Reverse Hack Squat: Benefits, Muscles, & How To Do It?

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Written By Kathy Brewer

I am a certified personal trainer, and I take pride in helping people achieve their fitness goals through strength training, cardio, and nutrition. 





George Hackenschmidt, an Estonian bodybuilder, was the first to use the word “Reverse Hack Squat” and made it popular.

George modified the traditional squat by positioning the barbell behind his body at arm’s length and placing his feet shoulder-width apart. This became known as the hack squat, and it resembles a deadlift with weights behind the back.

This exercise focuses on the quadriceps and minimizes the involvement of the posterior chain.

Reverse Hack Squat gained immense popularity among bodybuilders and wrestlers. However, it is a difficult exercise, and only expert bodybuilders prefer to do it.

The hack squat machine enabled novices to do the same exercise, but on a regulated plane that eliminated the need for stabilizer muscles to activate.

How To Do The Reverse Hack Squat?

The reverse hack squat is a great exercise for building strength and size in your lower body. 

But before you load up the weight and start squatting, it’s important to understand how to properly perform the exercise. 

First, let’s take a look at how you can perform the hack squat exercise along with some tips to do it effectively.

  1. Load the squat machine with a manageable weight.
  2. With your feet shoulder-width apart and facing outward, stand on the squat machine’s footpads.
  3. Put your shoulders between the pads and your chest up against the front pads while holding the side grips.
  4. To remove weight from the rack, push upwards.
  5. Once your legs are parallel to the floor, squat down and maintain this position for one count.
  6. Lift the weight higher, then pause just as your knees start to lock into a straight position.
  7. Perform as many repetitions of the squat as you like.
  8. If you lack the necessary ankle mobility to finish the movement, you can perform the exercise with your heels lifted. By elevating the heels, the amount of flexion necessary to descend in a squat is substantially reduced. Additionally, it strengthens the shin, minimizing the stress exerted on it and helping you to maintain an upright posture.

If you follow the above-mentioned simple steps, you can perform Reverse Hack Squats effectively. If you want an easier way, you can watch the Video below – 

To perform the reverse hack squat, you should face the weights and rest your chest on the pads rather than your back. It has evolved over time into a highly effective movement using all major leg muscles.

You may also adjust your foot posture to isolate certain muscles, such as the glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps.

Also, read:

What muscles are worked out while doing the reverse hack squat?

The reverse hack squat primarily targets the major leg muscle groups in their most basic form. But the primary focus will be on the quads.

1. Quadriceps

There are many exercises you can do to strengthen your quads. We have seen what these exercises can do for those of us who like to use a leg extension, leg press, or even a leg curl machine whenever we can.

Quadriceps Muscle

Reverse squats are the most effective way to work your quads. It hits the Vastus Lateralis with such efficiency as the lunges and traditional squat. 

The adductor brevis, vastus medialis, and magnus, all of which are located around the inner thighs, are also struck at the same moment.

A weak Vastus medialis is a common contributor to knee pain in athletes. Finally, it strikes the muscle with the greatest depth among the three, the Vastus intermedius.

2. Glutes

Hip thrusters are the first exercise that springs to mind when you think of glutes. 


Even so, the reverse hack squat is a great way to work your glutes and get that bubble butt. 

Simply move your legs a little bit farther back than usual. By doing this, you’ll shift the pressure from your quadriceps to your hamstrings and glutes.

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What are the benefits of Reverse Hack Squats?

  • Reverse Hack Squats are gentle on your lower back. It is difficult for beginners to perform hack squats as it requires immense strength and proper methods. They can stabilize their lower backs and reduce their chance of injury while lifting heavier weights by utilizing the reverse hack squat.
  • You are less likely to sway the weight and put a strain on your back because you can only move vertically and horizontally. Additionally, it makes it easier for you to focus on the exercise itself rather than trying to balance the weight of the bar.
  • The reverse hack squat is a thorough thigh workout, as opposed to the majority of other thigh exercises that target only one muscle. With persistent effort and the movement of heavy weights, you may achieve significant separation in your thigh muscles using only this method.
  • You can move heavier free weights by strengthening your knees, inner thighs, and shins with the hack squat and reverse hack squat. By performing Reverse Hack Squats, you will be able to squat and deadlift greater weight as a benefit.

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