How To, Benefits, Muscles Worked, Variations

How To, Advantages, Muscle tissue Labored, Variations

The dumbbell hack squat is a squat variation that helps you higher goal your quadriceps. This train is a good match for individuals who don’t have entry to a hack squat machine at their health club or for people that practice of their barebone storage health club. 

The quadriceps is a bunch of muscle tissues on the entrance of your thigh; quads comprise extra mass than every other muscle group in your physique. The quadriceps femoris is a hip flexor and a knee extensor and consists of 4 particular person muscle tissues. The quadriceps are used for numerous features, similar to strolling, working, standing,  kicking, and leaping.

Since your quads are such a big muscle group, it’s essential to emphasize them in your coaching routine. Though the traditional barbell and air squat are nice workouts to work your thighs, they interact your hamstrings and glutes greater than the hack squat, eradicating rigidity out of your quads. 

The dumbbell hack squat lets you focus in your quads with out going too heavy. Moreover, many lifters report a larger vary of movement whereas performing this train than the traditional squat as a result of your heels are positioned on an elevated platform, bettering your mobility. 

This text covers all the pieces it’s essential to know concerning the dumbbell hack squat. You’ll discover ways to carry out this motion with the proper kind, its advantages, goal muscle teams, widespread errors, and its finest variations and alternate options. 

What’s Dumbbell Hack Squat?

The dumbbell hack squat is a hack squat machine different that helps emphasize your quads. It is a wonderful elevate for individuals who lack mobility and fail to realize depth on the usual barbell again squat. 

Legendary strongman and wrestler George Hackenschmidt invented the barbell hack squat, which includes holding a barbell behind your again whereas squatting. Utilizing dumbbells for this train makes the motion simpler in your wrists, pecs, and shoulder joints. It additionally lets you keep upright all through the ROM, which isn’t the case with the barbell hack squat.

The dumbbell hack squat requires you to seize a dumbbell in every hand and place your heels on an elevated platform like a weight plate or squat wedge for higher leverage. You need to decrease right into a deep squat whereas retaining your torso upright. Your knees will prolong in entrance of your toes through the eccentric (reducing) a part of the elevate, which is able to assist interact your quadriceps higher. 

Your objective with the dumbbell hack squat is to observe a full vary of movement and contract your quads all through the ROM. Chasing heavier weights will throw you off steadiness, resulting in larger hamstring and glute stimulation. 

Modify your rep tempo to get probably the most out of this train. Observe a 4:1:1:1 rep tempo, which includes spending 4 seconds within the eccentric (reducing) movement, a second on the backside static contraction, a second within the concentric (upward) motion, and a one-second pause on the prime static contraction. 

Muscle tissue Labored Throughout Dumbbell Hack Squat

The dumbbell hack squat works the next muscle tissues:


The dumbbell hack squat primarily targets the quads. The 4 quad muscle tissues are:

  1. Rectus femoris: It originates at your hip bone and pelvis and has two heads. The rectus femoris is situated in the course of the entrance of your thigh and covers probably the most space. 
  2. Vastus lateralis: It connects your thigh bone to your kneecap and is current on the surface of your thigh. 
  3. Vastus medialis: It’s situated on the medial aspect of the femur, which means it runs alongside the within of your thigh. The vastus medialis is the smallest quadriceps muscle. 
  4. Vastus intermedius: It’s current below the rectus femoris and between the vastus lateralis and vastus medialis. 


All squat variations will end in gluteal stimulation. You would possibly expertise a larger glute engagement within the dumbbell hack squat than the traditional squat as you obtain a larger depth whereas squatting together with your heels on an elevated platform. This motion additionally ends in adductor recruitment. 


The dumbbell hack squat engages your hamstrings, however solely barely. Hamstrings interact at 120 levels of knee flexion (the primary 10-20% of the eccentric movement). The again of your higher legs primarily helps stabilize your quads and glutes through the squat. 


An prolonged vary of movement on the squat will result in whole decrease physique engagement. Count on a nasty calf pump in the event you carry out the dumbbell hack squat for a better variety of reps (15-20). 


For the reason that dumbbell hack squat requires you to plant your heels on an elevated platform, you want a stable core to maintain your torso upright all through the train. You may also should work in your mobility to carry out this train with the proper kind. 

Advantages of Dumbbell Hack Squat

Including the dumbbell hack squat to your coaching routine entails the next benefits:

Helps Construct Muscle Mass and Power

You’ll be able to program dumbbell hack squats into your coaching routine primarily based in your aims. Keep within the 8-12 rep vary to construct muscle mass, and use the 1-5 vary for including power to your decrease physique. [1]

Use a gradual and managed movement to ignite hypertrophy. Conversely, you need to observe an explosive motion sample to coach for power positive aspects. 

