The complete guide to the Reverse Hack Squat. Learn everything you need to know about this effective exercise.
- What is the Reverse Hack Squat?
- What Muscles Does the Reverse Hack Squat Work?
- What are the Benefits of the Reverse Hack Squat?
- Reverse Hack Squat Technique
- Reverse Hack Squat Common Mistakes
- Reverse Hack Squat Alternatives
- Reverse Hack Squat Variations
- Who Should do the Reverse Hack Squat?
- Sets and Reps for the Reverse Hack Squat
- Reverse Hack Squat vs Hack Squat: What’s the Difference?
- Reverse Hack Squat Alternative at Home
- Reverse Hack Squat Without Machine
- Reverse Hack Squat Smith Machine
- Learn More
What is the Reverse Hack Squat?
The reverse hack squat machine is basically a hack squat with the weight stack at the back of the machine. It follows the same principle, but allows the person to follow the motion of the body.
What Muscles Does the Reverse Hack Squat Work?
In addition to the quads, this exercise also works the hamstrings and glutes while activating your core. Although the calves aren’t directly targeted during this lift, they assist in stabilizing your feet on the platform.
The reverse hack squat is a compound movement that targets multiple muscle groups simultaneously. This makes it an efficient way to build strength and size in a short amount of time.
What are the Benefits of the Reverse Hack Squat?
The reverse hack squat machine can help you build muscles throughout your lower body. Therefore, the exercise is an effective way to tone and define your legs.
Using this machine also helps increase flexibility while reducing the risk of injury. The reverse hack squat machine provides support for your upper body, which allows you to focus on working out specific muscle areas in your lower body without worry about muscle strain.
Reverse Hack Squat Technique
To perform the reverse hack squat, follow these steps:
- Stand facing away from the hack squat machine. Start by positioning your feet at shoulder width with your toes slightly pointed outwards.
- Place the barbell on the back of your shoulders and grasp the bar with an overhand grip. While keeping our back straight and head up, lower yourself into the hack squat machine. Support your weight on your heels and extend your arms to unlock the safety arms (if applicable).
- Note: Your legs should be positioned under you in a comfortable position, but make sure that your knees are not touching or bending around the top of the hack squat machine. If they are, simply adjust them until they are a comfortable distance apart.
Reverse Hack Squat Common Mistakes
One of the most common mistakes people do when doing this exercise is hyperextending their lower back. When you do this, your upper body is leaning forward, which takes unnecessary stress on your lower back. Instead, focus on bringing your torso closer to the wall, which will keep the weight on your glutes and help you get more out of this movement.
Another common mistake that can occur with any type of squat is not using enough weight. If you feel too comfortable doing this movement, add some more weight! You should be able to feel a burn in your legs/glutes at a certain point in the movement.
Lastly, another common mistake with all exercises that are performed on a machine is not relying solely on the targeted muscle group.
For example, while performing reverse hacks squats it is important to rely only on the muscles being targeted (the quads and glutes) instead of using more than necessary muscle groups. In order to really get the most out of your workout you must use good form and use only as much energy as needed to perform each exercise properly
Reverse Hack Squat Alternatives
If you’re having a hard time learning the reverse hack squat form or want to add more variety to your exercise routine, below are similar exercises that can be used as alternatives.
RDLs and Reverse Lunges
These both involve hinging at the hip, lifting (or in this case lowering) your upper body, and keeping a straight back. The main difference is that RDLs use both legs while reverse lunges use one leg at a time.
Glute Bridges and Leg Presses
Movements like these target the same muscles but involve different movements. Both move the hips in an upward direction, but glute bridges are done with one’s own body weight while leg presses involve an external load.
Glute Ham Raise
The Glute Ham Raise (GHR) is similar to RDLs because it involves flexing at the hip and extending at the knees. GHRs also have slightly more involvement from hamstrings than RDLs do; however, GHR machines aren’t as commonly found in gyms as other equipment so take note of this before trying it out for yourself!
Good Mornings are another alternative exercise that involve hinging forward from the hips with a barbell on your shoulders; however, they also incorporate spinal flexibility which not everyone has.
Reverse Hack Squat Variations
Reverse Hack Squat Variation (Feet Elevated)
One effective way to make this exercise more challenging is to elevate your feet. This forces you to use more of your glutes, while reducing the amount of work performed by your quadriceps. To do this variation, position a bench behind the machine. Rest the backs of your calves on the bench seat and place both feet flat on the footplate with your toes pointing forward and heels resting on top of one another.
Reverse Hack Squat Variation (Toes Pointed)
Another great way to challenge yourself is to point your toes outwards during each repetition. This places greater emphasis on the outer portion of each thigh muscle – commonly referred to as the Vastus Lateralis – improving muscle balance in this area of the body. To perform this variation, assume an identical set-up to the standard reverse hack squat described above, but keep your toes pointed outwards throughout each movement.
