7 Best Hack Squat Alternative Exercises

hack squat alternative

A hack squat is an exercise activity that develops your lower body. It develops lower body parts such as the glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves.

If you are looking for impressive results within a realistic time frame, you should perform this exercise on a hack squat machine.

Hack squats make you have strong and huge legs. However, have in mind that hack squat routines are not for everyone since they could be dangerous.

But there is always a hack squat alternative for you to use. In this article, we have included incredible alternatives for you. They work great and achieve the same results.

7 Best Hack Squat Alternatives And How To Do Them

If you are looking to develop your lower body but you find the hack squat dangerous, you can use the alternatives below:

1. Traditional Squats

traditional squats

The hack squat only develops your glutes, thighs and front legs. But the traditional squats develop the back, core and leg muscles as well. As such, it gives you a total body workout!

Another advantage of this body workout over the hack squat is that it also strengthens your stabilizer muscles.

Because of this advantage, athletes who work with free weights have preferred this workout to the hack squat.

Besides, the traditional squat workout is versatile. You can perform it using a Swiss ball, kettlebell, dumbbell, barbell, and your body weight.

Performing it is very simple. You only need to follow the steps below:

  • Place a barbell on the rack so it is on the same level as your buttocks.
  • Hold the barbell from behind, making sure your hands are shoulder-width apart.
  • Slowly grab the barbell and lift it from the rack. Hold it near the back of your legs.
  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Then take a step forward.
  • Lower your knee until your thigh is parallel to the floor. Keep your knees and feet in the same direction. And make sure your back is straight and abs tight.
  • Lift the bar and repeat doing so as much as you can.

2. Front Squats

front squats

This is a variation of the squat, and it is for developing the leg muscles. As such, it is yet another suitable alternative to the hack squat workout technique. This workout places emphasis on your quads.

Also, this workout develops your stabilizer muscles, thigh muscles, and the core. With this alternative, you can work out using less weight but still achieve impressive results. It is another versatile alternative, just like the traditional squat.

You can use a barbell, kettlebell or dumbbells to perform this workout. If you have chosen to perform this workout using a barbell, you should do so in a cage or rack. You can as well use the smith machine for safety and optimal results.

You can follow the simple steps below if you’re looking to perform this workout:

  • Position the safety stops on the rack at waist height.
  • Place the barbell just underneath your shoulders’ height on the rack.
  • Position your hands so they are slightly more than the shoulder-width apart.
  • Step forward underneath the bar and let it rest on your shoulders.
  • Grab the bar with your elbows high in front of your body.
  • Take a deep breath and unrack the bar. You can push your hips forward and extend your knees during this step.
  • Take 3 steps back and keep your feet within the shoulder-width.
  • Bend your knees simultaneously and push your hips back. Perform this step until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
  • Reverse the movement while bracing your abs and driving your feet on the floor. You should exhale once you have fully extended your hips and knees.
  • Repeat these motions as much as you can.

3. Leg Press

leg press alternative to hack squat

The leg press is a suitable substitute to the hack squats for people with weak knees, back, and hip. It is ideal for people who have injuries in general.

This workout method lets you exercise your legs without stressing your injured body parts.

This exercise also works out your hamstrings, quads, and glutes, just like the hack squat. The only difference is that it lets your upper body muscles relax thus improving mind-muscle coordination.

This workout has the advantage of holding more weight than the hack squat. Also, it’s the best workout for people looking to isolate their lower and inner quadriceps.

To perform the leg press workout, simply follow the steps below:

  • Adjust the seat, load, and levers of a leg press machine to your preferred level.
  • Position yourself on the machine. Make sure your back is firmly resting on the backrest. Place your feet on the stepping platform, making sure they’re shoulder-width apart.
  • Make sure you can slide the safety handles up or down in place after pressing the platform upwards.
  • Lower the platform slowly by bending your knees and hips until they make 90° from each other.
  • Press the platform upwards using the heels of your feet to the starting position.
  • Repeat the exercise as much as you can.

4. Cyclist Back Squats

You might not know this but the hack squat was primarily designed to develop your Vastus Medialis Oblique (VMO) muscles.

These are muscle heads in the innermost parts of the quadriceps. You need to have a strong VMO for overall knee health.

But in case you can’t perform the hack squat for some reason but still need to have strong VMO muscles, what other option do you have?

