Cossack Squat Your Way to Strength

This bodyweight squat, including some variations, activates so many positives in your movement patterns that you should really try and master it effectively and keep it with you for life.

Really committed to getting deep into your bottom position on your lifts? Sitting at a desk all day at work? Or maybe just have an interest in increasing hip flexibility? The Cossack squat is a good movement to spend some time learning properly and including in your dynamic and static stretches. The Cossack squat is kind of like a half squat, one leg goes down into a full squat while the other stays stretched out with the toes pointing upward. You’ll probably find most people or pictures of the Cossack squat have someone with trainee sitting on his or her toes instead of with a flat foot. This changes the muscles and stretch, but it is easier. We’re going to favor the foot being flat because we are going to treat this movement as a variation of a typical air squat.

Don’t worry if you can’t go deep on your squat. The point is to work your way there and build up your flexibility. The following video gives you a good idea of how to develop a Cossack squat and work your way towards the full movement. Once you are proficient in performing the movement, you’ll find that it’s kind of a great refresher if you’ve been sitting down for a long time. And never underestimate how effective it is in building strength, as well.

Seated Cossack Squat

If you’ve been doing Chris Lofland’s Gymnastic Strength workouts, you’ll be familiar with a more challenging variation of the Cossack squat, one that requires both greater strength and, at the same time, is probably going to add some extra flexibility through the upper torso. The seated Cossack squat is probably the most challenging variation that the majority of people are going to need to develop in this movement. If you’re a weightlifting enthusiast and you can perform a seated Cossack squat with control, form, and balance then, you can probably feel quite confident in the quality of the mechanics of your body. Doesn’t mean you’ll lift bigger, that’s a whole different set of exercises, but you should be pretty good at getting in and out of the bottom position in any lift. That means a whole heck of a lot to all but the most naturally gifted and proficient lifters.

Kettlebell Cossack Squat

Finally, yes, there’s something for you that lets you use weights. The following video lays out one approach to a weighted Cossack squat. And yes, instead of a kettlebell, you can use a dumbbell or even hold a bumper plate, sandbag or any other heavy object that doesn’t inhibit your range of motion. You don’t need to go too heavy. Form and function over chest thumping and triumphant yells is the best way to go. This is a variation of an air or bodyweight squat.

Bodyweight training is about as much weight lifting that anyone may need for strength. The Cossack squat and its variations are great ways to build flexibility in the hips and ankles, stretch the adductors, maybe even help correct any imbalances in your posture in the squat and all the time while adding strength to your movement. Remember, here we go for the flat foot on the squat because it’s a squat and you don’t sit on your toes in a squat.