Barbell Hack Squat Exercise: Your Guide How to Perform Them Properly

Are you struggling to build strong and defined legs? Are squats leaving you with a sore back and knees? Many fitness enthusiasts face this dilemma, and the solution could be simpler than you think – the barbell hack squat. It’s common for traditional squats to cause discomfort or strain in the lower back due to the weight distribution. But with the barbell hack squat, the weight is positioned behind you, allowing for greater balance and control. In this blog post, we will cover the benefits and technique of the barbell hack squat, giving you the solution to your squatting struggles.

Barbell Hack Squat Summary

Graphic image of a fit man performing alternate cable triceps extensions.

Barbell Hack Squat Instructions

  • Position your barbell behind your legs. With your feet flat on the floor.
  • Squat down and grasp your barbell from behind with overhand grip.
  • Next, lift the barbell by extending your hips and knees to a full extension.
  • Then, squat down by bending your hips back and allowing your knees to bend forward. Keep your back straight and knees pointed in the same direction as your feet.
  • Lower until your thighs are close to parallel with the floor and the bar is behind your lower legs.
  • Finally, press back up to your standing position.
  • Repeat the barbell hack squats for your desired reps.

Video Tutorial

How to Perform Barbell Hack Squats - Big Quads Exercise

Barbell Hack Squat Muscles

Target (Agonist)


Dynamic Stabilizers


Antagonist Stabilizers

Image of the skeletal muscular system with the muscles used in the barbell hack squat exercise highlighted in red and the rest in blue.

Benefits of Barbell Hack Squat

The barbell hack squat is a great exercise for targeting the gluteus maximus, the largest and most powerful muscle in the lower body. This compound movement is a great way to build size and strength in the glutes, as well as improving overall balance and stability. Performing the exercise with a barbell allows for increased resistance and weight, which can lead to faster gains in strength and size. Additionally, the barbell hack squat targets all the muscles of the lower body in one movement, helping to improve overall muscle development and coordination.

Tips for Performing Barbell Hack Squat

To get the most out of the barbell hack squat, it’s important to properly execute the exercise. Here are a few tips to help you get started:

  • Balance The Barbell For You To Build Symmetrically.
  • Reduce muscle soreness by undertaking a few minutes of aerobic exercise directed at your fatigued muscle groups to finish your routine. This aerobic exercise is truly removing much of the lactic acid. Thus you will undoubtedly be reducing your recovery.
  • Be Certain That You Make Time For Recovery Days. When you still want to exercise, instead of rest you are able to incorporate into your program with rowing. Only remember to enable your muscles to recover, healing is the only time your muscles grow.
  • conduct your major compound lifts first of your work out, and then conduct isolation exercises to focus on distinct muscle groups afterward. You really want the top results of your individual muscle groups whenever you carry out compound movements like bench, squats, and deadlifts. Next, you need to focus on the muscle groups of which you determined were weak during those lifts, or regions that couldn’t get fatigued as a result of the type of compound exercise you did.

Benefits and Tips Video

What Makes This Exercise So Great? The ORIGINAL HACK SQUAT for Quad Sweep

Frequent Mistakes To Avoid

It is important to remember that although the barbell hack squat is an effective exercise for building strength, it’s also important to pay attention to proper form. Making mistakes while performing the barbell hack squat can lead to injury, so make sure to be aware of the following common errors.

  • You’ll Do Better To Not Perform The Exact Same Exercises Every Single Moment. When people execute the exact exercise every work out ones muscle groups will be trained to complete that sole lift well, but you will peak sooner.
  • Stop Yourself From Using To Little or Too Much Resistance. Not enough, and you will not be sufficiently using your agonist (target) muscles, excessive, and you will likely need to cheat. Make certain you focus on your technique.
  • Stop Yourself From Using To Little or Too Much Resistance. Not enough, and you will not be adequately using your main muscles, a large amount, and you’ll cheat. Make sure you concentrate on your form.

Find More Barbell Exercises Here

Variations and Complementary Exercises

If you are looking to switch up your workout routine, or add some variation to your Barbell Hack Squat, there are plenty of other exercises you can do that work similar muscles. Below is a list of some variations, complementary, and alternative exercises for the Barbell Hack Squat.

Sled Full Hack Squat

Graphic image of Sled Full Hack Squat.

The Sled Full Hack Squat is an excellent complementary or alternative exercise to the Barbell Hack Squat. It is a unilateral, lower-body strength exercise that targets the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes while also engaging the core. The exercise requires a sled and a barbell. To perform the exercise, the lifter places a barbell on the sled and stands facing away from it. The lifter then squats down and grasps the barbell before pushing up with their legs to stand up straight. The Sled Full Hack Squat is a great way to challenge your muscles in different ways and build overall strength.

Smith Machine Hack Squat

Graphic image of Smith Machine Hack Squat.

