The Cossack Squat: A Great Fantastic Movement for Lower Body Mobility/Flexibility
The Cossack Squat is practically a forgotten lower body exercise. It’s a movement that blends strength, flexibility and mobility.
I’m covering it here for it’s usefulness and applicability. In a world where productivity requires us to sit for long periods of time, the Cossack Squat couldn’t be more suitable.
Now, this movement is not an exercise to build impressive lower body strength. It’s more of a tool that will allow you to improve flexibility and mobility and even the range of motion of your squats.
The Cossack Squat is very similar to the side lunge, except that you are not rotating your leg outward at the bottom position. This approach targets your glutes, quadriceps, hamstring and adductors.
The Best Exercise For Hip Mobility
The video demonstrates a full bodyweight Cossack Squat where the toes of the extended leg is facing up and the heel of the opposite foot remains on the ground.
It is important to remain as upright as you possibly can, without over arching at your lower back (which would be hard for many people at this position). To help me with my posture I extend my arms in front me. This small detail can really help you, so don’t skip it.
Heel Up or Down?
The complete version of this exercise requires your heel to remain on the ground. Some people don’t have fantastic ankle flexibility and raising the heel of the ground allows for the person to sit deep.
Now raising the heel isn’t bad at all, but you should try to acquire the necessary ankle flexibility. Doing so will allow you to move better in general.
In the following section we will look at ways to get a full Cossack Squat.
Cossack Squat Progressions
4 Point Cossack Squat
The 4 Point Cossack Squat is an excellent starting point for most people. This is a great way to learn the rhythm of the exercise and groove the joints in a new way.
Here are couple of takeaways:
- Place your hands in the floor in front of you. This will allow you to maneuver yourself around this movement and will provide more stability.
- Don’t worry about remaining upright while practicing this drill. The focus here is just getting familiar with the movement and to give your muscles a new range of motion to play with.
Sit On A Box
When you first try this movement, you may not be able to go low enough. And that’s ok. You can work on that. You can place a box or a stable platform behind you.
With some practice, you will acquire new flexibility that will allow you to work through your new range of motion.
Counterbalance With A Kettlebell
If you’re having a bit of trouble staying upright throughout this movement, then this simple tweak is for you. Now, don’t over concern yourself with being too upright.
Grab a kettlebell or dumbbell and place in front of you with your arms slightly pushed away from your body. This technique forces your upper body to actively stabilize the weight in front of you, keeping you upright.
Putting It All Together
Here’s a mobility routine/workout you can do:
Cossack Squat meets Steel Mace
Here’s an interesting integration I enjoyed. It’s with a steel mace. If you’re unfamiliar with the steel mace, it provides dynamic and rotational movements for the upper body. It’s especially useful for the shoulders.
I simply added a mace 360 at the top of the exercise:
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