It is leg day in your workout routine and you are wondering how you are going to carry out the squats using the reverse hack squat machine. If you have gone out for a workout for some time now, you will realize legs are important when working out and they will contribute to a well-built body. Why is this? Legs form the base of your body and without strong legs, your body will not be in good form. So how do you build strong legs when working out?

Well, the commonest way of building your legs is by carrying out a reverse hack squat. Reverse hack squats are named after Russian bodybuilder and wrestler George Hackenschmidt. They are traditionally carried out using the barbell. However, you can also carry them out using the reverse hack squat machine or the Smith Machine. If you are thinking of carrying out the reverse hack squat and you do not know how this article is for you.

Woman Showing How To Reverse Hack SquatHow to Carry Out Reverse Hack Squat

  • The first step in using the reverse hack squat machine is by loading the hack machine with the desired amount of weight. It will depend on your level of training and make sure you select weights which you are comfortable with.
  • Place your back on the backrest and position yourself in a way that the pads will be supporting your chest and the shoulders.
  • The feet should be width apart on the footplate.
  • Lower the weight on the squat hack machine with your things until it is parallel to the floor. Also, pause the weight for a moment at the bottom.
  • Go ahead to push the weight to the starting position and you can perform the desired number of reps.

Why is It Important to Elevate the Heels?

When carrying out the reverse hack squat, placing your feet in an elevated position will help you to stay upright during the entire session. It will also make it easier for you to emphasize on your quads and limiting its contribution to the posterior chain.

By elevating your heels, you will be able to work out on your quads in two different ways.

    • They will reduce the amount of the flexion required to sit deeply when carrying out the squats. Most of the lifters lack the mobility of the ankles and elevating your heels will help you to set up the ton.
    • The heel lift can also lengthen your shin in a way. The ratio between the length of the thighs and the shin will be reduced making your hips to go a little back while you maintain the upright position.

Safety Precautions When Carrying Out Reverse Hack Squat

  • Begin by carrying out a number of warm-ups before beginning the exercise. You can carry out other leg exercises.
  • When beginning, avoid using the heavyweights and begin with the lightweights but increase the weight as you advance your exercises.
  • Make sure the knees have been well locked to avoid causing injuries.
  • Always make sure you resist or lower the weight in a slow way.
  • The knees should not go past the toes to avoid causing knee pain.
  • Always avoid bounce or the use of momentum when carrying out the exercise.

Which are the Muscles Targeted by Reverse Hack Squat?

Woman Working Out Reverse Hack SquatThe reverse hack squat targets the muscles found at the thigh muscles, quadriceps and the gluteus maximus muscles found on the butt.

Gluteus Maximus

If your goal is to have a big butt when working out, you need to carry out a number of reps on the reverse hack squat machine. If you carry out the exercises in the right way, the Gluteus Maximus muscles will have to show off it off.

One of the mistakes made by people working out to build their butt is not knowing the right way of working on the gluteus muscles. The gluteus maximum muscles are the biggest muscles in your butt and working the muscles in the right way should be a priority. The muscles are used to straighten your hips.


Having quadriceps which are well developed should be symmetrical to the rest of your body. It will help you to avoid looking like the popular hilarious cartoon John Bravo with a big chest and hands but no quads.

The reverse hack squats can be the best solution if you want to build stronger quadriceps which will help you achieve symmetry within your body.

The quadriceps are located at your thighs and they play a great role in strengthening your knees.  There are four muscles which make up your quads and all of them are located at the front of the thighs.

  • Vastus intermedius- Located below the other three quad muscles and it is the deepest of all the three quad muscles.
  • Vastus Medialis- It is located on the inner portion of the thighs and near the knee cap. When you have a weaker vastus medialis, it would be associated with the knee pain and poor position of the knee cap.
  • Vastus Lateralis- It is located on the outer portion of your thighs.
  • Rectus femoris- Located on the top of the thighs between the medialis and the lateral muscles of the quads.

When you need to bring the quad muscles into action when working out, you will have to place the feet at the back of the footplate. It will cause contraction of the quad muscles.

Are there Any Drawbacks of the Reverse Hack Squat?

Of course, there are few drawbacks when using the machine.

