Exercise Profile
  • Target Muscle Group
  • Exercise TypeStrength
  • Equipment RequiredMachine
  • MechanicsCompound
  • Force TypePush (Bilateral)
  • Experience LevelBeginner
  • Secondary Muscles
    Abs, Adductors, Calves, Glutes, Hamstrings, Lower Back
Target Muscle Group


Quads Muscle Anatomy Diagram

Machine Hack Squat Overview

The machine hack squat is a variation of the squat and an exercise used to build the muscles of the legs. In particular, the hack squat will target the quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves.

Squat variations are extremely important to include in your workout routines, so it is important to find the right variation for you.

This exercise is best incorporated into your leg workouts or full body workouts.

Machine Hack Squat Instructions

  1. Load the machine with the desired weight and position your shoulders and back against the pads.
  2. Position your feet at shoulder width, extend your legs, and release the safety handles.
  3. Slowly lower the weight by bending your knees until your thighs are approximately at 90 degrees.
  4. Reverse the movement by driving into the platform and extending the knees and hips.
  5. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Machine Hack Squat Tips

  1. To keep tension on the quads, keep the knees just shy of lockout.
  2. In order to emphasize the glutes more, push through the heels.
  3. In order to emphasize the quads more, push through the balls of the feet.
  4. Don’t allow the hips to posteriorly tilt and roll off the pad.
  5. Keep your low back flat against the pad throughout the movement.
  6. Ensure the head does not jut forward excessively.
  7. Self spotting is possible by simply applying pressure to the knees with the hands. Use only when necessary.
  8. Toe angle is individual and will depend upon each individual’s hip anatomy and ankle mobility - experiment and adjust based upon feel.
Posted on: Tue, 01/15/2019 - 02:30

For this workout are we meant to have feet further back so as to put more pressure on quads

Posted on: Fri, 09/28/2018 - 18:13

Not every gym has a hack squat machine. Search Barbell Hack Squat, that's the original hack squat exercise before they created the machine, it's an excellent exercise.

Posted on: Mon, 08/16/2021 - 07:29

Very correct Chris. Barbell Hack Sqats are indeed the original and much more effective than machine simply because you have to control the movement of the bar with your perfect form.

Posted on: Thu, 03/10/2016 - 10:30

hey guys, awesome workout!! quick question, can i substitute the hack squat with the leg press? would it have the same benefits?

Posted on: Sun, 08/23/2015 - 16:34

can anyone tell me if wall squats are as affective as hack squats?.I workout at home an have no hack squat.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 08/24/2015 - 12:21

If you have access to dumbbells then I would recommend dumbbell squats - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLD6KQOHNhU

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 08/25/2015 - 09:13

Wallsquats can't be loaded much/at all, they don't mimic an actual squat (i.e. you're perfectly upright and no one squats like that due to the average length of a femur), they promote poor motor patterning, they don't load the quads at all, and overall they're just a poor exercise in general in my opinion. If you a variety of equipment then there are loads of better options that should come before wall squats.

Posted on: Tue, 08/25/2015 - 15:28

that makes sence.thanks.

Posted on: Mon, 08/24/2015 - 23:56

in your oppion why would dumbell squats be better than wallsquats,

Posted on: Fri, 05/16/2014 - 08:46

I substitute he hack squat with a front squat. Same issue with lack of the hack machine. Unless your gym has any other sort of machine squat.

Posted on: Wed, 04/23/2014 - 10:16

what is a good alternative for reverse hack squat?

Posted on: Mon, 01/14/2013 - 08:47

can i do barbell hack squats instead? (new to site) thanks

Posted on: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 07:43

i don't get it

Tinoy james
Posted on: Mon, 09/03/2012 - 18:57

Hi, well I have a question is this the suitable work out for me, today I tried the pyramid style starting with high reps done to 8 and back up again a total of 6 sets. I maxed out a couple of machines and my legs feel fine. I don't not understand why my quads are as sore as I hoped them to be. Although my legs used to be in incredible shape compared to now. My legs have always been in better shaped and out of poportion with my upper body. But previously I worked for endurance so it takes awhile for my legs to get any good work out . After 2 hours I gave up and walked out of the gym irritated finding it useless. The damn machine would not even hold anymore weights on it the machine itself was maxed out and I wasn't

Posted on: Wed, 06/06/2012 - 12:57

I've heard mixed feelings about doing hack squats utilising the smith machine. I have heard it is bad for the knees. Thoughts Steve?

Posted on: Sat, 06/02/2012 - 09:40

hello steve, what will i substitute for a hack squat if exercise before that happens to be squat. many thanks

Posted on: Thu, 05/03/2012 - 21:07

My gym doesnt have a hack squat machine either. So should according to to dougs routine for ectomorphs, should i just do more squats?

Posted on: Sat, 05/17/2014 - 13:04

Replace it by Smith machine Hack squat if u have one

Posted on: Fri, 04/13/2012 - 08:50

Hey Steve. What is good alternative for hack squat?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Fri, 04/13/2012 - 08:59

Squats. They are the king of exercises.