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Barbell Hack Squat

Barbell Hack Squat

The Barbell Hack Squat is a highly effective compound exercise that targets several muscles in your lower body, including your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. It is a variation of the traditional squat exercise and is performed by holding a barbell behind your legs, which creates a unique challenge and activates different muscles than a regular squat. The primary benefit of the Barbell Hack Squat is its ability to heavily engage the quadriceps, making it an excellent choice for individuals looking to build strong and defined legs. By placing the barbell behind your legs, this exercise places greater emphasis on the front of the thighs, helping to develop powerful and well-rounded quadriceps muscles. In addition to the quadriceps, the Barbell Hack Squat also works the hamstrings and glutes to a lesser extent. These muscles act as stabilizers during the movement and are essential for maintaining proper form. It is worth mentioning that the Barbell Hack Squat is a more advanced exercise and requires a certain level of strength and mobility. It is crucial to start with lighter weights and gradually increase the load as you become more comfortable and confident with the movement. Including the Barbell Hack Squat in your lower body workout routine can help you achieve stronger, more muscular legs while also enhancing overall lower body strength and stability. However, as with any exercise, it is essential to maintain proper form and consult a fitness professional if you are unsure about performing this exercise correctly.


  • Start by standing upright with your feet shoulder-width apart and your toes pointing slightly outward.
  • Hold a barbell behind your legs with an overhand grip, keeping your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • Bend your knees and lower your hips back as if you're sitting down into a chair. Keep your chest up and your back straight throughout the movement.
  • Lower yourself until your thighs are parallel to the ground, or as low as you can comfortably go without compromising form.
  • Pause for a brief moment at the bottom, then drive through your heels to extend your knees and hips, returning to the starting position.
  • Repeat the movement for the desired number of repetitions.
  • Ensure that your knees are tracking in line with your toes and avoid letting them cave inward throughout the exercise.
  • Maintain a controlled, steady pace during the entire squatting motion.
  • Remember to engage your core muscles for stability and support.
  • Consult with a fitness professional or instructor if you need further guidance or assistance with this exercise.

Tips & Tricks

  • 1. Warm up adequately before performing barbell hack squats to prevent injury and increase blood flow to the working muscles.
  • 2. Maintain proper form throughout the movement, keeping your back straight, chest up, and knees aligned with your toes.
  • 3. Engage your core muscles by bracing your abs and pulling your belly button towards your spine during the exercise.
  • 4. Control the movement by lowering the weight slowly and under control to maximize muscle activation and prevent momentum.
  • 5. Gradually increase the weight used for barbell hack squats to continue challenging your muscles and promoting strength gains.
  • 6. Incorporate variations such as paused reps, tempo changes, or single-leg hack squats to add variety and target different muscle fibers.
  • 7. Prioritize recovery by allowing adequate rest between sets and incorporating rest days into your training schedule.
  • 8. Consider using a lifting belt to provide extra support and stability for your lower back during heavier sets.
  • 9. Fuel your body with a balanced diet that includes adequate protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats to support muscle growth and recovery.
  • 10. Listen to your body and adjust the exercise intensity or range of motion as needed to avoid overexertion or discomfort.


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