  • Cause Your Body to Move at a Fixed Angle

One of the common drawbacks of using the machines is that they do give you stability only when you follow all the rules. When using the reverse hack squat machine, you will have to move at a fixed position.

  • Stability Muscles Can Fail to be in Action

Given the support of the reverse hack squat machine, some muscles can easily be left out when you are exercising. This is because the machine will provide you with the necessary support needed when carrying out the exercises.

  • Can Cause Knee Challenges

If you fail to use the reverse hack squat machine in the right way, it can cause the knees to move upfront when lifting the weights causing trouble and problems to your knees.

  • You Need a Machine

You cannot carry out the reverse hack squat machine at home and you will need a hack squat machine.

Common Reverse Squat Alternatives

In the above, you have learned the right way of carrying out the reverse hack squat using the reverse hack machine. What if you realize the reverse squat machine is not available in the gym? Of course, you cannot skip working out on your legs since there is no reverse squat machine. You need to find an alternative means of working out your legs.

Here are some of the reverse hack squat alternatives you can carry out in the gym.

Dumbbell Hack Squat

Man Working Out Dumbbell Hack SquatBy using the dumbbells, you can easily carry out a number of squats at your home. You do not even need the squat rack, you only need to maintain the appropriate posture when carrying out the exercise and positioning yourself so that you can get the best out of the squat exercises.

  • Hold the dumbbell on each of the hands and stand with the feet shoulder apart with the toes pointed outwards. Elevate your heels and bend the knees.
  • Stand with the dumbbells at your shoulders make sure you have aligned your body with the back.
  • Begin lowering the body by bending the hips and knees. Remember to push your gluteus muscles back. Make sure you have maintained the motion and the knees should be in the same direction as the toes.
  • Lower the body until it is parallel to the floor. Make sure you have maintained the alignment of your body when lowering it.
  • Make sure you maintain the controlled movements and go back to the original position without necessarily locking your knees.
  • Carry out as many reps as you can.

Using the Barbell Hack Squat

Woman Working Out Barbell Hack SquatWith the barbell, you can easily have your big butt size and the quads. The other thing you need when carrying out the exercise is a low rack.

  • Place the barbell on the rack at a lower level that you usually do. It should be below your butt.
  • Hold the barbell from behind using your hands and the hands should be shoulder apart when carrying out this.
  • Lift the barbell out of the rack and make sure you keep it close to the back of the legs.
  • Move forward and let your feet remain firmly on the ground.
  • Carry out the squats until the knees are at a perpendicular angle or the thighs are parallel to the floor. The bar should always be close to the back of the lower leg when you are carrying out this exercise. The back should always be straight to avoid any injuries to your spine.
  • By extending the hips and knees, lift the bar back and you can go ahead and carry out the desired number of reps.

Using the Smith Machine to Carry out Reverse Band Hack Squats

In most cases, working out with the barbell can pose the issue of balance. Under such circumstances, the best option would be the Smith machine. The Smith machine can allow you to have a perfect workout on your knees.

Do I Need the Reverse Bands?

The reverse bands serve different roles when you are using the Smith machine to work on your quad muscles. It can allow you to match the resistance of the exercise to your strength. Resistance is important when you are working out on your quads.

The reverse band is also used to emphasize on the lower portion of the lift. An appropriate band set up pool will help you work harder when you are lowering the weights during the exercise. Reverse bands will allow you to focus more on building the quadriceps since it plays a great role in regulating the speed at which you lower the weights.

Bottom Line on Reverse Hack Squat

Reverse hack squat is the best ways of building muscles in your lower body while at the same time giving a rest to the upper body muscles. During the first time, it can be difficult to carry out the exercise in the right way. However, as time goes you will become used to the routine and carry out the exercise without challenges.

If you have plans of increasing the weights, make sure you have maintained the form. A great mistake which many of the lifters make is destroying the form while lifting heavy weights. Make sure you maintain the right form when carrying out the reverse hack squat and there is no way you can cheat out of it. If you are looking out for ways of cheating when working out, you will only be cheating yourself and causing harm to your body.

There are also the cons of the hack squat machine which have been mentioned in the article. Find alternative ways of carrying out the exercise. With the alternative means mentioned in this article, you can have a perfect reverse squat workout without necessarily using the reverse hack smith machine.