Tweaking The Cossack Squat Will Leave Your Glutes On Fire | Men's Health Magazine Australia

Tweaking The Cossack Squat Will Leave Your Glutes On Fire

One key thing you can do to build strong, athletic glutes and legs, according to Men’s Health’s Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S., is to move laterally. “Basic squats and lunges have you moving in the same direction you do when you walk straight forward,” says Samuel, “something called the sagittal plane. But your body is also built to rotate, and it’s also built to move laterally. And your glutes play key roles in making those other motions handle.”

Your glutes stabilise when you move laterally, and along with your abs and obliques, your glutes deliver power to move you rotationally. They also resist rotational and lateral forces, says Samuel, and in the double Cossack squat, at different points, they’re doing all these things.

“We’re starting with your glutes having to correct against the rotational force you create as you lower into a Cossack,” Samuel says. “Then your glutes have to work purely in creating lateral movement and strength. Then, to end each rep, your glutes have to do perhaps the hardest thing in the sequence, delivering rotational power to drive you out of the hole and back to a standing position.”

It’s a vicious sequence that does multiple things, says Samuel. It’s teaching your body to manage rotational forces, and it’s also helping you perfect your Cossack squat form. “The initial squat in the double-Cossack is unique,” he says. “It’s going to force you to think about how you’re stepping backwards and find the ideal step. Simultaneously, it’s going to force you to keep your weight in your heels. People very often fail to do this, struggling with weight and balance, and that’s when they struggle with the Cossack.”

To do the double-Cossack, you’ll want either a set of dumbbells or kettlebells (Samuel prefers kettlebells).

  • Start with a pair of kettlebells held in a front rack, core tight.
  • Step back with your right foot and rotate your hips to the right. “Look at something to the right,” says Samuel. “It’ll insure you open up properly.” Bend your right knee, sinking low with most of the weight on your right leg. Keep your chest up and core tight as you do this. Your left leg should be straight.
  • Power up from that position, straightening both legs. Then shift your weight back to your right leg again, bend your right knee and lower into another Cossack rep.
  • Power out of that rep with even more power this time, rotating your torso back to face forward. That’s 1 rep. Do 4-5 pairs of reps per side. Do 3 sets.

The move will push you, says Samuel, and everyone’s depth will be different. “You want to aim to go deep,” says Samuel, “but it takes time. One of the great things about this move is you can use a light weight and spend time using this move to explore your own hip mobility and gradually build your Cossack squat.”

It’s equal parts mobility move, says Samuel, and strength move. Don’t be afraid to work without weight and understand how your own hip mobility is. “This is a great chance to improve the skill with which you move,” he says.

This article originally appeared on Men’s Health

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