V Squat: How to Perform, Benefits & Expert Tips  

a vector image of a man doing a squat. it is the main image to the article "hack squat".

The V squat might not be the most well-known squat variation, but it does have a ton of perks and benefits over other types of squats.  

Moreover, once you know how to perform a V squat correctly, you will have an excellent exercise that you will be able to seamlessly add into your workouts. 

Let’s dive right into it and take a look at how to perform the V squat, the benefits of the V squat, and some expert tips to help you master this exercise.  

What is a V Squat? 

The V squat is a weightlifting exercise performed using a specialized piece of equipment known as the V-squat machine.  

Unlike traditional barbell squats that involve balancing a loaded bar on your shoulders, the V squat machine provides a guided and controlled motion.  

This can be particularly advantageous for those who are new to squatting or who want to minimize the risk of injury. 

V-squat Machine Weight Without Plates 

The V-squat machine itself comes with a certain base weight, typically indicated in the manufacturer’s specifications.  

This base weight serves as the starting point for your V squat exercise.  

Unlike barbell squats where you load plates onto the bar, the V-squat machine allows you to adjust the resistance by adding weight plates to the designated pegs on the machine. 
 

Benefits of V Squats 

Quadriceps Focus: V squats primarily target your quadriceps muscles, helping to develop strong and defined front thighs. 

Guided Motion: The V-squat machine’s design guides your movement, reducing the likelihood of improper form and injury. 

Reduced Spinal Load: Unlike barbell squats that can put significant stress on your spine, the V squat machine allows you to focus on your lower body without straining your back. 

Glute Activation: While the primary focus is on the quads, V squats also engage your glute muscles, contributing to a well-rounded lower body workout. 

How-to V Squat 

Machine Setup: Adjust the machine to your height. Your shoulders should fit comfortably under the shoulder pads, and your feet should be placed shoulder-width apart on the platform. Questions like “hammer strength v-squat machine how to adjust” are incredibly common, so make sure you remember this one.  

Foot Placement: Position your feet with toes slightly pointing outward. This angle can help engage your quadriceps effectively. 

Descent: Lower yourself by bending your knees and hips simultaneously. Ensure that your knees don’t go past your toes to protect your joints. 

Depth: Aim for a 90-degree angle at your knees or slightly below parallel, ensuring your thighs are parallel to the ground or a bit lower. 

Ascent: Push through your heels to return to the starting position, extending your knees and hips. 

Breathing: Inhale as you descend and exhale as you ascend, maintaining a steady breathing rhythm. 

V Squat Muscles Worked 

Quadriceps 

Your quadriceps muscles, located in the front of your thighs, are heavily engaged during the V squat. This exercise can help you build strength and size in this muscle group, contributing to overall leg development. 

Glute Maximus 

While the quadriceps take the spotlight, the glute muscles are also activated during the V squat. This engagement contributes to a more comprehensive lower body workout. 

Comparison With Hack Squat 

What is a Hack Squat? 

Similar to the V squat, the hack squat is a machine-based movement that targets the lower body. The hack squat machine allows you to perform squats with the weight placed behind you, offering a different angle of engagement compared to the V squat. 

Benefits of Hack Squat 

  • Targeted Quad Development: The hack squat is renowned for its emphasis on quadriceps development, making it an ideal choice for those seeking to build strong and well-defined front thighs. 
  • Reduced Back Strain: The weight’s positioning in the hack squat machine places less stress on your spine compared to barbell squats. 
  • Controlled Movement: Like the V squat, the hack squat machine guides your motion, promoting proper form and reducing the risk of injury. 

How-to Hack Squat 

Machine Setup: Adjust the machine to your height. Position yourself so that your back is against the padded support and your shoulders are under the shoulder pads. 

Foot Placement: Position your feet shoulder-width apart on the platform, with toes slightly turned outward. 

Descent: Lower yourself by bending your knees and hips, keeping your back flat against the pad. 

Depth: Aim for a range of motion where your thighs are parallel to the ground or slightly lower. 

Ascent: Push through your heels to extend your knees and hips, returning to the starting position. 

Breathing: Inhale as you descend and exhale as you ascend, maintaining proper breathing throughout the movement. 

Muscles Worked by the V Squat and Hack Squat 

Both the V squat and the hack squat primarily target the quadriceps and glute muscles. However, there are nuances in the way these muscles are engaged during each exercise. 

Muscles Focused on by the V Squat 

The V squat places a significant emphasis on the quadriceps due to its movement pattern and foot positioning. This exercise engages the front thigh muscles effectively, helping you achieve impressive quad development. 

Muscles Focused on by the Hack Squat 

The hack squat, too, heavily targets the quadriceps, making it a go-to exercise for those wanting to build strong and shapely front thighs. The hack squat’s movement angle and guided motion contribute to this muscle group’s activation. 

