V Squat vs Hack Squat: What’s the Difference?
If you’re looking for an exercise to isolate your quadriceps and develop stronger thighs, consider squats a close, frequently-visited friend of leg day. And just as squats come in all shapes and sizes, there are plenty of ways to remix the sit-down, stand-up motion of the standard squat.
except bodyweight squatsThe V squat and hack squat are two popular variations for gym goers looking to build powerful quadriceps. While the two exercises follow a similar pattern, understanding the key to comparing them can help you decide which is best for upping your quad game.
Here, we highlight the similarities and differences between them, as well as how to choose between them the next time you hit the mat area at your health club of choice.
V Squat vs Hack Squat: Key Similarities
Leg day has several different workout variations for different lower body muscle groups: glutes, hamstrings, quads, etc. But doing things the same way every time can get boring. The next time you’re staring at the machines in the leg section of your gym and thinking of something new to try, a V squat machine or hack squat machine may have caught your eye. If you don’t know much about either, they can seem quite challenging – but it helps to hone both moves and they can get you burned.
So what is the hack squat? And what is a V squat? Both of these traditional squat variations can make your quads feel like they’re on fire.
Besides the ability to burn the quad muscle group, the V squat and the hack squat have several important similarities:
- target muscle groups – Both V and hack squats effectively isolate the quadriceps muscles to effectively work and develop them. These twists on the traditional squat reduce the role of other muscle groups in the lift, such as the back and hips, to concentrate the load on your quads.1
- use of machines Both V and hack squats can be performed using specially designed machines to assist during the exercise. While V squats have a machine designed just for them, they can also be performed on a hack squat machine using an altered stance.2 Using machines also means less worry and effort will go into balancing and stabilizing the weight you’re running.3 Thus, more energy is released from the targeted muscle (quadriceps).
- theorem muscles worked – While modern machinery does its best to activate anything but the target muscles, no body part works in a vacuum. Expect to get your calves, lower back and hamstrings at least a little with these squat variations.4
- range of motion – They don’t follow the same movement patterns, but both the V and the hack squat move your body through a similar range of motion. Standard squats should adequately prepare you for the movements you’ll perform during these altered versions.
- work and rest – The amount of squats to pop is the same for both the V and Hack varieties. If you’re aiming to increase muscle size and get stronger, aim for 3 to 5 sets of about 10 repetitions, resting 1 to 2 minutes between them. If you’re trying to purely build strength, add weight and do 5 reps max for the same set, doubling the rest in between.5
Hack Squat vs V Squat: Key Differences
While these two squats may look similar from the gym room floor, when you zoom in and dissect hack and V squats it becomes clear that they differ in more than just their names.
Several formal and technical factors differentiate the V squat and the hack squat, including:
- type of equipment – As mentioned earlier, V squats can be performed on a hack squat machine. However, there’s also a specific piece of equipment best suited for the task: a hack squat machine with a backrest and pads at about 45° that rest on your shoulders. The weight is pushed up and down the angled track in a straight line as you sit on it. Not to mention that there are also different V squat and hack squat variations, such as the barbell squat, that can come in handy if the machine is in use.
The AV squat machine, on the other hand, pivots and folds around a center point. The backrest and pad remain, but you’re pushed outward in a more parabolic motion (rather than your back moving in a straight line).5 Your spine should be straight with any equipment, regardless of the path it’s on.
- currency – When doing a V squat on a hack squat machine, the main difference comes down to stance. During a regular hack squat, your feet should be mostly aligned with your shoulders, with your toes pointing slightly outward.6
During the V squat, you should widen your stance past tense Your shoulders are forming an inverted V shape with your legs. Additionally, you should be placing your feet at a greater angle, forming another “V”. with your trunk.2
- target secondary muscles The muscles worked by each squat variation is also an important difference between the two. The hack squat is a go-to to get your quads fired and your legs shaking. It was designed with the intention of maximizing resistance and strengthening these powerful leg muscles.
The V squat variant, however, targets the glutes as well as the quads.5 The wide stance of the V squat reduces the load carried by the quads, distributing weight more evenly throughout the leg muscles than a standard hack squat.2
- route of movement While the hack squat follows a straight line, the V squat moves your body towards an arc. Differences in muscle employment aside, how it feels to execute each motion will be unique to your body.
