This week will be all about the Cossack squat, one of my favorite exercises to add to my warm ups to improve flexibility, and mobility. This Exercise is definitely a step up in terms of complexity, from the lateral lunge, but it is also a step up in terms of benefit. The initial setup of both the Cossack squat and the lateral lunge is similar, but as you execute each exercises the differences quickly become apparent.
In the previous installment I outlined the basics of the lateral lunge, if you happened to miss it, check it out here:
- From a standing position take a wide step to the right, making sure the right foot stays planted flat on the ground, with toes facing forward.
- The toes of the left foot(straight leg) will come off the ground, toes pointed to ceiling.
- Keeping the Left leg straight, squat through the right hip, while being mindful of the position of the right knee, making sure it does not tracking beyond the right ankle.
- Try to keep both heels on the ground (lifting the right heel will make this exercise considerably easier).
- Squat as low as is comfortable, while making sure to keep a neutral spine (no rounding out the lower back!) keep the head up and shoulders pulled back.
Left: Correct Right: Incorrect
TRY A LITTLE ASSISTANCE
This exercise can be fairly challenging for anyone with limited mobility in the hips, and many people will not be able to work through the full range of movement right off the bat. If that is the case for you, you have a couple options; Scale back the exercise (start with the lateral lunge) and slowly progress into the full Cossack squat, or use your hands on the floor, or some other sort of support (like a TRX) to help you maintain posture and hit depth.
WHY CONSIDER THE ADDITION?
The Cossack squat provides the same benefit as the lateral lunge in terms of introducing a new plane of movement. which is very beneficial to anyone who is involved in any activity that primarily focuses on the sagittal plane, (running, Cycling, Sitting at a desk all day). The biggest benefit is the improvement it will offer to usable range of movement around the hips, which is very important for anyone looking to get deeper in a squat position.
Give the Cossack squat a try, i’m sure many of you will find it to be an exercise you will keep coming back to.