V Squat vs Hack Squat: What’s the Difference?

V Squat vs Hack Squat: What’s the Difference?

If you’re looking for an exercise to isolate your quadriceps and develop strong thighs, then consider squats a close, often seen friend of leg day. And just as friends come in all shapes and sizes, there are many ways to remix the sit-down, stand-up motion of the standard squat.

In addition to Body weight squats, the V squat and the hack squat are two popular variations that gym-goers want to build strong quadriceps. Although the two exercises follow a similar pattern, understanding the basics of how they compare can help you decide which one is best for improving your quad game.

Here, we highlight the similarities and differences between them, along with how to choose between them the next time you hit the mat at your favorite health club.

V Squat vs Hack Squat: Key Similarities

Leg day consists of different exercise variations for different lower body muscle groups: glutes, hamstrings, quads, etc. But doing the same thing every time can get boring. The next time you’re looking at the machines in the leg section of your gym and thinking about trying something new, perhaps a V squat machine or a hack squat machine will catch your eye. If you don’t know much about either, they can seem fairly intimidating—but it helps to respect both steps and the burn they can give you.

So what is a hack squat? And what is a V squat? Both of these traditional squat variations can leave your quads feeling on fire.

Besides the potential to burn the quad muscle group, the V squat and hack squat have several key similarities:

  • Target muscle groups – Both V and Hack Squats effectively isolate the quadriceps muscles to allow them to function optimally and develop them. These bends in the conventional squat minimize 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 the machine – 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 a modified position.2 Using machines means less worry and effort will go into balancing and stabilizing your moving weight.3 Thus, more force is exerted from the target muscle (quadriceps).
  • Corollary muscle worked – Although modern equipment does its best to eliminate activating anything other than the target muscle, no part of the body works in a vacuum. Expect your calves, lower back, and hamstrings to go at least a little with any of these squat variations.4
  • Speed ​​range – They don’t follow identical movements, but both V and hack squats carry your body through the same motion path. Standard squats should adequately prepare you for the movements you’ll perform during these modified versions.
  • work and rest – The amount of squat to pop is the same for both V and Hack types. If you’re aiming to build muscle and get stronger, aim for 3 to 5 sets of about 10 repetitions with 1 to 2 minutes of rest between them. If you’re just trying to build strength, add weight and do 5 reps max for the same set and double the rest in between.5

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Hack Squat vs V Squat: Major Differences

While these two squats may look similar across the gym floor, when you zoom in and dissect hack and V squats it’s clear that they’re different than just their names.

Several formal and technical factors distinguish the V squat and the hack squat, including:

  • Type of equipment – As previously mentioned, V squats can be performed on the hack squat machine. However, there is also a specific piece of equipment suitable for the job: a hack squat machine with a backrest and pads resting on your shoulders at about a 45° angle. As you squat on it, the weight is pushed up and down the angled track in a straight line. Not to mention that there are various V squats and hack squat variations, such as the barbell squat, which can probably come in handy if a machine is used.

The AV squat machine, on the other hand, pivots and folds around a center point. The backrest and pads remain, but you are pushed outward in a parabolic motion (instead of moving your back in a straight line).5 Your spine should remain upright with any tool, regardless of the path it takes.

  • location – When performing a V squat on a hack squat machine, the key difference comes down to position. When doing a regular hack squat, your legs should be mostly in line with your shoulders, with your feet pointing slightly outward.6

During a V squat, you should widen your stance the past With your shoulders, make an upside-down V shape with your legs. Additionally, your feet should be placed at a more acute angle, creating another “V”. With your trunk.2

  • Secondary muscle targets – The muscles worked by each squat variation is also a key difference between the two. Hack squats are a go-to for firing up your quads and shaking your legs. It was designed to maximize resistance and exercise these powerful leg muscles.