The Smith Machine Hack Squat is an effective alternative or complementary exercise to the Barbell Hack Squat. It offers similar benefits to the Barbell Hack Squat, but with the added advantage of being able to control the path of the barbell with the adjustable safety stops and the added stability from the fixed barbell path. This allows for a more precise exercise and a greater range of motion, which can help you target different muscles and increase muscular development in a more controlled manner. The Smith Machine Hack Squat also makes it easier to perform the exercise, as you don’t need to balance the barbell as you would when performing the Barbell Hack Squat.

Sled Reverse Hack Squat

Graphic image of Sled Reverse Hack Squat.

The Sled Reverse Hack Squat is a great complementary or alternative exercise for the Barbell Hack Squat. It is an effective way to target the same muscles while avoiding the stress of a barbell on your shoulders. With the Sled Reverse Hack Squat, you place a weighted sled on the floor, place your feet on the sled, and then move your body in a reverse squat position while pushing the sled away from you. This exercise is great for building strength and endurance in the glutes and hamstrings, as well as engaging the core to stabilize the movement.

Check Out These Top Barbell Exercises

Sled One Leg Hack Squat

Graphic image of Sled One Leg Hack Squat.

The Sled One Leg Hack Squat is an excellent alternative or complementary exercise to the Barbell Hack Squat. This exercise utilizes the same muscles as the Barbell Hack Squat, but it allows for unilateral movement. This increases the range of motion, allowing for greater activation of the glutes and hamstrings. Additionally, the sled provides extra stability to help ensure proper form and reduce the risk of injury. The Sled One Leg Hack Squat is a great way to add variation to your leg workouts and increase the intensity.

Sled Narrow Stance Hack Squat

Graphic image of Sled Narrow Stance Hack Squat.

The Sled Narrow Stance Hack Squat is a great alternative or complementary exercise to the Barbell Hack Squat. This exercise requires the athlete to stand on a platform that is elevated by a sled, while holding a barbell at shoulder height. The athlete then lowers his or her body down into a squat position and back up again. This exercise works the quads and glutes while also providing an intense core workout. It is a great alternative to the traditional Barbell Hack Squat as it can be done with less weight and less stress on the lower back.

Sled Hack Squat

Graphic image of Sled Hack Squat.

Sled Hack Squats are a great complementary or alternative exercise to the Barbell Hack Squat. This exercise provides a similar range of motion and the same basic idea of squatting with weight on the back. The difference is that instead of a barbell, you use a sled. This allows for more stability as the weight is already placed on the floor, and it also allows for more control and precision when squatting. Additionally, this exercise is more suitable for individuals who lack the strength to perform a Barbell Hack Squat. The Sled Hack Squat will help build strength and muscle mass in the lower body while also providing core stability.

Find More Glutes Exercises Here

Opposing Complementary Exercises

In order to maximize the benefits of the Barbell Hack Squat and ensure balanced muscle development, it’s important to include exercises that work the opposing muscle groups. Here are a few exercises that work the opposite muscles as the Barbell Hack Squat.

Barbell Sumo Squat

Graphic image of Barbell Sumo Squat.

The Barbell Sumo Squat is a great complementary exercise to the Barbell Hack Squat. It engages the same muscle groups as the Hack Squat but with an opposing movement. The Sumo Squat activates the glutes and hamstrings, while the Hack Squat primarily works the quads. By performing both exercises, you can ensure that all of the major muscles in your lower body are evenly trained and strengthened. The Sumo Squat also helps to improve balance, coordination, and flexibility in the lower body.

Barbell Zercher Squat

Graphic image of Barbell Zercher Squat.

The Barbell Zercher Squat is a great complementary exercise to the Barbell Hack Squat as it works the opposing muscle group. It is an effective squat variation which involves the lifter cradling the barbell in the crook of their elbows, behind the front of the body. This exercise places more emphasis on the core muscles and lower back, while still engaging the legs and glutes. This allows for a more intense workout while helping to improve balance and stability. The Barbell Zercher Squat is also an excellent way to work the quads and hamstrings in an opposing manner to that of the Barbell Hack Squat, allowing for maximum muscular development.

Bulgarian Half Squat With Band

Graphic image of Bulgarian Half Squat With Band.

The Bulgarian Half Squat with Band is a great complement to the Barbell Hack Squat exercise. By using the opposing muscle group, the Bulgarian Half Squat targets the quads and glutes while the Barbell Hack Squat focuses on the hamstrings. This combination of exercises helps to target all of the muscles in the lower body and will help to improve strength and stability in the legs. The band provides an additional resistance that can be adjusted to add more difficulty and challenge to the exercise.

Transform Your Leg Day with Barbell Hack Squats

Are you looking to switch up your leg day routine? Consider adding barbell hack squats to the mix. This compound exercise not only targets your quads, but also works your glutes and hamstrings. By holding the barbell behind your legs, you’re able to keep your center of gravity in check and maintain proper form. Plus, the range of motion allows for a deeper squat, ultimately leading to more muscle activation. Don’t be intimidated by the name, give barbell hack squats a try and transform your leg day.

References: Wikipedia | | | Comprehensive List of Glutes Barbell Exercises

Pin image for barbell hack squat post. With an image of a man performing the exercise on Top and a graphic of the exercise on the Bottom.

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