Technique and Stance Differences of the V Squat and Hack Squat 

Foot Angle and Placement 

In the V squat, your feet are positioned slightly outward, engaging the quadriceps and promoting a more direct focus on the front of your thighs. On the other hand, the hack squat generally involves a neutral foot position, which still targets the quads but with a slightly different emphasis. 

Knee Travel 

During the V squat, your knees might move forward more compared to the hack squat due to the foot angle. This doesn’t necessarily lead to knee strain, but it’s essential to ensure proper alignment to avoid undue stress on your joints. 

Depth and Hip Flexor Utilization 

Both exercises encourage a parallel or slightly below parallel thigh position. The V squat, with its outward-turned feet, may result in a deeper squat and increased hip flexor involvement. The hack squat, with its more neutral foot positioning, might shift the focus slightly away from the hip flexors. 

Mobility Requirements of the V Squat and Hack Squat 

Mobility plays a crucial role in performing both the V squat and the hack squat effectively and safely. 

Hack Squat – Greater Ankle and Knee Mobility 

The hack squat generally requires more ankle and knee mobility due to the machine’s design and the weight’s positioning. Adequate mobility is necessary to achieve proper depth without compromising form. 

V Squat – Greater Pelvis Mobility 

On the other hand, the V squat places a greater demand on pelvis mobility. The outward foot angle and deep squatting position may require a more flexible pelvis to maintain proper form throughout the movement. 

Injury Risk of the V Squat and Hack Squat 

Lower Back Strain 

Improper form or attempting to lift excessive weight can increase the risk of lower back strain. It’s essential to engage your core muscles and maintain a neutral spine throughout the movement. 

Knee Valgus, Strain, and Injury Risk 

Both exercises involve knee flexion and extension. However, allowing your knees to cave inward (knee valgus) during the movement can increase the risk of strain or injury to the knees. Focus on maintaining proper knee alignment. 

Carryover of the V Squat and Hack Squat 

The benefits of the V squat and hack squat extend beyond the gym, influencing your overall lower body strength and performance. 

Tallying it Up – Which Exercise Should be Used? 

Choosing between the V squat and hack squat depends on your goals, preferences, and any existing limitations or mobility issues. 

However, for most people, the hack squat is going to be the more effective option.  

V Squat Workout: Sets And Reps 

When incorporating the V squat into your leg day routine, it’s crucial to structure your sets and reps appropriately.  

For most people, this will mean performing around 8-12 reps for 3-4 sets.  

Make sure you choose a good hammer strength v-squat starting weight when first starting out, something that you feel comfortable with and can maintain good form for at least 8 reps.  

V Squat Drawbacks 

The V Squat Is Not As Functional As The Barbell Squat 

While the V squat offers various benefits, it’s important to note that it might not fully replicate the functional demands of activities requiring free movement. 

The V Squat Gets Easier At The Top Of The Lift 

Due to the machine’s design, some individuals may find that the V squat becomes easier as they approach the top of the lift. This can impact the overall challenge of the exercise. 

V Squat Machine Variations 

Front V Squat 

The front V squat variation involves facing the machine and performing squats. This can place additional emphasis on the quadriceps and provide a unique training stimulus. 

Reverse V Squat 

In the reverse V squat, you face away from the machine and execute squats. This variation targets the glutes and hamstrings more prominently. 

Hack V Squat 

Combining elements of both the hack squat and V squat, the hack V squat provides a hybrid movement that engages the quadriceps and glutes from multiple angles. 

V Squat Alternatives 

Barbell Squat 

The classic barbell squat offers a more functional and compound movement that engages multiple muscle groups simultaneously. 

Leg Press 

The leg press is another machine-based exercise that targets the quadriceps and glutes while providing additional lower back support. 

Weighted Lunges 

Lunges are a versatile exercise that engages the quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings while also enhancing balance and stability. 

V Squat – FAQs 


What Does The V Squat Do? 

The V squat works the entire lower body while protecting the knees and back.  

Is V Squat And Hack Squat The Same? 

No, the V squat and hack squat are not the same.  

The V squat allows for more hip flexion than the hack squat, allowing for a better range of motion and protecting the knees. 

Is V Squat As Good As Regular Squat? 

Yes, the V squat is as good as the regular squat.  

While not quite as effective as the traditional squat for functional strength, it is still an incredibly effective exercise for gaining lower leg size and strength.  

Is Reverse V Squat Good? 

Yes, the reverse V squat is good. 

It is an effective lower body exercise that protects the knees and lower back. 

We hope this article will be of some use to you. 

If you end up incorporating the V squat into your routine, you will have a safe, unique, and efficient exercise in your repertoire that you can reap the benefits from for years to come. 

For more fitness advice, head over to MovingForwards.