When it comes to leg muscles, the old debate is still going on – whether it’s better to do hack squats or leg presses. Well, seeing as it’s gone on long enough, let’s try to resolve this question. Which of these exercises is better at training the inner thigh, also known as the teardrop?
Hack squats are exercises that hit multiple joints in the legs and utilize all of the major muscle groups at the same time. This is really necessary as the legs are comprised of a great number of muscles, so multi-joint moves need to make up the majority of your leg workout and the hack squat is perfect for that since it works on all of the major muscles. Working on some muscles more than others is determined by foot placement, so be careful how you place your feet depending on what you want to emphasize.
When you start the movement, make sure your torso is tucked well under the shoulder pads and then put pressure on your lower back so it goes into the back pad. This will make certain that you are supported throughout your entire body, from your head to the end of your spine. When you go down, make sure to have your knees in line, tracking over your feet. When you go up, don’t just bounce upwards with no control – instead, try to smoothly rise and then rush upwards when you’ve established control. During the entire move your feet should remain solid on the platform and your abdominal muscles tightened to hold your balance.
On the other hand, we have leg presses. Even though squatting seems like everyone’s number one exercise these days and the absolute winner in all leg exercise discussions, leg presses are almost as beloved, with their intense influence on the lower body muscles which will help you grow them as big and as strong as possible.
Much like the hack squats, the leg presses trigger the quadriceps muscles on your legs, but they also activate the hamstrings. Leg presses touch upon the glutes as well, but they don’t fully work them because of the lack of full-hip extensions which are impossible to achieve when your body is bent into a 90 degree shape. This limits the body’s influence on the upper hamstrings and glutes when compared to squatting or hack squatting, to an extent. However, when you do leg presses you are only working the lower body muscles and your upper body is a little bit more relaxed than with the hack squats. This helps your mind-muscle link to grow stronger and as it does, your concentration soars as well.
The clear winner is the leg press. There are scientific studies that show the leg press as the single best exercise to activate the inner quadriceps, also known as the vastus medialis. When you take your position for a leg press, your hips are positioned at 90 degrees as you complete each rep. While this does inhibit the involvement of your hamstrings and glutes, it does accent your quadriceps more than the typical hack squat.
The research further showed that when it came to quadriceps involvement, it didn’t matter how far apart you positioned your legs – the impact on the vastus medialis would still be much bigger than that of the hack squat. Also, this muscle received a majority of the attention when people did leg presses, in comparison to the other leg muscles. However, the hack squat is not to be underestimated as well, as it is much better at targeting the vastus lateralis, the outer sweep of the upper legs. This is also incredibly important in developing strong, big and functional legs. When you want to do hack squats more efficiently than other times (which should be always!) position your feet about 12 inches apart before beginning. A standard shoulder-width will do as well, but this way is much better.
So there you have it, the leg press has been scientifically proven to be much more effective than the hack squat. You need both exercises in order to create the ideal pair of legs, so don’t neglect any of them – they’re both awesome.