Cossack squat, also known as side-to-side (low slide) squat is a quite intense exercise that will reveal many of your weaknesses…
Oh, did you say that you don’t have any? Maybe when you try this exercise, you will find a few, surprisingly. It could be the strength of your legs, glutes, and core, the flexibility of your hips, knees, or ankles, or combination of all.
With a little diligent practice, you can improve all your weak spots and your athletic performance with that.
- develops the dynamic flexibility in the hips, groin and hamstrings
- improves the ankle mobility
- develops strength in the quads, glutes and hamstrings
- improves the core strength and stability
- improves balance and coordination
- improves patience 😉
You don’t need any extra weights, your body weight will be sufficient enough in the beginning. As you get stronger and more mobile, you can add a bar on your shoulders or hold a weight in front of your chest.
Being strong in this range of motion has numerous advantages in many sports, but especially in tennis, volleyball, racquetball, baseball, football, soccer, calisthenics, and many many other sports.
Cossack Squat Tips
- stand straight with the legs quite wide, in a “sumo” stance, with your toes slightly pointing out
- squat down and shift your weight to one side fully (you may need to adjust your stance a little bit wider)
- track the bent knee above your foot (don’t let it collapse inwards) and keep the entire foot (yes, the heal too!) on the ground
- keep the other leg completely straight and externally rotated, heel pushing to the ground and the quadriceps contracted. This will add a tremendous stretch on your adductors and hamstrings
- you may need to stretch your arms forward for a better balance
- now transfer the weight to the other side by sliding really low above the ground. Here you will feel a strong stretch in both your adductors as well.
- repeat 10–20 times, alternating from side to side
If the low slide from side to side is too difficult, you may stand up fully in between the transitions, then squat down to the other side. Work yourself into sliding from side to side as you get stronger and more flexible. Many athletes are very tight in the adductors and the groin, so be careful and work according to your capabilities.
Also, if you cannot fully squat down (booty-to-the-heel), start being a little bit higher, and as your strength and flexibility improves, sink lower and lower. This could be a long process, but I promise, it will be extremely rewarding. You will gain a “three dimensional” strength from which you will benefit in your tennis and other athletic, injury-free endeavors.
Would you like to learn more simple exercises to improve your tennis fitness and flexibility? Feel free to pick up the tiny little guide that you can always carry with you in your bag, “Tennis Fitness for the Love of it”… even if you are not a tennis player, you can do everything that’s in it, and feel great!