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LAVERA STEWARTEditor-in-Chief of the Approved By Coach
Hack squat and leg press are extremely effective exercises for the quadriceps – large muscles at the front of the thighs, making them a perfect addition to the leg day session in the gym. But which of these activities will be safer and more efficient for you? Well, they both have their own advantages, limitations, and risks, plus, a lot depends on your fitness goals.
We’ve created this post in an effort to help you find out what is better for you: hack squat or leg press and decide what, when, and why. Here, we’ll compare these exercises, explain their differences, pros, and cons. On top of that, we’ll instruct you on how to do a hack squat and leg press correctly and how to avoid mistakes.
So, without further ado, let’s take a closer look at hack squat vs leg press!
What Is A Hack Squat?
A hack squat is a multi-joint movement that combines the squad and deadlift into one exercise. This is a gym activity since it requires a barbell or a hack squat machine to perform it. You’ll be surprised by the variety of hack squat alternatives that work your muscles even more effectively. There’s V-Squat, Goblet Squat, Landmine Squat, Zercher squats, and so much more.
When you perform hack squat movement you exercise:
- Back muscles
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How To Do Hack Squats?
As we mentioned above there are plenty of variations of hack squats. So let’s take a look at the standard barbell exercise.
- Load a barbell and step in front of it;
- Grab it;
- Push the floor to get up;
- As you stand up, the barbell must slide along the back of the legs;
- Go down, bending at the knees and hips at the same time.
Hack Squat Benefits and Downsides
What Is A Leg Press?
A leg press is another gym-based exercise that will require a machine to be performed. It works glutes, adductors, and calves with minimal demand placed on the upper body.
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How To Do Leg Press?
- Sit on the machine with your back and head resting on the padded support;
- Place your feet on the platform about hip-width apart;
- Make sure that your heels are flat;
- Grasp the handles for extra support and keep your head and spine in position;
- Push the footplate to straighten your legs;
- Bend your knees to move the footplate towards you;
- Push the footplate away and back to the starting position.
Leg Press Benefits and Downsides
Hack Squat Vs Leg Press: In-depth Comparison
Both hack squat and leg press are great exercises for working your quadriceps with hamstring and glute. However, a hack squat is better if you want more loads to build muscles and balance. The leg press exercise is more simple and less risky for your back and knees. It’s a much better option for beginners and those who try to fit various exercises into their leg day routine.
Now, if you may be wondering – what’s the difference between hack squat machine vs leg press? Simple: the machine-based hack squat is loaded on shoulders, so a lifter has to squat down and get up to do the exercise. The leg press is loaded via a footplate with a lifter having to push away while lying down.
So whether you choose a barbell hack squat or hack squat machine, you still load your upper body. It’s just that the leg press only works your lower body and allows the upper body to rest comfortably on the padded support.
Which Exercise Is Best Suited For You?
Which exercise to choose totally depends on your fitness goals and health condition. If the balance is a problem for you, or you suffer from shoulder or back pain, then leg press will be a perfect choice.
But if you want an all-over body workout, then hack squat has the advantage over a leg press.
So hopefully that answers all your questions regarding these amazing exercises! So between hack squat vs leg press: which is a better option for you? Feel free to let us know in the comments!