Go through the average lifter’s leg workout and you’ll see the usual suspects – Squats, Leg Presses, Extensions, Curls, and maybe Stiff-Legged Deadlifts. Don’t get me wrong. Basics are best but there’s nothing wrong with trying something new to bring new life to a muscle group that you may be struggling to improve.
Whether you’re looking for changes to your leg day or you’re fine with the program you have now, I suggest you add barbell hack squats to your routine and incorporate it the next time you train legs – not the next time you develop a new program. You may also know this movement as the behind the legs deadlift. Regardless of the name, the move will light your quads up as well as place stress on the hamstrings and glutes.
How to Do It
Start with a barbell with weight added behind you at arms’ length with an overhand grip and your hands shoulder width apart like you are about to do behind the back shrugs. Your feet should be shoulder width as well. Look forward and stand with a straight spine. Next, squat down until your thighs are parallel with the floor and the weight touches the floor behind you. Push through your heels and use force from your legs to return to the starting position. Take a deep breath in while lowering the weight and breathe out while standing back up. Repeat for the recommended amount of reps required in your program. Don’t bend your arms or let your knees extend past your toes while performing the exercise. If you’ve never done this movement before, begin with the barbell only and make sure you can use proper form before adding weight.
When to Do It
I feel you can add this movement anywhere in your routine. If you want to improve your strength with this exercise, start with barbell hack squats on leg day before moving on to other lifts. I caution against trying to do singles or doubles with this movement however if you’re new to it. If you’re focused on quadriceps development for physique competitions, I’d say add it in at the end of your program and focus on doing slower negatives and squeezing the quads when standing. This strategy will also help warm up your hamstrings and glutes before focusing on those muscles if you train all the leg muscles in the same workout.
If you feel you can do more weight but have trouble with grip, you can use lifting straps so the focus can be on your legs instead of your forearms. If you have any back issues then also make sure you use a lifting belt. If you want to focus on the depth of the movement, use 25’s on the bar which are small in size than 45’s. Finally, don’t drop down too fast or slam the weights off the floor. This doesn’t help you train the quadriceps effectively and will place unneeded stress on your joints.
About the Author
Roger “ROCK” Lockridge is a writer whose work has been seen all over the world. He is most known as a writer for Iron Man Magazine and Bodybuilding.com. In 2009, he was named Bodybuilding.com Male Writer of the Year which along with the Female award is the highest award for writers in the bodybuilding/fitness world.
Roger is also known for his work against child abuse and domestic violence and he was featured as a part of the domestic violence documentary “30” as the only child survivor and the only male survivor in the film.