I challenge you to try out the 15-day Cossack squat challenge testing your overall mobility.
The challenge works as following: Over a 15-day period you will have to go through 15 different variations of the Cossack squat. Each day the challenge will gradually become more and more difficult.
If you are not able to complete the 10 alternating reps of the Cossack squat variation with a controlled and safe form on the day, you cannot move on to the next variation the following day.
What is a Cossack squat and how shall it be performed?
Start with your feet about 2 times your regular shoulder width with both toes pointing straight forward. Initiate the movement by moving your hips into a squat and slowly shift your weight onto one leg while straightening your opposite leg. Rotate the foot on the straight leg onto your heel with the toes pointing upwards to get as low as possible in the movement.
Simply come back to the starting position and then perform the same movement on the opposite leg.
The Cossack squat is one of the most well-rounded movements that both strengthens, stretches and stabilizes most of the muscles in your lower-body.
More detailed description on what exactly works when and how:
As the athlete distributes his weight onto one leg, the main muscles being worked are the quadriceps (vastus medialis, lateralis, intermedius and rectus femoris), the glutes (gluteus maximus and medius), and the calves (gastrocnemius, soleus).
In the straightened leg, there will be a stretch in the hamstrings (biceps femoris and semimembranosus) and groin adductors (adductor magnus, longus and brevis). As the athlete points the toe up, and dorsiflexes the foot of the straightened leg, the calves will also be stretched to a degree, this includes both the gastrocnemius and soleus.
Upper leg – The majority of the stabilizer muscles will be engaged in the bent leg, this includes the vastus medialis obliqus (VMO), iliotibial band, glutes (medius and minimus), and sartorius. These muscles play a huge role in keeping the knee in line with the toes.
Lower leg – To stay balanced, the muscles within the lower leg need to be able to to adapt to the dynamic swaying of the body. These microscopic adjustments are made by the soleus, peroneus brevis and longus, the tibias interior, and the extensor muscles of the toes.
To maintain a neutral spine, the trunk muscles need to work in unison to provide stabilized pressure within the abdominal cavity. These muscles include the erector spinae and multifidus of the lumbar region, as well as the rectus abdomens, transversus abdominus, and internal/external obliques. “
Why should I do it? (Benefits)
“Increased flexibility in the hips, quads, hamstrings, glutes and ankles
Increased hip mobility
Increased knee stability
Increased dynamic strength
Increased core strength and stability
Improved starting position for deadlifts (think guys who round their back too quickly and under-utilize the hamstrings)
Improved squat depth
Excellent “3D” movement for athletes who turn quickly or even kick in combat