Higher Quad Engagement

You carry out the dumbbell hack squat together with your heels planted on an elevated platform, which will increase your vary of movement. An prolonged motion vary ends in optimum quadriceps engagement. Make sure you don’t lock out your knees on the prime of the motion to take care of fixed rigidity in your quads all through the train. 

Straightforward on Your Decrease Again

A barbell again squat compresses your backbone because it requires you to load a barbell onto your shoulders. Then again, you maintain the dumbbells behind your hamstrings whereas performing the dumbbell hack squat, which removes rigidity out of your decrease again and lets you focus in your goal muscle group. 

Requires Minimal Gear

Most lifters don’t have a hack squat machine of their dwelling gyms. Moreover, many industrial gyms lack this specialised coaching machine. The dumbbell hack squat targets the identical muscle group utilizing minimal gear. You solely want a pair of dumbbells and an elevated platform like a squat wedge or a weight plate. 

How To Do a Dumbbell Hack Squat

Beneath is the way to carry out the dumbbell hack squat with the proper kind:


  1. Place your heels on a squat wedge or a weight plate and assume a shoulder-wide stance. 
  2. Flip your toes barely outward to a cushty place. 
  3. Seize a dumbbell in every hand and place the again of your fingers in opposition to your hamstrings. Your palms ought to be going through the wall behind you. 
  4. Preserve your torso upright and look straight forward. This might be your beginning place. 
  5. Decrease towards the ground by bending at your knees and pushing them ahead. 
  6. Preserve your torso perpendicular to the ground all through the vary of movement. 
  7. Squat as little as potential. Your hamstring ought to contact your calves on the backside. 
  8. Return to the beginning place by driving by way of your heels. 
  9. Pause and contract your quads on the prime. 
  10. Repeat for really helpful reps. 

Dumbbell Hack Squat Ideas:

  1. Give attention to reducing your self by pushing your knees ahead. Don’t fear about your knees extending past your toes. 
  2. Decrease with a gradual and managed movement and get out of the opening with an explosive motion. 
  3. You need to decrease the load or regulate the peak of the elevated platform if you end up leaning ahead or backward through the elevate. 
  4. Though you would carry out this train together with your ft flat on the ground, most individuals are inclined to bend ahead due to a scarcity of mobility. 
  5. You may also maintain the dumbbells at your sides if in case you have issue sustaining your steadiness whereas holding them behind your legs. 

In This Train:

  • Goal Muscle Group: Quads
  • Secondary Muscle Teams: Abs, Calves, Glutes, and Hamstrings
  • Kind: Power
  • Mechanics: Isolation
  • Gear: Dumbbells and Weight Plates
  • Problem: Newbie
  • Finest Rep Vary:
    • Hypertrophy: 8-12
    • Power: 1-5

Frequent Errors Whereas Performing a Dumbbell Hack Squat

Listed here are the most typical errors lifters commit whereas doing the dumbbell hack squat:

Rounding Your Again

Many lifters are inclined to spherical their again through the eccentric (reducing) a part of the dumbbell hack squat, which might place pointless rigidity on their decrease again. You need to preserve an upright torso all through the ROM for optimum quad engagement. Work in your mobility if in case you have hassle attaining depth with out rounding your again. 

Bending Ahead and Backward

Perfecting the dumbbell hack squat requires observe. Holding the dumbbells behind your legs would possibly throw you off steadiness. Learners ought to do that train with the dumbbells at their sides. Moreover, going too heavy can lead you to swing your torso backwards and forwards. Decrease your possibilities of swinging your higher physique like a pendulum by utilizing a weight you’ll be able to deal with for the really helpful reps. 

Utilizing Too Large a Stance

It’s best to stick with a shoulder-wide stance whereas performing this hack squat variation to take care of an upright torso on the backside of the ROM. Utilizing too vast a foot placement may cause you to bend ahead through the eccentric a part of the elevate. 

Variations and Options of Dumbbell Hack Squat

Boost your coaching routine with the next dumbbell hack squat variations and alternate options:

Foam Curler Dumbbell Hack Squat

That is a complicated model of the dumbbell hack squat and requires a foam curler. Inserting the froth curler between your again and wall forces you to maintain an upright torso, which could be nice for individuals coping with again points. 


