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Lower Back Pain From Hack Squats? (Causes & How To Fix It!)

Hack squats are an awesome squat variation that focus on the quads. But some people get lower back pain from hack squats.

In this article, we look at why hack squats can hurt your lower back, how to reduce back pain when doing hack squats, and more.

Man and woman with lower back pain holding their lower backs

Why Does Hack Squat Hurt My Lower Back?

Lower back pain after hack squats is usually caused by two common reasons:

  • Weak lower back muscles
  • Incorrect placement on the machine

While hack squats don’t work your lower back, it can still feel like it’s been working hard if it’s particularly weak.

If other muscle groups being used during hack squats are a lot stronger than your lower back, this can cause discomfort in the lower back muscles as they struggle to keep up with the effort required.

The hack squat machine does a great job at ensuring your technique is as close to perfect as possible during the exercise.

That isn’t to say it’s impossible to get hurt though.

If you position yourself incorrectly on the machine, this can lead to pain, discomfort, and possibly injury in areas where you shouldn’t be feeling it – like in your lower back.

How To Reduce Lower Back Pain From Hack Squats

The best way to avoid back pain from hack squats is to ensure your technique is correct.

Even a small error in the technique can result in pain, discomfort, or even injury, so lots of care needs to be taken.

It’s also important to be realistic with the amount of weight you’re trying to lift.

Obviously, you’ll likely want to build strength in your legs by doing hack squats, but this needs to be built gradually by progressively increasing the amount of weight you are lifting.

Putting too much weight on the machine too soon can result in pain in your back.

Are Hack Squats Bad For Your Lower Back?

Woman doing a hack squat in a gym

Hack squats offer lots of support for your upper body, making them a safe exercise for your lower back.

As the machine forces you to stay in the correct position, your technique should be almost perfect with every rep.

The fact that the hack squat machine enforces good technique, supports your upper body, and keeps you stable throughout means that hack squats could be seen as being good for your back.

Are Reverse Hack Squats Bad For Your Back?

Reverse hack squats are performed facing the machine, as opposed to having your back against the back of it.

This brings your back into the exercise more than the standard hack squat, but it’s still put under less stress than from a normal squat.

Reverse hack squats are a good way of bringing in more leg and back muscles to the hack squat movement.

Are Barbell Hack Squats Bad For Your Back?

Most squat variations involve supporting weight on your upper body, which can put lots of stress on your back.

Barbell hack squats are an exception to this as the weight is held behind your lower body. This puts minimal pressure on your back.

Barbell hack squats are a great exercise for building strong leg muscles without putting added stress on your back. 


In summary:

  • Hack squats can cause lower back pain if you have weak back muscles or if you position yourself incorrectly on the hack squat machine.
  • To reduce lower back pain from hack squats, you should use the correct technique and lift a suitable weight that doesn’t put your back under too much stress.
  • Reverse and barbell hack squats are both back-friendly variations to standard hack squats.

That’s all for this article, but why is hack squat so hard? Or perhaps you’re interested in reverse hack squat vs hack squat?

Hope this helped!


Squats and Back Pain