Often referred to as a ‘hack squat,’ this is a form of squat exercise performed with the help of a machine. Without a doubt, any fitness professional worth their salt will tell you that the best exercise to gain lower body power is the squat.
With the squat, you can efficiently build mass and strength throughout your lower back, calves, thighs, core, and glutes. However, squats freely performed place a serious strain on your knees, lower back and shoulders, and can make you susceptible to injury. Luckily, a hack squat machine is a safe and efficient way to exercise without potential injury.
Performing a hack squat on a hack squat machine will help you target your quadriceps and your glutes. The exercise is performed by placing your feet on top of plates shoulder-width apart. You then bend your knees, lower yourself under control, and push yourself back up to a standing position. Since your hips are in a fixed position, your quads take on a majority of the work. Remember to keep your abs and core tight to protect your lower back.
You’ll be able to adjust the workout intensity by adding weight. A hack squat machine typically lets you perform more than one exercise, so you can perform leg presses and even abdominal exercises. Please continue reading to learn about the best squat machines to fit your unique workout needs.
What is a Hack Squat Machine?
The hack squat machine has taken the fitness world by storm. In fact, it is one of the most used and popular exercise equipment items in the gym. Everyone uses a squat press machine from beginners to weightlifters, to hardcore bodybuilders. Whereas the barbell squat works a wide variety of muscles, including small stabilizer muscles, the hack squat puts more of a direct emphasis onto your quads.
This movement recruits more quadriceps muscle fibers leading to better overall development. This not only increases the size of your quads, but makes them more powerful for running, jumping, and athletic performance.
Benefits of the Squat Machine
Usually, the hack squat machine has a 45-degree angle and a sled where you load weights. Such a machine lets you use more plates so you can squat more weights. The ability to increase weight helps lead to progressive overload, and this helps develop increases in strength and muscle mass.
Here are a few benefits of using the hack squat machine:
- With the machine, you can do exceptionally low squats to use more muscle fiber
- You can even work one leg at a time.
- People with a bad back can use the machine hack squat without undue pressure.
- Work different areas of your lower body all by positioning your feet differently.
How to Use a Hack Squat Machine
- Rest your back on the back pad but make sure your shoulders are hooked beneath the shoulder pads
- Spread your feet onto the plate so they are shoulder-width apart and toes slightly pointed outward.
- Keep your head up
- Maintain a neutral stance
- Disengage the safety bars
- Keep your knees as straight as possible while disengaging the safety bars
- Inhale, keep your abs tight, and drop your hips and slowly lower the legs while keeping your head up. You will lower the load until the angle is less than 90 degrees between your legs and calves.
- Once you have achieved a low reach then raise the sled. Breath out and use the power in your heels so your knees do not lock
Things to Consider When Using a Smith Machine Squat (Hack Squat Machine)
When shopping, you will encounter two diverse types of hack squat machines. One has only the hack squat machine, but then there are the other types that also feature the leg press attachment. Overall, remember that the hack squat machine and the leg press machine work similarly and is why they are frequently combined.
Durability: The machine should be built for longevity. Remember, it will need to hold a load every time you exercise.
Construction: Only buy a machine hack squat that is made from premium components.
Weight Capacity: A top of the line hack squat machine can hold 1000 pounds, but a smaller squat machine might not come close to that amount. Consider your needs and how often your machine will be used.
The Smith Machine Squat
A smith machine squat is a nice alternative to the traditional hack squat machine. It is a very stable exercise easy to execute and acts like a self-spotter. You will use the same hack squat machine, but you will just perform the exercise differently. Some people get confused over the Smith machine squat and mistakenly think it requires another machine.
Best Squat Machine Review
G4-MAX Sissy Squat Machine
The G4-MAX Sissy Squat Machine is a great 3-in-1 workout tool. You can do traditional squats, pushups, and abdominal muscles. It has an embossed board, foam roller that locks your feet, and adjustable gap. Overall, this squat press machine is for individuals from 5 feet to 6 feet 5 inches tall that weigh up to 250 pounds. This belt squat machine is durable and looks fantastic in red and black.
If you are in the market for a sissy squat machine, then this might be the gem that you are seeking. It is designed for sissy squats but also great for an ab workout and pushups.