- weight used While the two movements are similar, the exact muscles they target differ—and the weight you should be lifting with each exercise should be different as well. Experiment with different weights to see what feels both comfortable and challenging for each exercise separately. Just be sure to go down first and build up to reduce your risk of injury.
Proper V squat form has a varying amount of separation between the hack and the V squat, just like your legs; Certainly enough variation to classify them as separate exercises.
If your gym has both options, it’s your job to decide which one will be a beautiful addition to your current fitness routine.
How to Choose Between the V Squat and the Hack Squat
You may have questions when deciding whether to add new exercises to your routine. participate in exercise classes Or asking personal trainers are great ways to dispel any uncertainty about unfamiliar moves.
If you’re trying to choose between V and hack squats, considering the following factors can help you decide:
- fitness goals Which muscles are you trying to develop and strengthen the most? Are you trying to target just your quads and build them up as much as possible? Or do you want to tone your legs overall?
Hack squats are ideal for isolating your quadriceps and giving them the maximum possible stress. Alternatively, if you want to get more of your lower body into action, try widening the V squat to put more stress on the muscles of your other leg.
- physical ability – People with joint or mobility problems may find the position or movement of one of these more difficult than the other. If you feel that one is more suitable than the other against your capabilities, then this is the right choice for you.
- muscle fatigue – If you just got rid of a strenuous quad routine a few days ago, tackling them again with hack squats might not be the best idea. Alternatively, if the upper thighs are feeling great but the rest of your legs are a little slack, place those feet shoulder-width apart to get the quadriceps firing. Read your body, evaluate how you feel on any given day, and decide which exercises are right for you.
- personal preference – The range of motion of the V squat can play havoc with your body and your range of flexibility. Conversely, maybe the hack squat feels more natural to you. If one or the other is exceptional, there’s no contest winner in terms of how it makes you feel, consider it your new go-to.
Regardless of which squat you gravitate toward, you’ll see optimal results when you regularly practice your chosen style (or both, if you’re into sports). A committed workout routine promises the highest, most observable yields in both strength and power. hypertrophy—The physiological process of accelerating muscle growth.1 Once you’ve decided on one (or both) of these effective squat variations, it’s time to hit the fitness floor and put that theory to the test.
Hold On—Your Gym Doesn’t Have a V Squat either A hack squat machine? Maybe it’s time to search”gym near meAnd somewhere new to train the chicks.
Choose exceptional squatting features with Choose Fitness
It doesn’t matter if you’re perfecting your take on the classics or looking to weave something new into your workout routine. For the amount of sweat you make during your gym time, fitness should be as enjoyable as it is physically rewarding.
If you are a fitness enthusiast from California, Arizona, Colorado, or New Mexico, chuz fitness wants to provide you with that gratifying, versatile workout experience. Our fully loaded fitness facilities are equipped with modern, high quality equipment suitable for any style of workout – and any style of squat.
Whether you’re doing V squats, hack squats, or not squatting at all, our expert trainers and iChuze The fitness app offers a wide selection of videos with exercises to enhance your repertoire. When you’re ready to sign up, we’ll be on hand to help you meet your fitness goals.
Annie Chuze is the Vice President of Fitness at Fitness and oversees the Group Fitness and Team Training departments. He has a 25+ year career in club management, personal training, group exercise and coach training. Annie lives in San Diego, CA with her husband and son and enjoys hot yoga, snowboarding, and all things cool.
- men’s Health. Want Monster Quads? Time to learn the hack squat. https://www.menshealth.com/fitness/a28133625/hack-squat/
- Your Workout Book. Hack Squats vs V Squats: What’s the Difference?. https://www.yourworkoutbook.com/hack-squats-vs-v-squats/
- University of Delaware. Free Weight Vs. Machines: How Should You Choose? https://sites.udel.edu/coe-engex/2018/04/03/free-weights-vs-machines-how-should-you-choose/
- Muscle and power. Machine Hack Squat Video Exercise Guide. https://www.muscleandstrength.com/exercises/hack-squat.html
- Blackridge Fitness, V Squat Guide: How To, Muscles Worked, Alternatives & More. https://www.blackridgefitness.com/v-squat-guide/
- Inspire Us Foundation. The Hack Squat: 4 benefits, muscles used, and more. https://www.inspireusafoundation.org/the-hack-squat/