I seem to not be able to do that much weight on the hack squat compared to the leg press (which makes me believe that it is a good exercise). Now I've been doing squats (at a lite weight) and well, my hips are disproportionate. I have one foot slightly longer than the other, and one leg a tad longer than the other. So when doing squats it kinda hurts my knees (they start to pop really bad, and I keep getting weird bruises on them). I'm starting to reconsider doing squats and just replacing it with the hack squat machine (since I don't really have a problem when using it).
What is everybody's opinion on the hack squat? Is it solely a quad exercise or does it work the hamstrings too?
A real hack squat is done with a barbell. I think you should continue to work on your free squats. If one leg is longer than the other, that is a legitimate issue which can be addressed by raising one of your shoes.
I wouldn't give up just yet on your squats. Knee pain is almost always caused by form issues (stance width, toe direction, knee tracking, not getting hips back, knees too far forward). Check out Mark Rippetoe's "Starting Strength". He explains all this in his book. My knees crackle and pop horribly and used to hurt all the time when i would squat. Got my form together and I feel absolutely nothing in my knees anymore when I squat. Also, for crooked hips, you can either see a chiropractor to help straighten things out or if that is not an option you can adjust your form to accommodate your needs (one foot may need to point differently, or stance may need to be adjusted on one side, etc.). Also, leg press is actually worse on your hips than squatting seeing that there is no way they can go back and instead wind up getting pulled up away from your sacrum.
32 yo - 5'6" - 170 lbs
USAPL Meet PRs (Raw @154 lbs): 347 SQ, 242 BP, 507 DL, 1096 TOTAL
Gym PRs: 370 SQ, 270 BP, 510 DL
The Riddle Of Iron - Kiaran's Garage Training Log
^^^ What he said. Go to a chiro. One visit should be able to make your legs the same length. That's actually a common thing, happens to me all the time. Keep free weight squatting.
Give chalk a chance.
49 years old
It is a good exercise which you can utilize along with free squatting. Hits the quads more than the hamstrings depending somewhat on foot placement.
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Just get under the bar!
Thanks guys. I think I'll keep squats, but I'm not going to do a whole lot of weight with them. Keep it at around 155lbs and just go for perfect form at high reps. And then I'll go heavy on the hack squat.