Do you want to learn how to do cossack squats?
In this video, I’m going to show you five variations of the cost act squat from beginner to advanced to increase your hip mobility and flexibility.
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Where Did This Exercise Come From?
The cossack squat is named after its similarity to the hopak dance of the cossack people.
I know a lot of people like to use the cossack squat as a warm-up. I prefer a little bit of a warm-up, just simple hip rotations, just to get the hips a little bit warmer and loosened up. And then you can start to go into your contact squat.
Four Point Cossack Squats
We’re going to start off with a four point Cossack Squat.
This is the ideal cossack squat for beginners.
You’re using your hands to support yourself in front, but you do still want to keep pushing the knee out to the side. As much as you can start to work on that range of motion of the hip. Now, ideally, you’re going to have your heel flat on the floor, but if you can’t do that at the moment, that’s fine. Just keep the heel up a little bit and slowly work your way down now.
Bodyweight Cossack Squats
And we’re going to move into bodyweight cossack squat. So these are the standard squat.
You want to get your heel down if possible and keep it flat. If you can’t, that’s fine. If your flexibility is a little bit limited, just keep it up for the time being and work your way down.
Two Foot Positions
There are two foot positions that you can use. You can either be up on your heel so that you’re resting on your heel. Each time you switch, or you can keep your foot flat and then stretch it each time you’re coming from side to side.
Try both variations. They both have their benefits. The important thing here is that you keep your chest up and you make sure that you have some thoracic extension. You don’t want to lean forward too much or allow your thoracic spine to round forward.
Weighted Cossack Squat
The next version is the weighted cossack squat. So you can either do this with a dumbbell like I’m using here, or you can use a kettlebell as well.
Now you really want to keep good control.
Keep the weight close to your body the way it acts as a bit of a counterbalance.
Although I’ve shown this as a progression from the last one, sometimes when people struggle with bodyweight cossackk squats, they might be able to do it with a weight. So just see what works for you.
Cossack Squats Holding Weight In Front
The next one is cossack squats holding the weight in the front.
This can be very, very tough for the shoulders. You just want a really light weight for this. It’s hard enough to hold your arms out in front and move through the cossack squat at the same time.
You don’t need to challenge yourself with some heavy weight for this. Although eventually you can, if you like, just keep it really simple. Again, keep your chest lifted up and try to maintain some thoracic extension.
Cossack Squats With Weight Overhead
Cossacks squats with weight overhead is a very challenging version.
Again, with this one, you have to be very careful. Start with a lightweight, maintain the thoracic extension, push your chest forward. And of course, it’s going to shift your weight a little bit. So it’s going to feel a little different than the body weight squat, but it gives you an additional challenge.
A lot of people have a hard time with overhead extension and it’s something that you definitely want to practice.
Now, I personally don’t find the bodyweight cossack squats all that challenging anymore.
“I can do this all day ”
unless I’m doing higher reps like 15 to 20.
But the weighted cossack squats are going to keep challenging me for awhile.
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Let me know which variation of the cossack squat you’re working on and what you want to work up to.