You know you should be doing more mobility work in your gym routine: the vague twinges and occasional popping noises when you squat, sit down, climb a flight of stairs or get out of bed are all the evidence you need. But who has the time? A lunch-hour gym session’s barely enough to warm up, train and shower: holding a series of stretches for 30 seconds a pop wastes valuable time you could be spending thrashing a set of battling ropes.
Enter the Cossack squat. This move, named because it looks like something a traditional Ukrainian shumka dancer might do, is having a popularity spike for several reasons: it’s quick to do, adaptable, builds strength and mobility at the same time and looks cool in a crowded gym (no mat required).
To do the full-strength version, you take a wide stance with your toes pointing slightly outward, then shift all your weight over to one side: the ‘working side’ foot stays flat on the ground while your opposite leg stays straight, with your toes pointing to the ceiling.
The Coassack squat is quick to do, adaptable, builds strength and mobility at the same time and looks cool in a crowded gym (no mat required)
Pause for a second to feel the stretch across your groin, then ‘slide’ – don’t bounce – to the other side, and repeat for ten reps total. If the full thing is too hard, you can use support: either by putting your hands on the floor, or holding onto a suspension trainer like the TRX.
Too easy? Load up by holding a dumbbell or kettlebell in front of you. As well as building strength in your glutes, hamstrings and core, you’ll build flexibility across your adductors, hips, knees and ankles – great if you do a lot of running or squats, but equally good if you spend most of your time on the sofa. Add two sets of ten to your warmup, and watch everything improve.