Is Hack Squat Safe For Lower Back?

Is Hack Squat Safe For Lower Back_

If you're into hack squats, you might have heard some people say that they're bad for your lower back.

But is that really true? Or are they just being back-stabbers? (Sorry, I couldn't help myself.)

Hack squats are a type of exercise done on a hack squat machine that allow you to target your quads, glutes and hamstrings. They're also easier on your upper back and neck, since you don't have to hold a barbell on your back.

But what about your lower back — do hack squats put too much pressure on your lumbar spine and cause pain or injury?

Well, the answer is not so simple. It depends on a lot of factors, such as your technique, your weight selection, your frequency, and your individual anatomy and history.

hack squat

Pain Is Complex

First of all, pain is not just a physical sensation. It's also influenced by your emotions, beliefs, expectations, and context. Pain can be your body's way of telling you that something is wrong, but it doesn't always mean that there's actual damage or harm.

For example, if you step on a rock with your bare foot, you'll feel pain and pull your foot away. That's a good thing, because it prevents you from harming your foot further.

But if you have chronic pain, such as sciatica or herniated disc, you might feel pain even when there's no obvious cause or threat. That's not so good, because it interferes with your quality of life and well-being.

As it relates to exercise, pain is often from doing too much of a movement (overloading) before your tissues have adapted to the exercise. Overloading is not necessarily bad, because it stimulates your muscles, bones, tendons, and ligaments to grow stronger and more resilient. But if you overload too much or too often, without enough recovery time, you might experience pain.

Back Pain on Hack Squats? Try This.

If you have back pain on any squat variation, it doesn’t mean that you have to stop doing that exercise altogether. It may just mean that you have to adjust the weight, sets, and/or frequency of squatting-related exercises in your training week.

Monitor your symptoms, then increase the workload when your back pain improves.

Of course, this also depends on how serious and persistent your pain is. If you have intense or chronic pain that lasts for more than a few days or weeks, or if you have signs of infection or injury (such as swelling, redness, fever, or bruising), you should consult a doctor or physiotherapist for a proper diagnosis and treatment.

But if you have mild or moderate pain that varies with exercise, you might be able to manage it yourself with some simple strategies:

  • Warm up properly before each workout. Do some dynamic stretches and mobility drills to lubricate your joints and warm up your muscles for the main exercises.
  • Start with lighter weights and higher reps. Start with the empty machine, then gradually increase the weight and lower the reps as you feel more comfortable and confident.
  • Reduce your range of motion. If the lower part of your hack squats cause you back pain even with lighter weights, you can shorten the range of motion to ¾ or ½ of the full version. As your back pain eases, reintroduce more range of motion.
  • Vary your squat stance and foot position. Experiment with different widths and angles to find what works best for you. Some people prefer a wider stance with their feet pointing forward, while others prefer a narrower stance with their feet turned out slightly.

Rest and recover between workouts. Give yourself at least 48 hours of rest before doing another squat session. Use this time to do some low-impact activities (such as walking, cycling, swimming) or some gentle stretching and massage to improve blood flow and reduce stiffness.

Hack Squats Can Be GOOD For Your Back

When done with appropriate weight and intensity, hack squats can actually be beneficial for your back because they’ll strengthen your lower back muscles, spinal discs, and supporting ligaments to better prepare you for the daily physical demands of life.

Hack Squat Final Thoughts

Hack squats are not bad for your knees, as long as you load and increase them sensibly. They can actually help you build stronger and healthier knees that can handle any challenge.

Just always remember to listen to your body, adjust your training accordingly, and seek professional help if needed!