Hack squats are essentially squats which you perform on a particular machine. This type of squat machine looks like a reverse leg press machine. In order to utilise a leg press machine, sit on a fixed seat and then push your feet against a weighted, moving platform that’s above you. To utilise the hack squat machine, stand on a fixed platform (while facing away from the machine) beneath shoulder pads. These pads will bear, however much weight you select.
Usually, the platform is angled so that your toes are somewhat below your heels. Position your body as if you are performing traditional squats with weight plates that are located under your heels because this lessens your requirement to have lots of ankle mobility in order to properly perform the movement.
Set-up for the hack squat
Stand up tall in a hack squat machine with your feet hip-width apart. Make sure that you’re in the middle of the footplate. Unhook the safety stopper and support the weight with your legs.
Slowly squat down until your hips as well as your knees are at, or just below, a 90-degree angle. From there, stand back up via the motion of pressing through your heels to lift the weight up to an upright stance. Come to almost a full extension at the top but don’t lock the knees. Perform how many reps necessary for the desired results.
Safety tips for the hack squat
- Monitor the spine, pelvic positioning, hip knee as well as ankle motion
- Cue glutes and quads
- Spot under the rib cage
- Keep the lower back flush with the bench
Biomechanical analysis of the hack squat
The hack squat is a movement of the lower body that takes place in a saggital/medial plan and mainly uses the muscles of the legs. The actions are concerned with using multiple joints, namely the:
During the upward phase of the hack squat, there is extension which is brought about by the gluteus maximus, medius and bicep femoris muscles. The knee is a hinge joint that is formed by the tibia and femur, rectus femoris, vastus medialis, vastus lateralis and vastus intermedialis muscles. These muscles cause extension.
In the ankle, which is a hinge joint that is formed by the tibia and calcaneus, there is plantar flexion that is brought about principally by the action of the gastrocnemius and soleus. The upward movement is a concentric muscle contraction.
During the downward phase, at the hip the gluteus maximum, medius and bicep femoris muscles cause flexion. At the knee, the rectus femoris, vastus medialis vastus lateralis and vastus intermedialis muscles cause flexion. At the ankle, there is dorsi flexion which is principally brought about by the action of the gastrocnemius and soleus. The downward movement is an eccentric muscle contraction.
If you’re a newbie to the weights section at the gym, hack squats are probably safer than barbell squats as it is not required for you to balance free weights. In addition, it isn’t possible for you to fall backwards or forward. In addition, hack squats are a fantastic move if you want to work on your quads because hack squats isolate the quad muscles for optimal growth. In actual fact, hack squats are a go-to for bodybuilders and figure athletes who want to build strong, powerful-looking thighs.
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