French Fitness Hack Squat Leg Press Machine Review

French Fitness Hack Squat Leg Press Machine

In true French Fitness form, their latest offering gives you the best of both worlds. This plate-loaded hack squat leg press combination places less strain on your back compared to traditional squats.

You can worry less about stabilization and spinal loading. And, focus more on good form and muscle targeting.

The machine gives you muscle gains and other benefits of weight loading, allowing you to concentrate the burn on your glutes and quads. It also caters for the perfect set of biomechanical movements.

As a result, you’ll optimize your workouts and get some great options for leg day. With that said, let’s take a look at the French Fitness Hack Squat Leg Press Machine.

Design features

Looking at multi-purpose machines, you need to keep in mind that they should meet the same standards as single-purpose machines would. All in all, this compact machine seems to check the boxes.

Multi-position locking

The machine consists of a dual-purpose back pad. This can be fixed along either upper or lower support platforms to allow for the hack squat or leg press positions respectively.

The following two images illustrate this nicely:

Hack Squat position

 

Leg Press Position

It must be noted that, after a quick look at the manual, it seems this backrest pad is bolted down. So, you’ll need to do some planning in between sets if you’re aiming to do both types of exercise.

There are three M8 bolts you would need to torque. Realistically, we’re looking at about 60 seconds to easily convert between positions.

Adjustable platforms

Back padding support

The angle of both the upper and lower platforms can be quickly adjusted by pulling the pin shaft. This allows for a wide range of muscle targeting.

With the efficient slide motion of the rubber rollers on the sliding frame, you can pump out high-rep workouts with challenging weight ranges.

It’s much easier to find your groove and rhythm when doing biomechanical movements than when you’re focused on stability and form during free squats.

Leg press plate - upper platform

Spring-loaded lockout bars

Running parallel to the 45-degree upper support frame on each side of the machine is a spring-loaded raised bar. When rotated, there are safety nubs to catch on the custom slots on the sliding frame.

This allows you to control the upper and lower bounds of your squat or press range. The bar is conveniently accessible from either the squat hack or leg press position.

There is also a clever prong connecting to the upper cross-member which will limit the rotation axis to ensure simple locking.

French Fitness Hack Squat Leg Press Prong

Good padding

In general, it’s a personal peeve for us when finer details are left off an otherwise good piece of home gym equipment. In many cases, we’ve been left disappointed with leg press machines that do not offer adequate cushioning for lumbar support.

We’ve also noticed this complaint on many reviews on Amazon. When the cushioning is inadequate, the padding wears out quicker. As a result, it inevitably becomes the first thing that needs maintenance.

Luckily, this is not the case with this product. The black color padding on the backrest, shoulder pads, and the seat is thick with good seam finishes.

This is backed up by an above-the-usual standard 10-year warranty.

French Fitness usually has molded foam padding options available for their products. However, it doesn’t seem to be available on this product.

Seat padding

French Fitness Hack Squat Leg Press – features summary

  • Hack squat position
  • Leg squat position
  • 23” wide leg press platform
  • Thick padding on seat, backrest & shoulder pads
  • 320 lbs machine weight
  • 350 lbs max user weight
  • 6’6” max user height
  • 10-year warranty on parts
  • Dimensions: 87″L x 43″W x 70″H (2210 mm x 1070 mm x 1770 mm)

Plate-loaded leg press/hack squat – exercise options

Both the hack squat and leg press will offer a killer lower-body workout.

Hack squat

For the hack squat, you’ll be bending at both the knee and the hip. Your quads and glutes will activate to provide lift. If your hips drop below perpendicular to your knees, you’ll then engage your adductors and calves coming back out of the extension.

Place your feet higher on the platform to shift the load from quads to hamstrings. Take a wider stance to hit your glutes. Naturally, as with any squat, you’ll also be engaging your core throughout for stabilization.

Leg press

In the case of a leg press, the back is well supported and the torso remains stable. The real magic happens when you adjust your foot placement. You can target the medial or lateral sides of the quad by pointing your toes outwards or inwards.

Want to bust your quads? Set your feet narrow. Hit your glutes and adductors? Set them wide. Hamstrings need a workout? Slope the platform downwards by pulling the pin shaft. Or slope it upwards to work your quads and calves.

  • Hack Squat – target quadriceps, glutes, adductors, calves, abdominals & spinal erectors
  • Leg Squat – target quadriceps, glutes, adductors & calves

Assembly

This is a fairly solid mass of metal you’ll be putting together. It’s a huge amount of nuts and bolts to be tightening. Just check out the below image.

Nuts and bolts

You’ll need a 10mm, 13mm, 17mm, and 19mm wrench handy – preferably a torque ratchet. 

The manual doesn’t have many written instructions. But, diagrammatically, it’s well put together. We also enjoy how they’ve packaged all the parts together according to the required step-by-step instructions.

This won’t be as challenging to build as the Titan leg press series. But, we’d still suggest setting roughly two hours aside for the job. Fitness Superstore also offers an assembly and installation service.

Customer reviews

This product is new to the market. There aren’t many customer reviews available yet. If you have tried this product, leave us a comment.

Pros

Let’s take a look at the pros below. 

Commercial gym quality

You can expect high-quality construction and a well-thought-out design. Good padding on back and seat supports. A solid set of features.

One machine, double the workout

Relatively quick and easy to swap between the workout options. The angle variation on both positions really opens up the range of muscle groups to target.

Manageable build volume

While you may be pushed to fit this alongside a rack in a small training studio, it would make a good addition to a double garage gym.

Well priced

In comparison to similar equipment, this product is competitively priced. Our favorite single-purpose leg press machine from Powertec is only a couple hundred dollars less. If we’re looking at dual-purpose machines, this product comes in cheaper than Body-Solid equivalents.

Cons

Here are a few cons.

Only available in one color

While not a deal-breaker, we do know that many of our readers from the school of Dwight Schrute’s Gym for Muscles do enjoy adding color and personalizations to their home gyms.

No rubberized padding for model’s feet

The feet for this compact machine are pure naked metal. Not a great fit if you’re planning on moving it around a lot.

On the plus side, it does have pre-drilled holes available. This is perfect if you want to rawlbolt it to the concrete foundations of your gym.

Bad puns aside, the product does also come with optional extra rubber square gym flooring as well. So all in all, this con is almost more of a feature, allowing you to modify it to suit your needs.

Light max load

Elite bodybuilders might not be too impressed with the max load capacity of 555lbs.

It’s unclear if this limitation is due to the tensile strength of the lower weight carriage and barbell rod. Or, the gauge of steel used for the frame, the type of roller used for smooth glide (doesn’t seem to use linear ball bearings), or some combination of all these factors.

For average strength training and weightlifting, this shouldn’t be a problem.

Final thoughts

As we’ve come to expect from French Fitness, this is commercial gym quality equipment with a very competitive price tag.

The product lives up to its promise of providing a great hack squat and leg press workout. With the bonus of superior lumbar support and brilliant build quality, giving you the confidence to test your limits.

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