A large amount of weightlifting exercises, in CrossFit® and fitness in general, are performed in the sagittal plane.
While it is possible to make great progress with these exercises, neglecting the other cardinal planes can cause the body to be more prone to injury and not reach its full athletic potential.
In this article we will discover the Cossack squat, a variation of the squat that should be included in your workout.
What is the Cossack squat?
Il Cossack squat is a variation of the squat in which you squat on one leg while keeping the other leg straight to the side.
It is a more difficult variant than the classic squat, as the mobility and strength of the squatting leg are put to the test, while the adductors and biceps of the straight leg are greatly stressed.
The Cossack squat can be used both as strengthening exercise and as a warm-up movement, depending on the difficulty and variant.
Benefits of the Cossack squat
The Cossack squat offers tremendous benefits not found in other lower body exercises; this is mainly due to the wider position of the feet and the fact that the two legs move differently.
Let's see the advantages in detail:
- Work beyond the sagittal plane: the Cossack squat forces the body to move in the frontal plane, a different movement pattern than other squat variants
- Improve range of motion: the Cossack squat, when performed correctly, improves the flexibility of the hamstrings and adductors of the straight leg, which reaches significant elongation at the end of the squatting; in addition, the bent leg achieves full flexion of the hip, knee and ankle, allowing you to perform a deeper squat
- Improve performance: this variant of the squat increases positional strength in positions that are usually underdeveloped, such as hip abduction; this protects the body from injury and increases performance in traditional movements such as the squat
- Corrects imbalances: Although the squat and deadlift are considered basic movements compared to the Cossack squat, training these movements for years can develop imbalances between the two sides of the body.
The Cossack squat works a broad spectrum of lower body muscles:
- Glutes and adductors (hip extension and stability)
- Thigh flexor muscles (hip extension)
Since the legs work in different positions, the Cossack squat stimulates the muscles more than the traditional squat, improving coordination and balance.
- Place your feet well apart (at least twice the width of your shoulders)
- Hold a light weight in your hand (bodyweight execution is more difficult as the weight acts as a counterweight allowing for greater range of motion)
- Begin the descent phase by moving the hips back and the weight towards one leg, keeping the other straight; in a slow and controlled way go down as much as possible while keeping the torso erect
- Always make sure that the heels are firmly on the ground and that the knee does not move too far forward.
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