Pro Bodybuilder Says He Does This Squat Variation For A Leaner Waistline

Erin Banks said he recently made some big lower body gains using hack squats to build leg muscles.
Courtesy of Celsius

  • Elite physical athlete Erin Banks says hack squats are a key exercise for her leg workouts.
  • Hack squats focus more on the quads and glutes, instead of using core or back muscles.
  • They can help build leg muscle, but unless you’re a professional bodybuilder, regular squats are fine too.

Bodybuilder Erin Banks isn’t skipping leg day, but she’s skipping popular lower-body exercises like traditional squats and deadlifts.

Instead, the two-time Arnold Men’s Physique winner said he prefers a move called a hack squat to build muscle and definition.

“Leg day is crazy, I’ve grown my legs so much,” he told Insider in an interview about his partnership with fitness drink brand CELSIUS.

Generally, squatting with a weight on your shoulders, in front of your body, or in a squat tumbler stimulates your abs to help you support the weight.

The hack squat redistributes the weight to put more emphasis on the quads and other leg muscles, using a hack squat machine that creates an angle to emphasize the front of the legs.

You can also do the exercise using a barbell. Start with the bar on the floor behind your calves and grab the bar with a wide grip, positioning your body as if you were preparing for a deadlift. Keeping your chest high and your arms at your sides, press your feet into the floor to extend your legs and lift the weight until it’s just under your buttocks.

Along with other exercises targeting the glutes and hamstrings, Banks said hack squats help him sculpt leg muscles for an elite physique.

Hack squats can help isolate lower body muscles for better gains

Banks said he prefers hack squats because they focus more on the quads and glutes and put less strain on the core and back. As a result, it is able to retain a smaller midsection, which is ideal for physical competitions that reward the quintessential V-shape with broad shoulders and a small waist.

“I don’t really do squats or deadlifts because it compresses the waist and you have to sculpt your body in a different way,” he said.

A typical daytime leg routine for Banks involves exercises that isolate lower body muscles, including extended hamstring curls, hack squats, leg presses, walking lunges, and lunge movements. the adductors (inner thigh muscle). Workouts typically consist of four sets of around 15 reps to build muscle, he said.

For people who don’t partake in professional weight training, there’s no reason to avoid traditional squats because the extra core work is more of a bonus than a side effect, personal trainers previously told Insider. . Squats, along with deadlifts, are compound exercises that work multiple muscle groups at once, helping you get more bang for your buck on your fitness journey.

And if you want to get a six-pack, nutrition is more important than the type of exercises you do.

“To get abs, people think they have to go to the gym and do abdominal exercises. But if your food isn’t right, you’ll never have abs like me,” Banks said.

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