- A 3-in-1 squat press machine
- Embossed board
- Comfortable foam roller
- Locks feet
- Adjustable gap
- Holds up to 250 pounds
- Easy to set up
Who Makes It?
This squat machine is made by G4-MAX, a leader in gym equipment. They focus strongly on the needs of the home gym enthusiast.
The G4-MAX Sissy Squat Machine will become a valued addition to your home gym. It lets you perform three workout regimes in comfort. Designed for sissy squats, you are still going to love pushing your stomach muscles on this machine too.
Goplus 3-in-1 Multifunctional Squat Machine
If you are seeking a 3-in-1 machine, then you are going to want to consider the Goplus 3-in-1 Multifunctional Squat Machine Deep Sissy Squat and Leg Exercise Squat. Undoubtedly, it will complete your home gym fitness equipment wish list. With this equipment, you can focus on core training functions, deep sissy squats, pushups, and pullups. You’ll start seeing a dramatic improvement in your legs, buttocks, and abdomen. In addition, your knee and hip joints strengthen.
With an all-steel construction, the load capacity is 220 pounds. It has a stable design that features six non-slip footpads. There is a stainless-steel base and a non-slip footplate for safety. With the black foam covering, your feet will not rub and sustain an injury.
The Goplus 3-in-1 is available in a nice looking black and yellow. The soft black foam is a nice addition to the device.
Adjust the machine’s height with six levels. This design also has two small circles at the front of the machine which let you try rope exercises or use a dumbbell.
- A 3-in-1 machine
- Steel construction
- Supports up to 220 pounds
- Non-slip foot pads
- Black foam covering
- Adjustable machine height
Who Makes It?
GoPlus has become a leader in affordable at-home gym equipment. Their products are sold nationwide at numerous retailers.
Soozier 3-in-1 Padded Push Up Sit Up Deep Sissy Squat Machine
The Soozier 3-in-1 Padded Push Up Sit Up Deep Sissy Squat Machine Home Gym Fitness Equipment is marketed as a 3-in-1 full-body exercise machine. You can do sissy squats, pushups, and sit-ups. Your core, glutes, quads, and calves will quickly take shape working out on this well-constructed machine.
Fashioned from sturdy steel, it has a foam footrest and calf pads to protect your legs. There is a non-slip foot place that has four suction cup pads to hold the machine in place on a solid surface. If you want to move the machine, then you can wheel it around using the two wheels located on the front and the two rear handles to pull and navigate.
- Weight capacity of 265 pounds
- Offers 3-in-1 exercises
- Cushioned footrest and calf pads
- Made from steel
- Wheels and handle for mobility
- Suction cups to hold the unit in place
Who Makes It?
Soozier is a respected name in the fitness industry. They make both commercial and at-home equipment.
This is a sturdy machine that enables you to perform more than one exercise. Its compact size and durability make it an ideal investment for your at-home gym.
A Squat Machine Helps Develop Form
Think about it, a squat is a functional movement that you use about every day in real life so why not make it part of your workout routine? It will help you build greater day-to-day stamina and might even improve your joint function. Squats are especially beneficial for aging adults because they help promote stability and equilibrium.
You squat every time you reach down to pick something up off the ground or when you sit down/rise from a chair or climb a stairway. Overall, improving your body’s lower-body muscles will increase your endurance, balance, mobility, and form.
The stronger your legs, the stronger you will be in everyday life. Everyday activities such as walking up stairs will become more manageable. You will also develop a stronger core as a squatting motion is a full-body exercise that recruits your entire core.
The Importance of Proper Form During a Squat
It is imperative that you maintain proper form during your squats, so you do not sustain a sports-related injury in your knees or back. If you are a newbie to squats, then you won’t automatically have perfect form. It does take practice. Also, you will want to work on your ankle, spine, hip, and knee mobility to gain form.
A proper warm-up will be essential to mastering the squat form. Starting with 5 to 10 minutes of cardio is helpful to increase the heart rate and get the blood flowing to the working muscles. Remember, before you even start adding weights to your squats, you will want to just master the basic squat with full movement. As you master the form, your strength, and the weights will naturally increase.
