V Squats and Hack Squats – Any Real Difference?

Squats are one of the most common workouts because of their enormous physical and mental benefits. As you would expect with an exercise this common, there are many variations, including the hack squat, V squats, …

Squats are one of the most common workouts because of their enormous physical and mental benefits. As you would expect with an exercise this common, there are many variations, including the hack squat, V squats, front squats, Zurcher squats, and many more. This article will delve into V squats and Hack squats to determine if they are different. 

Both V squats and hack squats are machine-based lower-body exercises. They are generally similar, so much so that some weightlifters consider them the same. 

💡 Quick Tip: you are interested in developing your leg muscles, including your quadriceps, glutes, calves, and hamstrings, getting a dedicated squat rack will be beneficial to your progress. With a squat rack, you can safely perform barbell squats from your home to develop your leg muscles. For this purpose, I recommend the rogue sml-2c squat stand because it is affordable and easy to use

Rogue sml-2c squat stand

The Hack Squat

The hack squat is a machined-based exercise that primarily works the quadriceps muscles in your thighs. The machine you use for this exercise gets its name from the workout, demonstrating how important it is. 

When performing the hack squat, you begin on an inclined platform, placing the weights on your shoulders while pressing your back against a pad. The hack squat pad goes down as you squat, letting you press upward and backward to lift the weight.

The hack squat helps you focus on developing your leg as it does away with core engagement, unlike traditional free-weight squats. 

📖 Related Article: If you're enjoying this article you may want to also check out: What is the BB Hack Squat, and What is it For?

The hack squat enjoys a couple of benefits, primarily that it reduces the risk of back injury. The machine supports your back, reducing the strain you put on it as it does not engage your spinal erector muscles. The workout also isolates your quadriceps muscles, helping you sculpt great quads. Likewise, the exercise is safe as the machine provides stability and balance to you as you squat. 

The V Squat

One reason why the V squat is often mistaken for the hack squat is that you typically perform them on the same machine. However, the primary difference between the hack and V squat is the angle you position your feet in.

When performing the V squat, your toes point away from your body at an angle while you shift your feet slightly wider than you would with the hack squat. This results in your feet forming a V-shape and your knees tracking away from your body instead of directly ahead of your body in a straight line.

Because the V  squat allows your knees and hips to track more outward, the squat may be a bit easier and more natural on your joints. Additionally, the exercise does not isolate any specific lower-body muscles as it engages several of them.

Hack Squats and V Squats 

There is not a lot of difference between hack squats and V squats. However, there is enough to differentiate them. For example, hack squats are isolation exercises that target your quadriceps muscles. This makes it suitable for you if you believe you need to give your quads a special boost. 

On the other hand, V squats are less restrictive as they work most of your lower body muscles and not just your quads. As a result, V squats can help you get a more rounded development across your quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. 

This slight difference is largely due to the leg placement while working out. As earlier stated, your toes point away from your body while performing V squats, while they point directly ahead of the body for hack squats. 

This difference in form also affects hip flexion. Because your knees track forward perpendicular to your straight toes during the hack squat, your knees and ankles do most of the work as the form limits your hip flexion. Expectedly, this limitation is absent in V squats because your hip flexion is not as restricted. You can get the Rogue 5mm Knee Sleeve – Pair to support and brace your knees while you perform the hack squat.

Another difference is that you experience less strain on your lower back with the hack squat. The hack squat eliminates your back’s engagement as it engages zero spinal muscles. This means you can perform this exercise if you are recovering from or trying to avoid back pain. On the other hand, V squats engage your lower back, resulting in more stress for the body part. Nevertheless, the stress on your lower back is not as much as you may experience with traditional barbell squats. 

💡 Quick Tip: You want to use machines rather than free weights if you are just starting out, as it helps you with several aspects of the lift, including balance and proper form. Try out the Leverage squat machine to help you develop your legs without worrying about your balance and posture.

Leverage Squat Machine

Other Exercises Like V squats and Hack Squats to Develop Your Legs


Lunges are excellent for targeting several different muscle groups in your lower body at once. It is a common leg-strengthening exercise with several variations to add variety to your workout. The exercise typically works your glutes, hamstring, quadriceps, calves, and obliques. Because of the force on the legs while lunging, it is advisable to use proper workout shoes. We recommend the Nobull Crossfit Trainer+ as it is comfortable and will protect your feet.

Leg Press

Leg presses are seated exercises that you perform on a leg press machine. It is the machine equivalent of squats and allows you to focus on your leg muscles as the machine supports your back and hands. Leg presses target muscle groups across your lower body, including your hamstrings, quadriceps, and glutes. Using the leg press machine naturally means your stabilizer muscles are limited as the machine supports you.

Leg Extension

Leg extensions are isolation exercises commonly done with a cable or weighted lever machine. The exercise generally works your quadriceps and is essential to developing a bigger lower body. The Reflex Leg Curl/Leg Extension machine should be your go-to pick as it is relatively affordable and easy to use.

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