With the high demand for gyms in these times, it can be difficult to find a gym that has invested in a hack squat machine. Machines tend to carry higher price tags than free weight equipment, so it’s possible that you might not have access to one. That doesn’t mean your workout routine is doomed though! There are plenty of alternatives available out there. In this blog post we will discuss 8 different ways you can work your quads and glutes without even using a hack squat machine!
What Are Some Hack Squat Alternatives?
Some of the best hack squat alternatives include:
- Goblet Squats
- Landmine Squats
- Barbell Hack Squats
- Front Squats
- Let Press
- Bar Squats
- Belt Squats
- Hatfield Squats
How do you do a hack squat at home
With gyms being very hit or miss or maybe you have always worked out at home and looking to expand. You can do hack squats at home by using a resistance band.
This exercise is called the “Hatfield Squat,” and it targets your quads, hamstrings, glutes, hips flexors as well as building stability in the body for stabilizing muscles that are not ordinarily activated during other workouts.
For this hack squat alternative you will need to wrap one end of the elastic band around something sturdy like a pole or heavy furniture and tie the two ends together with an overhand knot (or just hold on to both). The free end should be at about shin height when standing upright next to whatever you’ve decided would make a great anchor point.
Equipment Needed: Dumbbell
All you need is a dumbbell for the Goblet Squat. You definitely workout similar muscles as the hack squat along with similar form.
This is a more intense variation of the dumbbell squat and may cause an increased impact on your knees. You can also perform this exercise holding onto one end of the band for extra resistance to work those muscles even harder.
For this Goblet Squat alternative, you will need two kettle bells or weights as in place of a barbell (or just use some heavy books). Hold the weight at chest height with arms out in front, palms facing up.
You’ll then walk back until feet are shoulder width apart from each other and toes pointed forward slightly. Keeping core tight, bend hips downward and lower down into a deep squat position before pushing through heels to return upright stance while keeping hands closed together holding the dumbbell or kettlebell.
Equipment needed: Barbell, Olympic Weights, Landmine easy attachment (optional)
The landmine squat also can be done at home with limited equipment. It is a great exercise that all you need is a barbell and some weights. Ensure that the wider end of the bar with a plate on it is facing toward you keep your shoulders square and feet at should width apart.
Get into the low squat position and pickup the weights then squat. You can do the weights with hands in up or down position it will come down more to the amount of weight you are using.
This is one of the reasons for using the ladmine squat as with goblet squats once you reach a certain amount of weight you really struggle to get that dumbbell into position. Here you can keep increasing the weight.
You will probably eventually an attachment so the barbell stays in place and doesn’t cause any damage to your house or your body. You can use almost anything even a weight to set the unloaded side of the barbell on.
You’ll find these squats really work your quads and glutes as well as core muscles due to tight stabilization requirement
Barbell Hack Squats
Equipment Needed: Barbell, Olympic Weights
Barbell hack squats are another nice alternative to the hack squat. If you are unable to perform or don’t have access to hack squat machines, there are many alternatives that can help you get the same benefits. One common barbell-based alternative is performing what’s called a “barbell hack squat.”
The barbell hack squat substitutes your body weight for an external load and challenges your quads and glutes like any other heavy lower body exercise would.
You’ll need to purchase some weights typically in the form of Olympic plates so this isn’t much more expensive than using just a machine at home! And no matter how strong you get, it will still be challenging as all exercises require new stimulus if they’re going to continue delivering results.
One downside is that it can create additional strain on the lower back along with your shoulders. You definitely need to be a little more flexible.
Equipment Needed: Barbell, Olympic Weights, Squat or Power Rack
Another nice free weight alternative where you can get this equipment pretty cheap for your home gym. The front squat is a great alternative because you can work your muscles from multiple angles and it’s not machine-based.
You’ll need to do this exercise with the barbell resting on in front of your chest, much like how you would start a bicep curl (just without curling). You want to keep your elbows up so they don’t touch the bar or cross over one another. This will help keep them mobile! Using heavier weights is going to be more challenging for stabilization but that’s what makes these exercises rewarding – overcoming challenge.
