Barbell hack squat

The barbell hack squat is a variety of deadlift performed with the barbell behind the legs. This forces the lifter into a body position similar to a squat and targets the quads and glutes. It is named after famed strongman George Hackenschmidt, who performed it as an overall leg-building exercise. The barbell hack squat can be used as a substitute for the machine hack squat, or as a lower-body strength and size movement on its own.


  1. Builds the quads, glutes, and hamstrings
  2. If maintaining a neutral spine is difficult, the move can be performed with the bar raised off the ground
  3. Great carryover to both the squat and deadlift

Barbell hack squat Images


Barbell hack squat Instructions

Barbell hack squat muscle diagram
  1. Stand up straight while holding a barbell behind you at arms length and your feet at shoulder width. Tip: A shoulder width grip is best with the palms of your hands facing back. You can use wrist wraps for this exercise for a better grip. This will be your starting position.
  2. While keeping your head and eyes up and back straight, squat until your upper thighs are parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you slowly go down.
  3. Pressing mainly with the heel of the foot and squeezing the thighs, go back up as you breathe out.
  4. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.

Variations: This exercise can also be performed with your heels slightly elevated on a small block. This is a good option for beginners who lack the flexibility to perform the exercise without it.