Looking for exercise movements that are hidden in our everyday lives is like a treasure hunt. We train at the gym to prepare us for the other 23 hours in our day, but we don’t always recognize those exact movements. It’s fun to spot them when we can. Ever compare when you are walking up your front steps with your groceries hanging at your side to walking lunges or farmer carries?—similar movements. Or how about that awkward hover you employ so you never have to touch a public toilet and a traditional squat? –yes, same movements. One of my recent finds in my daily treasure hunt is the Cossack Squat. Not only was it fun to discover, but I am also excited to share it with you here. This exercise was in our programming over a year ago, and might not be something you have done in a long time, if ever. I highly recommend it, and have a link below for instructions on form and technique.
This particular variation of squat prepares us to be ready and strong no matter what direction life comes at us. I love a good exercise metaphor! The Cossack Squat is a lateral squat movement where our weight is shifted to one side, keeping the knee over the toes while the other leg is straight out and with its toes pointing straight up to the sky. What’s happening here? Increased range of motion, opening of the hip flexors, ankle flexibility, while also engaging hamstrings, quads, glutes, and core. It’s a powerhouse movement. Being ready for anything, flexible, and strong are exactly why I work out- and I also aim to have that same mental readiness, flexibility, and strength. In my mind those characteristics are parts of the best version of myself. Ta-da! My perfect metaphor exercise all rolled into one.
Much to my delight I realized I spend hours doing Cossack Squats when I sail. I often find myself in this position on the leeward side of the boat when trimming the jib. I hold this position for as long as I need to get the sail properly trimmed. On the next tack I pivot to the other side. Throughout the season I have gained stability in this position and increased my range of motion exponentially. I have seen this movement in lots of sports and I understand the value of training in 3d, as opposed to just front and back, or up and down.
As a student athlete my son was a soccer goalie and a first-baseman in baseball. The Cossack Squat was a staple in his dynamic warm-up. Every game I saw him employ this lateral movement, a reach for a play at the plate, or a stretch for a save in the net. Its always been apparent that the ball, and of course life, doesn’t just come straight at you in a soft lob down the middle. I encourage you to work the Cossack Squat into your warm up too.
What movements that you do at the gym can you find in the treasure hunt of your everyday life?
For a tutorial on how to do a proper Cossack, click here: https://www.spotebi.com/exercise-guide/cossack-squat/