This squat variation requires additional mobility and flexibility as well, which may make it difficult if tightness is an issue when working out at home. It will feel awkward at first until you get used to it. Most people love this exercise and say you get better results than the traditional squat.
Alternatives At the Gym
These are different workouts you can do at home as well, but are more then likely to find this equipment at the local gym. So if the hack machine is being used or they don’t have one you can skip over to these exercises to get the same affect.
Equipment Needed: Leg Press Machine
Leg presses are great in general to mix in when you can to get additional leg workout without putting extra pressure on the spine. Legg presses are a great alternative to the hack squat because it can be done at any weight and is not limited by upper body strength.
There are two types of leg presses: The platform style, where you stand on a rigid plate that slides back and forth under your feet; or the pneumatic type that has an air cylinder with piston action. Platform leg press machines allow for more natural movement than pneumatic ones as they simulate walking up stairs rather then pushing down on something like a dumbbell does in traditional squats.
The Leg Press machine also allows you to do other exercises such as calf raises without having to worry about balance issues. You can push more weight for more reps to create more fatigue and get more sets in as well. If you have access to this machine definitely use it when you can.
Equipment Needed: V-squat machine, alternatives: dumbbells or barbell w/ Olympic weights.
V-squats are nice alternative to hack squats and have the same structure throughout the movement. V-squats are done by placing your feet on a platform that has two angles to it. The back foot is angled so the toes are pointed up and the front foot is at an angle with the toes pointing straight down.
The purpose of this apparatus is for you to maintain stability while performing squats, making sure not to tip over or collapse during your sets.
V-squats can also be performed using either dumbbells or barbells depending on if you want more isolation through one side of your body versus both sides combined in total range of motion (ROM). V-Squats also provide a great stretch in accordance with their flexibility requirements due to different squat variations available such as high knees v-jumps and walking lunges which require greater hip flexors.
Bar Squats (Safety Bar Squats)
Equipment Needed: Special Safety Bar, Olympic weights
Safety bar squats use a special bar that isn’t found at most gyms I have been too across the country. However if you have access to one they are a great alternative to the traditional hack squat.
It is called a safety bar because it keeps you in an upright position to allow for more in depth movement to hit those quads up. The safety bar squat is a great alternative if you have any back or knee injuries that prohibit you from performing regular squats.
The safety bar is what makes this form of squatting different and special to the hack squat in that it doesn’t require as much balance, so typically people who are weaker on their feet will be more comfortable with this type of machine for all these reasons combined; not because they can let go of the handles like one would do with free weights.
This allows them to get closer to parallel depending on how flexible your hips are while still keeping those quads activated! Knowing which muscles are being used during each exercise is crucial when figuring out your workouts, especially if you need some help choosing between two exercises that seem similar but work different muscle
Equipment Needed: Dip belt, platforms, landmine attachment, cable machine (any of these combinations)
Belt squats have been around a long time and can be done at the gym or just as easily at home depending on the equipment you have available. Belt squats are great because they allow for a deeper range of motion when done with the belt.
When performing this exercise, it is important to keep your chest up and shoulders back as you squat down, using the dip belt to provide resistance. The weight should be pulling you forward so that it’s difficult not to lean too far into the move or fall on your butt! If squats without a barbell feel like old hat then give these ones a try; trust me-you won’t regret it!
Hatfield squats looking from the outside look identical to the safety bar squats the only slight different is your arm placement. You put your hands on the side of the rack and use them to help keep your balance and you can actually get deeper into the squat making this a nice alternative to the hack squat.
Hatfield squats are a nice alternative because there is no need for any major equipment. They also work the quadriceps muscles, hamstrings and glutes similar to the hack squat while eliminating some of that stabilization requirement seen in barbell squats which can be tough on your low back.
Barbell Hack Squat Substitutes
Equipment Needed: Barbell, Olympic Weights
Using a barbell for a hack Squat can be a nice alternative when you don’t have access to a hack squat machine.
When executing this exercise, the individual should set up as if they were doing any other back squat with a barbell on their shoulders but instead of standing straight up and down, they will bend at the knees sitting way back onto their heels while maintaining an upright torso position.
- Setup barbell on ground with some light weights or empty
- Stand right in front o f the barbell with your feet around should width apart or a bit wider.
