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BIM Lab: The Cossack Squat

What is a cossack?

This fancy pants move is actually acquired from the Ukrainian shumka dance style of cossack dancing; which cab seen in the video below…

The version that we use at BIM is not quite as exciting, bouncy, nor do we play as sweet of tunes, but the exercise is still great nonetheless.

Cossack Squats are a frontal plane movement that are particularly great for improving hip and ankle range of motion, strength, stability and control. They also tend to have a nice carry over to improving better control and range for motion for more sagittal plane movements such as the squat.

The Cossack Squat


  • Take a wider than shoulder width stance, and turn one foot out to the side with the toe off the floor.
  • Keep that knee straight, and squat to your other leg – trying to keep both heels on the ground and keeping your spine as straight and tall as possible.
  • To come up press into the heel of “squatting” leg and fully straighten leg.

The goal here is to achieve as much depth as you can without rounding your spine. You will mostly feel a stretch in your straight leg, but try to focus on keeping most of the load in your squatting leg.

If you struggle with getting range of motion this may be a good sign that you need to work on the mobility of your ankles, adductors, and/or thoracic spine. It may also just be that this style of movement is totally new for you and it would be worth incorporating a this passive mobility version into your warm up and/or this assisted version to help you build movement awareness and patterning.

If you have any questions about the Cossack Squat, feel free to email me at You can also leave a comment on this post.

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