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Barbell Hack Squats for Mass
Hack into Squatting
Want to work your thighs without overloading your glutes? Some people have glutes that grow readily and donít want to push them to get too big. It is true that regular squatting involves the glutes as much as the quads. In fact Vince Gironda advocated avoiding the regular squat. How can you build up your thigh muscles while working around the glutes? There are a couple of exercises that allow you to direct your training to the thighs while keeping glute action to virtually nil.
The sissy squat was the exercise that Vince Gironda touted the most. This move is unique in that you kick your hips forward instead of backward during the movement. By doing this you place the total workload on the thighs, and the glutes donít do anything at all. To further help the focus onto the thighs, Gironda had his trainees put their heels on a high block - as high as 4 inches, then squat down while projecting the thighs forward and outward. Of course to do this with a weight load the bar has to be across the front of the shoulders as in a front squat position.
If it is still hard to visualize you can check it out on youtube under the sissy squat tag. Some people use a dumbbell or hold a large plate at chest level while they squat.
The other premiere exercise for isolating the thigh muscles and avoiding glute involvement is the hack squat. The hack squat is the perfect tool because it allows you to use heavy weight loads. The sissy squat doesnít allow you to put on as heavy a weight load as does the hack squat. With the hack squat you can generate much more muscle recruitment and with an extreme workload. Simply load the hack squat machine up and squat away. The design of the machine helps direct the action onto the thighs and relaxes the glutes. Work up to using substantial weight loads with the hack squat by increasing the weight load each workout.
You can also add even more pressure to the thighs be performing some hack squats in a non-lock fashion - donít go all the way up and donít to all the way down. Stop an inch or two short at each end and you will really fire up the quads.
If you really want to set your thighs on fire, perform five sets of hack squats (after an initial warm up set or two) and then follow up quickly with four sets of sissy squats. Perform this workout 1-2 times a week.