The landmine hack squat taps into the benefits of landmine training to perform an exercise that you’d otherwise need a big, bulky machine to do.
As you may be familiar with in the gym, a hack squat is a squat when you’re upright or at an angle and you push the weight away from you while leaning back into the apparatus. In this case, you’ll be leaning back slightly into the landmine setup.
And here’s a demo with more explanation:
1) Securely set up your barbell with a landmine attachment or into a secure spot.
2) Clean the weight up then turn around so you’re looking away from the attachment with the barbell resting on one of your shoulders.
3) Step your feet out so that as you squat down you can come down comfortably while maintaining your shins mostly perpendicular to the ground. (You likely will end up stepping out farther than you thought you would.
4) Squat down.
5) Do all your reps, then switch sides. Or switch sides for your next set.
Why would you do a hack squat anyway when there are tons of other squatting variations? A hack squat is not a necessity of any program, and you for sure could stick with other squatting options. However, it does have its place.
The main difference between a hack squat and a traditional squat is the shins stay more perpendicular to the ground (or platform of the machine). There’s less dorsiflexion, or less of your knees going forward. This makes it a favorable variation for those with knee problems, or who generally find the aggressive dorsiflexion present in squatting to be uncomfortable.
More generally, it provides a different angle for squatting, hitting the leg muscles in a slightly different way.
The landmine aspect of this exercise means the weight feels heavier at the bottom because of, you know, gravity, so it can challenge the lower portion of a squat more. This is true for all landmine squat variations. This varies from the traditional hack squat and mimics the intent of the hack squat better anyway, since the goal is to train the squat at that particular, 90-degree angle with the ankle, knee, and hips.
Just like the regular hack squat, the landmine hack squat doesn’t need to be a main exercise in your program. Most likely, it’s an accessory movement. On days you train the lower body, it can make sense as a second or third squatting movement. This is especially true if you have limited equipment, and therefore limited options for exercises.
As for reps, because it’s an accessory movement, stick to hypertrophy rep ranges and stay away from strength ranges. The exercise is a bit awkward, so it doesn’t make sense to do lower reps. With this in mind, 8-15 reps is a good range. Since the weight has to rest on one side, be sure to even it out on both shoulders.
For more landmine squatting variations check out our article with 8 different landmine squats. Between those you could live off solely landmine exercises and build a great set of tree trunks.
In fact, if living off landmine exercises appeals to you, then check out our brand new program, The Landmine Workout.
The program features dozens of exercises to help you train smart, build muscle, and burn fat… all with nothing but a barbell.