Anyone who is passionate enough about bodybuilding knows to train the muscles that others can’t see. Oftentimes, this means the lower body, or more specifically, the quads. This large group of muscles is arguably the strongest in the body. Nothing feels quite as satisfying as seeing that tear drop formation because it validates all your efforts. Great quads are earned not given, and the way to earn them is through squats.
No other movement demands as much. The squat tests your very spirit. It dissects your soul to reveal what you are truly made of. Will you cower under the heavy weight, or will you rise above it? You will feel like you are dying as you lower and lift the weight, but after the set, you feel like you are truly alive. The squat is what separates the men from the boys. But which is the better squat, the barbell or the hack?
This squat recruits muscles in the quads, glutes and inner thighs. It can be performed using a barbell or a hack squat machine. The latter will help you increase the load, while the free weight will improve your core stability. It is the easier between the two, and is ideal for correcting any strength imbalances that you may have in your legs, such as with your hamstrings or calves. The hack squat is not very popular, and only serious lifters will include it in their programs.
Barbell squats involve placing a weighted barbell on the shoulders and then squatting with it. A lot of attention is needed when executing the movement especially with your stance, bar placement, as well as the depth of the squat. It recruits all the muscles of the lower body, including the lower back. The back barbell squat is the most popular form of the squat, and is a staple in bodybuilding programs for both the beginners and the professionals.
Is there a clear king?
A quick response would be the barbell squat. It is after all, the more popular between the two. But the truth is, you cannot pick one and disregard the other if you are serious about your fitness goals. Each of these movements has their strengths. The barbell squat is great for size and brute quad strength, but the hack is great for symmetry, for hamstrings and for improving your deadlift.
Your muscles, particularly large ones like those in your legs, need to be consistently challenged. The barbell squat might be doing a fine job of that on its own, but you gain more when you introduce the hack squat into your routine as well. It will balance out the strength in your legs, and recruit more muscle fibers for even greater growth.
When you have both of them in your routine, you will hardly hit a plateau. Such is the effectiveness of this combination, and the results quickly become self-evident.
In bodybuilding, if there is the option of having the best of both worlds, always go for that.
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