The answer is the cyclist back squat! This workout technique also targets your quadriceps with the same excellence as the hack squat.

  • To perform this workout, simply follow the steps below:
  • Stand on a wedge board. Make sure your heels are on an elevated surface.
  • keep your feet not more than 6 inches apart.
  • Position the bar on your pack just like you would normally do with a conventional squat.
  • Perform the workout.

In this workout technique, the key is to place your heels in an elevated position, and your feet a few inches apart.

Be sure to keep your torso in an upright posture so you can fire up those VMOs for the results you want.

The higher the heels are from the floor, the more you fire the VMO muscles.

This workout technique not only builds leg strength. It also adds more mass and definition to the legs. And it also reduces knee problems.

As such, it is an ideal body workout for bodybuilders, fitness buffs and athletes.

5. Deadlifts

This body workout targets your posterior trap muscles, lower back, hamstrings, abs, and glutes.

As such, this workout is ideal for strengthening your lower back, forearms, and grip. And it develops more muscles than the hack squat workout technique.

This makes it an ideal alternative to hack squats, which might be dangerous to people with knee injuries.


So, how do you perform deadlift workouts? Simply follow the steps below:

  • Step forward to the bar so your midfoot is under it. Stand such that your heels are hip-width apart, and your toes slightly pointing outwards. Make sure your shins are not touching the bar.
  • Bend over to reach for the bar. Make sure you have not bent your legs and keep your arms straight. Hold the bar with your hands shoulder-width apart.
  • Bend your knees so you can lower your body. Your shins will touch the bar, but make sure the bar doesn’t move from above the midfoot position.
  • Straighten your lower back then lift your chest. Inhale as much air as you can and hold your breath.
  • Stand up with the bar and weight, making sure the bar is in contact with your legs.
  • Go back to where you started. Repeat this exercise as many times as you can.

6. Barbell Hack Squat

This workout exercise is similar to the deadlift, but the difference is that the barbell is behind your legs. It is named after the famous George Hackenschmidt when he performed it as an overall leg-building exercise!

This exercise builds the quads, glutes, and hamstrings. Also, it helps you maintain a neutral spine if you raise the bar off the ground. As such, it can be an ideal alternative to people with back problems.

It is a great carryover to the hack squat and deadlift. Performing it is also very simple. And first-timers can perform it without hassles.

You only need to follow the simple steps below:

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart so the barbell is behind your calves.
  • Reach down and grab the bar with an overhand grip. Make sure you are grabbing the knurled part.
  • Assume the normal deadlift starting position. But set up with your torso in a more vertical position.
  • Take a deep breath and hold it for a while.
  • Slowly lift the bar as you stand up. Extend your knees and hips completely during this step to bring the bar to lockout.
  • Squat down slowly, pushing your hips back and bending your knees, to the position you started from. Keep your back in upright posture during this phase.
  • Repeat the workout as much as you can.

7. Squat Hack Dumbbell

The squat hack dumbbell is yet another classic lower-body exercise. It emphasizes your quadriceps, just like the hack squat workout.

It also comes with a few benefits. The benefits include strong leg muscles, reduced body calories, and no stress on your spin.

You can follow the simple steps below if you are looking to perform the squat hack dumbbell:

  • Grab the dumbbells in your hands.
  • Stand up straight holding the dumbbells at the arm’s length.
  • Lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor but using your hips.
  • Keep your torso upright and your back arched.
  • Drive your heels while lifting yourself to the starting position.
  • Repeat these motions as much as you can.

Those are the few alternatives to the hack squat workout technique. They achieve the same results as the hack squat, making them very effective alternatives.

You can use them if you find using the hack squat dangerous for one reason or the other.


The hack squat workout is a very good technique for developing your lower body parts. You need a hack squat machine to perform it excellently and to get the best results.

It is usually the go-to body workout technique for people looking to have more mass on their legs. Also, bodybuilders who need strong legs prefer this workout method.

But it could be a cruel and dangerous workout technique for some people. If you have serious knee issues, the hack squat workout might not be ideal for you.

But you still have alternatives to the hack squat if you need to achieve the same results.

This article has gone through some important and very effective alternatives. You only need to choose one that works great for you or puts you through less stress.

7 Best Hack Squat Alternative Exercises

7 Best Hack Squat Alternative Exercises

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