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Cossack Squats with 60lbs of Chains

shakira

Hips Don’t Lie?

Why is improving your hip mobility important?

Well, the most important reason is that you can get your own music video.  You’ll be shaking your mobile hips in waist deep water with a macrame bikini on.  Shakira made a career out of it.

There are a few other reasons that might be important to you as a lifter, or you as a coach responsible for athletes.

Importance of Hip Mobility

  • Less stress transfer to your lower lumbar
  • Less stress transfer to your knees
  • More neutral pelvic alignment (poor pelvic alignment puts surrounding musculature on tension)
  • Deeper, more full range of motion movements of the lower body
  • Progression toward strength in these new range of motions becomes essential
  • Improves rotational power potential
  • Lower injury potential during decelerative, high force movements
  • Sexy bikini photo shoot (not sure why I keep going back to this?)

Exercises That Promote Hip Mobility

  1. Squat to stand
  2. Tin Men
  3. Full Squats
  4. Lunge and Reach
  5. Hip Flexor Stretch with Elevated Back Leg on Bench
  6. Glute Stretch
  7. Leg Swings
  8. Leg Raised with Foot Circles
  9. Cossack Squats

cossack-squats

What are Cossack Squats?

Cossack squats are done by performing a lateral lunging motion.  The toes can be slightly pointed out or straight forward during the movement.  The lifter or athlete will move their feet outward to a sumo or slightly WIDER than sumo position.

From their the torso is braced and forced outward as the lifter / athletes moves to the right / left.  The knee moves forward tracking over the toes and on the straight leg the toe comes up.  Settling into the bottom position will depend upon your hamstring / glute flexibility and hip / ankle mobility.

The lifter / athlete can stand straight back up (easier) or slide across to the other side (harder).  The slide technique keeps constant tension on the legs.

Benefits of Cossack’s

  • deeper squat
  • better setup on deadlifts
  • hip mobility
  • knee stability
  • hamstring / glute flexibility
  • better, stronger kicks in combat athletics

How to Progress Toward Free Stand Cassocks

You might find as you try this movement, there are TONS of things preventing you from getting into position.  Your lack of ankle and hip mobility and your quad, hamstring or glute flexibility.  In fact, for many of you, this position will feel really weak because it is a new range of motion and you’ve never created tension in this range.

Start slowly and perform it by holding onto the power cage.  Then you can transition to a free standing movement.  Also, if you are wearing Nike Shox, throw them off and do these barefoot.

Sample Cossack Squat Supersets

Superset 1

1A) Squats, 3×8

1B) Cossack Squats, 3×6 each way

Superset 2

1A) Cossack Squats, 3×3 each way

1B) Box Jumps, 6-8

Superset 3

1A) Psoas Activation, 3o sec each leg

Performed with knee bent and leg raised above 90 deg, held for time.

1B)  Cossack Squats, 8 each leg

1C)  Banded Seated Leg Curls

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13 Responses to “Cossack Squats with 60lbs of Chains”

  1. Max Shank Says:

    I use cossacks as part of something I call a “hip complex” every day for myself and every session with any clients. Brilliant stuff.
    Big props to you for using your influence to introduce great movements like this to the “mainstream.”

  2. Coach mike Says:

    This move helped me into splits at 40+!

  3. Jim Smith Says:

    Nice Coach, definitely something to aspire to.

  4. Jim Smith Says:

    Great Max, definitely a solid movement.

  5. bill Says:

    James, I do them all the time and have students do them at a dojo I belong to. I try real hard to not bend forward like Brad is doing. I don’t think my way is any better but damn does it cause these old bones and back muscles to yell. Keep up the good work my man. I’m going for a hike with 65lbs of chain in a back pack on steep ass hills when I get done here. Bill

  6. Rob Says:

    “Leg Raised with Foot Circles”

    Smitty,

    What is this movement? I’m not sure if it’s something I’ve done by a different name or if it’s something I’ve never tried before………..knowing me it is probably something so obvious I should not be asking this question, hah, hah.

  7. Jim Smith Says:

    Rob,

    Check 1:09 of this video:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tX1j54A1A6M

  8. Dave Hedges Says:

    Nice, never thought of adding chains, so obvious it’s almost silly!! held ketlebells in the “rack”, very tough.

  9. Matt "Wiggy" Wiggins Says:

    Hey Smitty – what’s your opinion of doing something like this as a part of a dynamic warm-up type of routine (along with various other movements), lasting no more than 5-10 mins, but instead of being done before workouts (as per most dynamic warm-ups), you do it everyday? I’m putting together a little program to do this very thing, starting off with some burpees and jumping jacks (to get the blood flowing), lunges, full-ROM dive bombers, cossack squats, banded cuban presses and pull aparts, leg swings, and few other things.

    Oh – and while the video was great, I think you’d get even greater reader/fan response by getting a vid of Shakira doing the cossacks…chains optional. HA! 😉

    Wiggy
    http://www.workingclasscardioworkout.com
    http://www.workingclassfitness.com

  10. Jim Smith Says:

    what’s your opinion of doing something like this as a part of a dynamic warm-up type of routine (along with various other movements), lasting no more than 5-10 mins, but instead of being done before workouts (as per most dynamic warm-ups), you do it everyday?

    Wiggy,
    I think that EVERYONE should be doing it. If you do it everyday, you don’t have to overcome as much when you do workout.

    I’m putting together a little program to do this very thing, starting off with some burpees and jumping jacks (to get the blood flowing), lunges, full-ROM dive bombers, cossack squats, banded cuban presses and pull aparts, leg swings, and few other things.

    Sounds great!

    Oh – and while the video was great, I think you’d get even greater reader/fan response by getting a vid of Shakira doing the cossacks…chains optional. HA! 😉

    Very true bro.

  11. Ciaran Says:

    was just wondering whether or not you could alter this so that perhaps say using overhead dumbbells rather than chains

    Thanks
    Ciaran

  12. visegrip Says:

    would this be good to add to my mma training?

  13. Todd Says:

    Those look sick! Is there a way to do them with weights if you don’t have chains?

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