Use Your Lower Body Muscles
The squat exercise machine helps you develop form when you advance to dumbbells and a barbell. Also, it helps you avoid injury by giving your body extra support. With the hack squat machine, your motion path is balanced and centered. This way you will never have to worry about losing your footing which could cause an injury. Using a hack squat machine, you can use your lower-body muscles to move the weight without fearing that you will drop the equipment. You will develop deeper muscle strength which will translate over to other lower-body exercises.
The Smith Assisted Squat Machine
Any well-equipped gym boasts a Smith assisted squat machine. At the fitness center, you have noted that there is always an extensive line that forms as people wait to work out on this superior muscle-building equipment. The Smith machine squat offers stability and balance. It provides you with a very efficient workout and even better muscle isolation. Many people feel that it has a much greater feel even when used without a spotter.
With the Smith Assisted Machine, the bar goes up and down instead of forward and back or in some other motion then you have far more stability. You’ll be able to focus on form without worrying about falling. Also, your body weight won’t inadvertently pull you out of alignment. Your movements can become both controlled and very concise. Without a doubt, the locked bar is a huge benefit to your workout routine.
Your shoulders also benefit from greater protection. Many enthusiasts of the Smith hack squat machine swear that they gain a far superior workout than using free weights. Overall, if you want to avoid back, knee, or leg injury then this is a must-have for your home gym.
Workout Without a Spotter
Using a Smith assisted hack squat machine is safer if you want to work out without a spotter. The rods offer stability to the barbell. You can even lift more weight because of the support. If you are training alone, a Smith machine will help create a safer workout experience than a barbell squat.
As with all workout equipment, always follow the directions of the manufacturer to reduce the likelihood of injury. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced workout fanatic, you will fall in love with the Smith squat machine. After you have used it at your fitness center, you will want to purchase one for your at-home use too.
Understanding the Sissy Squat
In the last five years, a lot of hype has formed around the Sissy Squat. There are actually a few variations now and people can become confused about what exactly is authentic and what is not. The Sissy Squat exercise and the Sissy Squat bench are used together for the greatest efficiency.
A sissy squat is just a ‘locked-in’ version of a full squat. When performing the exercise, the stress is placed on the quadriceps. You should never perform any non-supported version of the sissy squat because it can damage your knees.
How to Execute a Sissy Squat
You might be wondering how to execute a sissy squat. Well, you will need a squat press machine to secure your feet and ankles. The action provides much-needed support to your calves. An adjustable squat machine helps keep the weight on the heels and help you maintain a proper squatting position so you can execute the exercise correctly.
You’ll need an adjustable for height calf pad to attain the proper seating position and balance. When shopping for a squat bench, remember that comfort matters. The bench must be nicely padded to prevent chafing or soreness. However, the padding shouldn’t be too soft. This might feel nice but won’t offer the support needed throughout the exercise.
Without a doubt, the sissy squat is a lower extremity exercise. The good thing with this machine is you can cradle dumbbells in your hands and even a plate across the chest. This will create extra resistance to increase the progressive overload for the muscle leading to greater strength and muscle gain.
Or if you are working with a partner, have them put a barbell across your shoulders. However, most people find that bodyweight is enough to truly gain effective resistance. Focus on strict form during your repetitions and try to take each set to failure while maintaining good form.
The Origins of the Sissy Squat
You are thinking that the term ‘sissy squat’ is a bit odd. Well, it originated in Greek Mythology. A king named Sisyphus betrayed the God Zeus. For his deception, he was tasked with rolling a huge boulder up a hill. Every time he would make it to the top of the hill, the boulder would roll back down. He was supposed to spend an eternity rolling the boulder up the hill. The form and workout that it takes to get the boulder to the top of the hill are remarkably like the modern version of the Sissy Squat.
Benefits of the Sissy Squat
Here are a few of the main benefits of the sissy squat machine:
- Safety: The sissy squat machine is far safer than a traditional leg extension machine. You can lock your feet and calves, so you always have balance. The machine’s cushioned pad protects your legs and knees while holding them at the correct angle. This is a great machine for people who regularly have knee or back pain
- Multifunction: Of all the purchases that you will make for your home gym, the sissy squat machine is the most affordable and multi-functional. Use the machine for sissy squats, pushups, and ab crunches. You can also pair the machine with plates or dumbbells for an even more extreme workout. This gives you variety and variation is the key to results.