- Bend down and grab bar with both hands in the overhand hand grip position. Your hands should be on the outside of your knees.
- Keep your back straight and explode using your legs while driving your heels into the ground stand up.
- Pause at the top and go back down keeping back straight and repeat
Dumbbell Hack Squat Substitutes
Honestly all you need to get into shape lifting is a nice set of dumbbells even the adjustable ones.
The Goblet squat is probably the best for a beginner as you are going to use lighter weight and be able to get down into the squat deeper.
Equipment Needed: One Dumbbell or Kettlebell
- Stand with your feed at shoulder width apart
- Hold the dumbbell or kettlebell at chest height just in front of you
- Sit back into your squat and lower yourself down keeping your chest up and back straight.
- Go down until parallel or until your back starts to bend
- Push your quads and straight your legs going back to the top and repeat.
Smith Machine Hack Squat Substitute
Equipment Needed: Smith Machine, Olympic Weights
Although the smith machine isn’t our favorite piece of equipment to use as a weightlifter. We see some advantages for using it as a substitute for hack squats. So if you have access to a smith machine give this a go to increase your quad gains.
- Make sure smith machine set to around shoulder height. Do a dry run squat to see where to put the safety catches.
- Feet shoulder width apart lean back into your squat with chest up.
- Lower yourself down slowly until you reach the parallel position.
- Go down just like you are going to sit into a seat.
- Once you reach around that 90 degree angle explode back up using your quads. Then repeat.
How do you simulate a hack squat
Simulating a hack squat you can use your favorite piece of equipment to squat with.
You can also do a bodyweight alternative exercise like pistols or single leg squats.
One way is to put two benches parallel, one in front and the other behind you. Have one foot on each bench then slowly lower yourself down into a seated position and back up using just your rear leg muscles without bending at the knee joint until both feet are flat on the ground again. Repeat for desired reps before switching sides.
Another great hack squatter replacement would be doing lunges utilizing dumbbells as well as going onto different surfaces such as turf fields, gravel etc., which will all challenge your balance skills while giving you that extra core stability from being off-balance!
Are hack squats as good as regular squats?
Hack squats can be better that regular squats when it comes to spinal safety and the ability to load weight.
hack squats are a machine-based squat accessory exercise that works your quads and glutes, while eliminating the stabilization requirement seen in barbell back squats. Unfortunately not all gyms decide to invest in hack squat machines so how can you get all of the benefits without access? You can do lunges with dumb bells or walk on different surfaces such as turf fields, gravel etc., which will challenge stability skills and core strength from being off balance!
Hack Squats are good for spinal safety because there is no need for an external load (squatting onto a bench) like traditional back squats have in order to make it harder by increasing leverage. Hack squats also allow more loading potential than regular body
Reverse hack squat substitute
Reverse hack squats alternatives include: things such as step ups, reverse lunges and single leg squats.
The hack squat machine is a popular hip extension exercise that allows for more loading potential than traditional back squats with no risk of overextending your spine or knee joint. Unfortunately not all gyms have the luxury of investing in one so how can you get all the benefits without access?
You could do lunges with dumbbells to target quadriceps muscles on either side of the body, walk over different surfaces like turf fields or gravel which will challenge stability skills and core strength from being off balance! The regular hack squat also has spinal safety because there’s no need for an external load (squatting onto bench) making it harder by increasing leverage unlike traditional
Reverse hack squat alternative at home
Reverse hack squat alternatives with no machine include:
- Goblet squats
- Bottom up kettlebell squats
- Bench rear foot elevated push-ups
- Landmine press with bottom of feet on the landmine bar
- Inverse row motion from a bench or step top position.
- Machine based exercises also provide increased stability
Many of these hack squat alternatives provide a great workout for the quads, hamstrings, glutes and hip flexors. They also have an added benefit of being much easier on your knees than traditional barbell squats. If you’ve been having back pain or knee problems from doing too many heavy squats at the gym, give some of these alternative exercises a try! One way to get started is by trying out 10 Goblet Squats with good form today. The next time someone asks “What are some alternatives?” You can say confidently “I got this!”