Barbell Hack Squat: The Ultimate Guide to Strong Legs

Barbell hack squat, sometimes called hack squats with barbells, is a type of exercise that targets muscle groups across your legs. You can perform barbell hack squat with a weight on the ground behind your legs. While making sure your upper body is aligned with your hips, ankles, and knees to lower yourself into a classic squat posture.

The Barbell Hack Squat: Working Muscles

Primary Muscle Group

Barbell hack squat is a squat that primarily targets the quadriceps.

The four muscles on the leg’s front, which comprise the quadriceps, include the rectus fascia, vastus intermedius, the vast medialis, and the vast medialis.

The barbell hack squat is a squat that intensely engages the quadriceps muscles during every repetition.

Secondary Muscle Group

The hack squat can be described as a compound exercise because it engages several muscles.

Your glutes first activate to pull your hips upwards. The hamstrings and calves work to stabilize your lower body.

Furthermore, the traps and muscles of the erector spinae contract to assist your back. In addition, your core muscles are engaged to support your midsection through your barbell hack squat.

The Barbell Hack Squat: Benefits

The Barbell Hack Squat Benefits

#1 Bigger And Stronger Quads

The barbell hack squat puts an immense strain on your quadriceps. This is why your body reacts to stress by strengthening and growing the muscles.

The quads play a crucial part in explosive movements like jumping, running, or other traditional squat or deadlift activities.

Suppose you’re an experienced weightlifter or fitness beginner, or aspiring athlete. In that case, a healthy lower body can provide a solid foundation to help you achieve your goals.

#2 A Reduced Risk Of Injury

In contrast to other squat variations, the hack squat isn’t designed to apply any weight directly to your spine.

MUST READ  Straight Legged Hip Raise (Strengthen Glutes and Hamstrings) Exercise Guide

Therefore, this exercise could be a safer alternative for training your lower body muscles, particularly when experiencing back discomfort or pain.

Back injuries can keep you from exercising for weeks, causing chronic discomfort. The barbell hack squat can help reduce the chance of injury but not sacrifice the gains you make.

#3 Aesthetics Improved

If you’re trying to get bigger legs and tone your quads or simply shed body fat, this barbell hack squat workout is perfect.

When you keep training, the lower body workout will change your body. In that regard, let’s master the technique!

The Barbell Hack Squat: Instructions


To do the barbell hack squat, all you require is a barbell and some weights.


  • Start by putting up an exercise bar on the ground and using the help of a lighter weight.
  • Place your feet directly in the front of the barbell, with your feet spaced shoulder-width apart.
  • Hold the barbell in your hands with an overhand grip that is doubled, and place your hands close to your knees.


  1. With your back straight and your core engaged, engage your quads in a way that you force your heels into the ground. Stand up.
  2. Stop for a few seconds, stretch your glutes, and slowly return to your starting position.
  3. Repeat!


Do 3-4 sets of 10 to 15 repetitions using an easy weight until you are at ease with the posture.

You can also put on additional weight, but stick to the 6- 8 rep range.

The Barbell Hack Squat: Mistakes

The Barbell Hack Squat Mistakes

#1 Rounding The Back

The most common mistake is turning your back when doing barbell hack. The slouched posture puts a lot of strain on your spine, which could lead to an injury to your back.

To correct this error to correct this mistake, keep your focus on tightening your abdominal muscles and ensuring your back is straight throughout the workout.

#2 Folding Your Heels

Many lifters elevate their feet off the ground when they push upwards during the barbell hack squat. This happens most of the time as people attempt to keep the barbell from crashing into their glutes.

MUST READ  Speed Box Squat (Develop Explosive Power) Exercise Guide

Although certain weight transfers forward may be a challenge for your quads, lifting your heels off the ground could cause excessive stress on your knees.

Instead, try to move your hips slightly back to begin the movement, and then let the barbell freely move up the backs of your legs.

#3 Routing The Motion

The final barbell hack squat mistake is over-extending the movement. Many times, lifters fail to finish the initial portion of the workout.

They then quickly lower the weights to the floor before going down. The rush down increases your chance of getting injured and robs the potential gains that could be achieved through the eccentric part of the workout.

Make sure you slowly return to the beginning position using an aligned core and straight back to rectify this mistake.

The Barbell Hack Squat: Variations

#1 Cable Hack Squat

This cable hack is a great option for those who don’t feel comfortable lifting heavy weights.

The pulley system should be moved with the straight bar attachment at the lowest settings. Take the handles in an overhand grip, then step out of the way to generate some tension.

Then, do the hack squat similar to barbell hack squat. Keep the straight bar near your body during every exercise.

#2 Weighted Hack Squats

There are many different methods of resistance to doing an impromptu squat. If you’re a fan of hand-held weights, you can set two kettlebells, dumbbells, or plates behind your back.

If you do not have weights, you could use some heavy books or whatever else you’ll find. Don’t be afraid to experiment with your ideas!

The Barbell Hack Squat: Alternatives

If you’ve enjoyed this barbell hack squat, go through these other leg exercises to boost your lower-body training:

#1 RFE Split Squat

Begin by putting your trail foot on the elevated surface behind you. Take a step forward using your leading foot so that the trail foot is bent slightly.

Lean slightly forward, keeping the back straight. Engage your core, and then squat towards your front leg.

Take a break after the last repetition, and then drive upwards using your leading leg. Stay tight in your core and continue!

MUST READ  Prisoner Squat: The Classic Bodyweight Exercise You Need

#2 Dumbbell Goblet Squat

Stand up with your feet slightly flared to the side and feet more than the width of your shoulders. Place one dumbbell on your back with both arms extended to the side.

If you have your back straight and the core firmly to squat, sit on your heels back until your elbows touch your legs. Squat all the way up, squeezing your quads and glutes with all your might, and repeat!

#3 Barbell Reverse Lunge

Add some weights to your barbell, and place it in a secure position on your back deltoids. Start in a standing position with your feet approximately the same width apart, with your chest up and back upright.

While keeping your left foot straight ahead of you, take a step back using your right foot, and then move your body to the point that your left knee is on the ground. Your left knee should be straight over your left ankle in this posture.

Then, push upwards slowly until you get to an upright position. Repeat this movement for your desired number of repetitions. It is possible to alternate legs or finish only one rep at a.


  • Timothy P. Carnes

    Timothy P. Carnes is a certified personal trainer with a Bachelor's degree in Exercise Science from the University of Florida. With over 8 years of experience in the fitness industry, Timothy is an expert in strength and conditioning, body composition, and overall health and wellness. He also holds certifications in strength and conditioning through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) and corrective exercise through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). As an author at FitGAG, he shares his knowledge and expertise on a variety of topics, including strength training, body composition, and overall health and wellness tips. Timothy believes that consistency and discipline are the keys to achieving fitness goals, and he strives to inspire his readers to prioritize their fitness and wellness journey. Through his articles, Timothy aims to empower his readers to take control of their health, enhance their performance, and live their best lives.

    [email protected] Carnes Timothy P.
error: Content is protected !!