What Is A Hack Squat
Hack squats are an exercise that works the leg muscles, particularly the quadriceps. Usually, this exercise is performed on a machine with a weighted sled that travels up and down on angled rails.
As the name implies, hack squats are similar to free-weight squats. And at first glance, it may seem like an inverted leg press. However, there are key distinctions between these exercises.
Hack Squat vs Squat
The main difference between the hack squat and barbell squat is your back. With regular squats, your torso tilts forward and puts some of the load on your lower back. Whereas hack squats put almost no load on the lower back muscles1.
By reducing upper body involvement, you put more weight on your legs. Therefore, the hack squat provides better lower body isolation than squats.
However, barbell back squats are still a better exercise for overall lower body development, core stability, and athleticism.
Hack Squat vs Leg Press
Both the leg press and hack squat involve sleds that move on rails. With the leg press, you sit in a padded seat and push the sled up with your feet. Whereas the hack squat has a padded sled on your back.
However, it’s the angle of your back relative to your legs that makes these exercises different. On the leg press, your torso is forward so your knees come to your chest. While your back stays upright on the hack squat.
As a result, leg press works more glutes and hamstrings while hack squats emphasize the quads.