  1. Stand a number of inches away from a wall together with your again towards it. Place your heels shoulder-width aside on a squat wedge. 
  2. Place a foam curler horizontally between your mid again and the wall. 
  3. Seize a dumbbell in every hand and place it at your sides. 
  4. Decrease towards the ground by bending at your knees and pushing them ahead. 
  5. Go as deep as potential. Your hams ought to contact your calves on the backside. 
  6. Explode to the beginning place. 
  7. Pause and contract your quads on the prime. 

Professional Tip: Utilizing a foam curler helps you mimic a hack squat machine movement. This train, nonetheless, will result in an excellent again engagement. 

Barbell Hack Squat

The hack squat is called after its inventor, George Hackenschmidt. He debuted this train at a strongman competitors. Hackenschmidt can also be credited because the inventor of the bench press. 


  1. Stand upright with a shoulder-wide stance. 
  2. Place a barbell in opposition to your calves. 
  3. Seize the bar with a barely wider-than-shoulder-width grip. Your palms ought to be going through the wall behind you. 
  4. Your quads ought to be parallel to the ground on the beginning place. 
  5. Carry the bar off the ground by driving by way of your heels, extending your knees, pushing your hips ahead, and elevating your chest. 
  6. Pause and contract your quads on the prime. 
  7. Slowly return to the beginning place. 
  8. Repeat for really helpful reps. 

Professional Tip: Though this train is named the barbell hack squat, it mimics the deadlift since you start the motion off the ground. Additionally, your torso will invariably bend ahead on this squat variation. 

Try our full barbell hack squat information!

Machine Hack Squat

The machine hack squat is well-liked for its quad-engaging capabilities. It’s why we’re speaking concerning the dumbbell hack squat within the first place. It’s best to take advantage of this gear in the event you can entry it. 


  1. Load the machine with an appropriate weight. 
  2. Place your shoulders and again in opposition to the pads.
  3. Place your ft shoulder-width aside.
  4. Lengthen your legs and launch the security handles.
  5. Slowly decrease the load by bending your knees.
  6. Go as little as potential.
  7. Pause on the backside for optimum quad activation.
  8. Explode again to the beginning place. 
  9. Repeat for really helpful repetitions.

Professional Tip: Push by way of the balls of the ft whereas performing the machine hack squat to emphasise your quads. 

Try our full machine hack squat information!

Zercher Squat

The Zercher squat is a complicated squat variation. It doesn’t compress your backbone and helps you keep an upright torso since you maintain the barbell earlier than your midsection whereas performing this elevate. 


  1. Arrange a barbell at navel stage in a squat rack.
  2. Pin your elbows to your sides and prolong your decrease arms ahead. Your palms ought to face the ceiling. 
  3. Place the bar in your elbow crooks between the biceps and forearms. Interlace your fingers and lift your decrease arms towards the ceiling, so your arms kind a “V.”
  4. Unrack the bar and step again. 
  5. Decrease towards the ground by bending at your knees and pushing your hips again. Keep an upright torso all through the ROM. 
  6. Return to the beginning place. 

Professional Tip: You’ll have to use a wider stance to realize depth on the Zercher squat. A shoulder-wide stance will end in your elbows bumping into your knees or higher legs on the backside.

Try our full Zercher squat information!

Bulgarian Break up Squat

The Bulgarian cut up squat is a unilateral train that may assist repair muscle and power imbalances by permitting you to concentrate on one aspect of your physique at a time. 


  1. Stand upright together with your again towards a flat bench. 
  2. Seize a dumbbell in every hand.
  3. Place your left foot on the bench and assume a shoulder-wide stagger stance. 
  4. Whereas retaining your torso perpendicular to the ground, decrease your physique till your proper thigh is no less than parallel to the ground. 
  5. Return to the beginning place. 
  6. Repeat for really helpful reps earlier than switching sides. 

Professional Tip: It’s best to carry out the body weight variation of this train till you acquire the steadiness to deal with extra resistance. 

Try our full Bulgarian cut up squat information!

Wrapping Up

The dumbbell hack squat is an extremely efficient train that may assist construct greater and stronger quads. It’s a recreation changer for people who don’t have entry to a hack squat machine at their health club or those that practice at their humble dwelling health club. 

Following a full vary of movement whereas retaining an upright torso is essential to getting probably the most out of this train. Add selection to your coaching routine by programming the dumbbell hack squat variations and alternate options into your exercises. Better of luck!


  1. Krzysztofik M, Wilk M, Wojdała G, Gołaś A. Maximizing Muscle Hypertrophy: A Systematic Overview of Superior Resistance Coaching Strategies and Strategies. Int J Environ Res Public Well being. 2019 Dec 4;16(24):4897. doi: 10.3390/ijerph16244897. PMID: 31817252; PMCID: PMC6950543.
Author: ZeroToHero

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