Reverse Hack Squat Variation (Feet Close Together)
Taking a stance width that’s narrower than shoulder width during all back squats will increase quadricep activation, which also applies when performing reverse hack squats too. If you have weak quads or want more quad-focused training, then take a narrow stance while placing both feet slightly closer together than shoulder width apart before performing all reps as normal from thereon in.
Who Should do the Reverse Hack Squat?
The reverse hack squat is an exercise that can be done by people of all fitness levels. Whether you’re just getting into fitness or have spent a lifetime in the gym, this exercise is for you. The reverse hack squat works great for building hamstring and quadriceps strength, making it a good addition to any leg workout. You can even use it as part of an upper body or total body workout. In addition, because it targets your hamstrings and quads, the reverse hack squat is perfect if you play sports requiring sprinting and jumping.
Lastly, this exercise is also appropriate for both men and women. Both genders who engage with weight training will definitely benefit from adding this exercise to their routines.
Sets and Reps for the Reverse Hack Squat
With any exercise, it’s important to keep your goals in mind when deciding how many sets and reps to do. For example, if you’re looking to build muscle without adding excess weight, stick with eight to 12 reps (or until failure) per set. If you want to add bulk and size, increase the number of sets to six and reduce the number of reps per set. With this combination, you’ll be in the strength training range for bodybuilding (eight or fewer reps).
If you can only do a handful of reverse hack squats before failure, use a lighter weight so that you can complete at least 10 repetitions per set. Remember: It’s better to go light and focus on good form than risk injury by lifting too much weight and struggling through each rep.
Don’t forget about warming up before working out as well as cooling down afterward! Warming up helps increase blood flow throughout your body; it also gets synovial fluid flowing around your joints so that they glide more smoothly during exercise. Cooling down allows your heart rate to gradually return back to normal after a workout; it also helps prevent soreness by flushing lactic acid from your muscles.
Reverse Hack Squat vs Hack Squat: What’s the Difference?
Let’s start by looking at what the Hack Squat is, and how it differs from other variations.
The Hack Squat is a multi-joint exercise that targets the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. It has been used for decades to build strong leg muscles. The main difference between the reverse and traditional Hack Squat is where each exercise places your feet in relation to where you’re standing. As such, they will have slightly different effects on your muscles. Using a machine will also affect which muscles are engaged during an exercise.
Reverse Hack Squat Alternative at Home
Reverse Hack Squat Alternative at Home
If you don’t have access to a hack squat machine, you can still do this exercise. Here are some alternative exercises that put the same muscles to work:
- Single-leg squat
- Bulgarian split squat
- single-leg deadlift
- reverse lunge
Reverse Hack Squat Without Machine
For our exercise modification, we’ll be using a barbell instead of a machine. You can also use dumbbells or kettlebells instead of a barbell if you prefer.
The Reverse Hack Squat Without Machine is performed similarly to the machine version. Place the barbell on a box, bench, or chair—or choose not to use weights at all—and lower your body towards the floor by bending at your hips and knees. Maintain good posture and keep your spine straight as you descend into the squatting position until your thighs are almost parallel with the floor. Pause for one second and then push back up with your feet until you return to the starting position, ensuring that your feet are placed firmly on the floor with equal weight distribution before repeating another rep.
If you want to try increasing difficulty with this exercise modification, you can use more weights; however, this should only be done when comfortable enough with proper form performing it without weights first.
Reverse Hack Squat Smith Machine
This is a variation of the classic hack squat exercise. You can do this exercise with or without a reverse hack squat machine and with or without weights.
Reverse Hack Squat Smith Machine Instructions:
Stand on the platform, feet shoulder width apart and toes pointing out slightly as if you were about to do a jumping jack. Your shoulders should be back and down, your head up and your chest high. This will be your starting position.
Begin by flexing the knees and hips, lowering the body down into a squat position while keeping the head up, back straight and eyes facing forward into the mirror in front of you (do NOT look down).
Continue until your thighs are parallel to the floor with your hips below your knees (note that while descending into this position most people will naturally bend over at the waist due to their natural flexibility).
Do NOT lower past parallel as doing so causes undue stress on ligaments of knee joints. The upper leg should make a 90 degree angle with respect to torso; when viewed from side it is not necessary for top of knee to go below bottom of hip joint for this exercise to be effective – this may occur in some individuals according to limb lengths but is not necessary for effectiveness of exercise; also note that some individuals have difficulty going beyond 70 degrees due to limited ankle mobility or flexibility which usually comes with age – do what you can but remember safety first; once you reach parallel pause briefly and then begin raising your body back up until legs are almost straight again; repeat for desired reps.
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