The V squat variant, however, targets the glutes and quads.5 The wide stance of the V squat minimizes the load carried by the quads, distributing the weight more evenly throughout the leg muscles than a standard hack squat.2

  • Movement path – While the hack squat follows a straight line, the V squat takes your body into a more arc. Aside from differences in muscle employment, how each movement feels to execute will be unique to your body.
  • Weight used – Although the two movements are similar, the muscles they engage are different—and so you should understand your carry-on with each exercise. Experiment with different weights to see what feels comfortable and challenging for each exercise separately. Be sure to go down first to reduce the risk of injury.

Much like your legs in proper V squat shape, the hack and V squat have a fair amount of separation between them; Certainly enough variation to classify them as distinct exercises.

If both are an option at your gym, then your job is to decide which one will make a good addition to your current fitness routine.

How to choose between V squats and hack squats

You may have questions when deciding to incorporate new exercises into your routine. present Fitness class Or asking personal trainers is a great way to sort out 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 just targeting your quads and trying to build them as much as possible? Or do you want to completely tone up your legs?

Hack squats are ideal for isolating your quadriceps and giving them the maximum strain possible. Alternatively, if you want to work your lower body more, widen into a V squat to put more stress on other muscles in your legs.

  • physical ability – People with joint or mobility problems may find both different positions or motions more difficult than the other. If you find that one suits your abilities better than the other, then this is the right choice for you.
  • muscle fatigue – If you finished a tough quad routine a few days ago, it might not be the best idea to tackle them again with hack squats. Alternatively, if the upper thighs feel great but the rest of your legs are a little sluggish, place those feet shoulder-width apart to get the quadriceps firing. Read your body, assess how you feel on a given day and decide which exercise is right for you.
  • own choice – The range of motion of the V squat can fluctuate with your body and your range of flexibility. Conversely, perhaps the hack squat feels more natural to you. If one or the other is a standout, uncontested winner for how it makes you feel, consider it your new go-to.

Regardless of which squat you gravitate towards, you’ll see the best results when you practice your chosen style (or both, if you play) regularly. A committed workout routine promises the highest, most observable yields in both strength and endurance Hypertrophy-Physiological process of 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 test that theory.

Hold on—you don’t have V squats at the gym or A hack squat machine? Maybe it’s time to search.”gym near me” and choose to train somewhere new.

Choose exceptional squatting facilities with Choose Fitness

It doesn’t matter if you’re perfecting your take on the classics or want to weave something brand new into your workout routine. For all the sweat you break during your gym sessions, fitness should be as enjoyable as it is physically rewarding.

If you are a fitness enthusiast from California, Arizona, Colorado or New Mexico, Choose Fitness Wants to give you that fun, versatile workout experience. Our fully stocked fitness facilities are equipped with modern, high-quality equipment perfect for any style of workout—and any style of squat.

Whether you’re V squatting, hack squatting, or not squatting at all, our expert trainers and Ichuz The fitness app offers a wide selection of videos with exercises to improve your repertoire. When you’re ready to sign up, we’re here to help you conquer your fitness goals.

Reviewed by:

Ani is Vice President of Fitness at Chuz Fitness and oversees the Group Fitness and Team Training departments. He had a 25+ year career in club management, personal training, group exercise and instructor training. Annie lives in San Diego, CA with her husband and son and loves hot yoga, snowboarding and all things wellness.


  1. Men’s Health. Want Monster Quads? Time to learn the hack squat. https://www.menshealth.com/fitness/a28133625/hack-squat/
  2. Your workout book. Hack Squats vs. V Squats: What’s the Difference?. https://www.yourworkoutbook.com/hack-squats-vs-v-squats/
  3. University of Delaware. Free weight vs. Machine: How should you choose? https://sites.udel.edu/coe-engex/2018/04/03/free-weights-vs-machines-how-should-you-choose/
  4. Muscle and strength. Machine Hack Squat Video Exercise Guide. https://www.muscleandstrength.com/exercises/hack-squat.html
  5. Blackridge Fitness. The V Squat Guide: How To, Muscles Worked, Alternatives & More. https://www.blackridgefitness.com/v-squat-guide/
  6. Inspire our foundation. Hack Squat: 4 Benefits, Muscles Used & More https://www.inspireusafoundation.org/the-hack-squat/

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