- Affordability: Most sissy squat machines will not break the bank, which makes them an immensely popular choice for home gyms. There really aren’t very many durable and well-built pieces of gym equipment that you can buy on a budget for your home gym. However, the sissy machine is very affordable, and it works. It does not make bogus claims like so many unreliable pieces of exercise equipment that enthusiasts bought and threw away within a month because they never worked correctly, or did what they were supposed to do.
- Saves Your Knees: If you have suffered a knee injury, have arthritis in your knees, or chronic pain then you don’t want to overwork the area and cause damage. Luckily with the sissy squat machine, your knees will remain safe. The more your quads develop, the more they can protect your knees.
- Improves Your Quads: If you are looking to improve your quads then the sissy squat is your best choice. All four groups of muscles will receive workout and within a month or two you will start to notice a real difference as your legs strengthen and gain muscle. Many people mistakenly buy the machine because they think it will give them a Kim Kardashian butt, but the sissy squat does not create buttock muscle that way. In fact, you will be better off buying an incumbent bike for all your exercise needs.
Things to Consider When Purchasing a Squat Rack for Your Home Gym
Buying any piece of exercise equipment for your home gym should never be taken lightly. You will want a machine that is going to last and which you will use. How many wannabe fitness enthusiasts have decided to purchase an exercise machine and never used it? Instead, it has become a dust collector sitting in the corner of your office, garage, or gym.
Before you purchase a squat rack, ask yourself if it is something that you will use. Will it enhance your workout? Do you enjoy the exercise? If you have answered, “Yes”, then a squat rack is a wonderful addition to your collection.
Here are a few additional considerations when buying a squat rack:
- Space: Do you honestly have enough space for the squat rack of your dreams? Measure the area where you plan to place your machine to determine if there is enough room. The machines range in size dramatically so you must decide if you want a small, medium, or a large one. Remember, when working out, you do not want to be cramped for space, and the squat rack will probably be the centerpiece of your gym. From there, you can design the rest around it. You need room to move and breathe. Confining yourself to a limited area puts you at an increased risk of suffering an injury or bumping into something.
- Strength: Your squat rack needs to not only hold your weight but also those of any plates or dumbbells that you use while working out. Be sure to pay close attention to the machine’s maximum load capacity. Remember, that the more stable and durable units will hold more weight without worrying about the welds breaking or any bends in the metal.
- Accessories: Some of the machines let you add accessories. How nice is that? Expanding your home gym can become an addiction. You cannot own enough workout equipment. In addition to your belt squat machine, you will want to add j-hooks, dip bars, or plate holders to make it all complete.
How Many Times a Week Should You Use a Squat Press Machine?
Most fitness trainers will say to work out three to four days per week. The reason behind the limited workouts is that between exercises your body needs to repair any damage it sustained and build muscle. The entire process takes 32 to 36 hours following a hard workout so you want to give at least that amount of time before training the same muscle again. If you break down your training split into chest and shoulder, back, legs, and arms, you will hit all the major muscle groups over just four workouts.
Think about it, even while you are sleeping, your body continues to burn fat and build muscle if you have put in sufficient effort into your workout. It’s better to have a short, intense, and focused workout than one that drags on with no intensity. In addition, you will want to focus on your diet and make other healthy changes in your lifestyle. You can also check out our fitness quotes and get your daily dose of inspiration.
Picking the Perfect Machine
The above three choices for squat racks are ideal. However, you might want to also explore other options. When searching for a squat rack, remember that other terms are also used to refer to the popular exercise equipment.
- Squat stand
- Smith machine
- Power cage
- Weight rack
- Pull up bar
- Squat bar
- Power rack
- Dip bar
Have you been looking for a piece of exercise equipment to add to your home gym to your core, legs, and glutes? Well, a squat machine might be the perfect choice.
Purchasing a hack squat machine doesn’t have to be a complicated process. You simply want to find one that has been engineered with durability from quality materials. It should fit your body and accommodate the weight that you require. The machine must also fit the space within your home or office. Remember, you don’t need the biggest model if you are a small person. You can save money by buying a smaller choice. However, if you are a big person then you might want to consider a more moderately priced option that will be able to hold more weight.