The Most Overlooked Quad-Building Exercise

The Most Overlooked Quad-Building Exercise

No fancy machines at your gym?

You can still build some big legs without all the latest innovations in exercise equipment.


One of the most overlooked quad-building exercises is the barbell hack squat.


I’m sure that you’ve heard many of the greats like Tom Platz and Dorian Yates talk about doing hack squats – but often times they were referring to machines. We’re not going to talk about hack squat machines, but hack squats with a barbell – so you can do them at any gym.


Simply stated, they look very much like a conventional deadlift that is performed with the barbell behind the legs instead of in front of the legs.


The starting position for the feet is about the same as the conventional deadlift, your heels should be almost directly below your hips (a good way to get to this position is to pretend as if you’re about to jump, your body will tell you where your feet should be), and your toes should be mostly pointing forward. You’ll grip the bar just outside the legs with both of your hands in the overhand position – no fancy grips here, just grab it. The bar should be touching the backs of your legs, make sure that your arms are straight, and your back is tight. Pull the slack out of the bar and then pull just like you would a normal deadlift, except this time you’ll be focusing on extending your legs for the majority of the lift instead of locking out your back (you still should lock out at the top). As you bring the bar back to the floor, be careful not to drop it on your lower legs, this could cause a very serious injury, so control the weight on the way up AND on the way down.


Just like every barbell lift, it’s very important to maintain tight form – otherwise you’ll be risking injury.


Include the barbell hack squat in your next leg day routine for 3 sets of 10-12 reps and your quads will be begging for mercy, I promise.