the bottom point. Most often, it is recommended to squat to a knee angle of no more than ninety degrees.
- Having reached a certain point, we exhale and return to the starting position.
- We continue to squat without interruption until the end of the set.
- Perform the required number of approaches.
It is desirable to perform hack squats 15-20 times in one approach. Approaches should be performed at about 2-3.
When doing squats, you should pay attention to the following body parts:
- The knees should be directed in the same direction as the feet, and in no case, in a bottom position, should not go beyond the line of the toes;
- The pelvis does not come off the back of the Hack machine until the final completion of the approach;
- The feet are completely on the platform – during the squat, all the weight falls on the heels. We push off, returning to the beginning position, use heels.
Before you start hack squats, you need to stand into the simulator and put your feet in a beginning position:
- Shoulder-width apart or closer to each other;
- Wide setting.
Place on the bottom or top of the platform.
| The same methods of feet place are used in legs platform press
The most correct will be two options for placing the feet – on the outer or lateral part of the platform since it is with such positions that the likelihood of adherence to the technique of performing the exercise increases and the chance of getting any injury decreases.
- When placing the legs on the outer part of the platform, the load is transferred to the flexors of the legs and buttocks, which is more preferable for girls.
- When the legs are shoulder-width apart or closer to each other, the quadriceps muscles in the front of the thigh work predominantly.
- If the legs are wider apart, then the load is transferred to the lateral and inner thighs. Feet located in the center of the platform provide an even load on all muscles of the thigh.
If you are just starting to get acquainted with the hack squat technique, then it is advisable for you to use the classic setting of the legs on the platform – shoulder-width apart or closer to each other, provided that the feet are on the middle line of the platform.
When performing hack squat, the area of the legs most at risk of injury is the knees, so you should pay maximum attention to the following nuances:
- Pay attention to the direction of your knees during the squat – it should match the direction of your feet. If your knees push towards each other when you squat, there is a high chance of cartilage damage or ligament tears.
- The buttocks, pelvis, and back should remain pressed against the machine back throughout the entire set. Otherwise, you can get an intervertebral hernia.
- It is very important to work with a weight that is acceptable to you at the moment.
- It is very important to squat in closed shoes with a solid sole – the foot should be firmly on the platform.
- If during a squat the heels come off the platform, it is necessary to find out the reason: this is either due to poor flexibility, which must be developed to the required level before starting the hack squat or due to the peculiarities of body proportions.
- Hack Squats have a number of advantages over classic squats, but it is still very important to understand that any handling of the machine requires special attention.
- Technically doing the exercise correctly will help you get strong, muscular hips, but the improper technique can lead to injury.