Cossack Squat – Strength, Mobility and Flexibility all in one – PART 3

Angel Stretch with Kettle Bells

Flexible Steel Friends – I would like to introduce the 3rd in a 3 part series on the Cossack Squat. This is more than a few quick tips, rather it is an intensive and impressive premier on this very beneficial move designed to make you both Strong and Flexible at the same time. The author is Piort Kowalik, Flexible Steel Instructor Specialist (FSIS) from Poland. Follow Piort’s advice and you too will become like Flexible Steel!If you missed Part 1 and part 2  go here first

Don’t train (load) an incorrect movement pattern

Before you decide to add the Cossack Squat to your training repertoire, make sure it’s good enough to grab a kettlebell and start the reinforcement process. Because movement is a little like working with clay, if you put unfinished, misshapen pot in the oven, you can be certain that only a harder version of this unfinished pot will come out. Such pot won’t be displayed anywhere, and will be of no use, and you will no longer be able to reshape it. You can only add it to the museum of bad pots.

If you try working a bad movement with weights it will not only be unsafe, but it will also be difficult to correct the bad movement strongly embedded in the nervous system. Give yourself time, take my advice and spend additional month working on the correct Cossack squat. You can use the framework I had tested on myself. Here it is:

Flexible Steel 4 weeks to Cossack Squat

Because I am not sure which of the problems in the Cossack squat that I’ve mentioned plagues you, I propose this solution. We have 6 items regarding mistakes and problems. Each contains 2-4 exercises, which should help. For each item choose only 2 exercises – Exercise A and Exercise B. 6 problems times 2 exercises each gives you 12 exercises and these exercises will accompany us for the next 4 weeks of work on a relatively correct Cossack Squat.

I’ve chosen mine, now you have to choose yours. You can choose the same, but remember that my problems may be different from yours, because every one of us has different experiences and different sport background, different rate of regeneration, etc. I give you mine so that you will see how it looks in practice.

The hip moves outside the heel on the bent leg side



The heel of the bent leg does not touch the floor and you can’t press down on it.



Torso is not vertical.



The knee of the bent leg caves in.



5.(MA Cossack) The outer edge of the foot of the straight leg is not touching the ground.



  1. The height of the position is wrong – hips are higher than the knee on the bent leg side.



Now that we have chosen our 12 exercises for the next 4 weeks, the next step is to arrange them in the template below. This template is a simple protocol I created for myself, which I use to train three times a week. The H, M and L letters stand for the difficulty level and are accordingly High, Medium and Low. The high difficulty version is 5 sets for 5-10 reps of a given exercise in total or per side, Medium is 3 sets for 5-7 reps and Low is 2 sets for 3-5 reps. Numbers from 1 to 6 mark the mistakes and problems we listed before. All this may seem a bit unclear at first, but once you put everything in order you’ll see it makes sense. So here’s the template. Here you should put the exercises that you’ve chosen.

Sample Template Cossak

Remember that week 1 and 2 differ from week 3 and 4 when it comes to the order of the exercises – A – B for 1 and 2; B – A for 3 and 4. To show how this may look I’ve put my exercises into week 1 with the values corresponding to high, medium and low versions. This what is looks like now:

Cossack Squat templete 2

Remember to match the number of reps to the difficulty level. The range between 5 to 10 gives you a lot of space to maneuver, so that depending on the exercise or your current condition you can choose a lower or greater number. Just choose what feels easy and what feels hard for you. Don’t rush it, and don’t beat yourself up, give yourself enough time to rest and treat each exercise as practice not training for exhaustion. Also try not to exceed the pain barrier, but rather gently approach it by working very close to your discomfort zone. Remember – it should be challenging, but not a struggle. Follow this simple program for 4 weeks to the letter and you will not be disappointed! I’m rooting for you. I hope that when I come back with a proposal on how to build strength using the Cossack squat you’ll be ready for it! And remember… Be Both Strong And Flexible – Become Flexible Steel.


The founder and manager of the Sports Centre and School of Martial Arts “IRBIS” in Krakow. The coach and trainer of gold medalists in the Polish Wushu Championships.

The instructor of StrongFirst SFG1 and Flexible Steel Instructor Specialist, who can share his expertise with passion during training sessions in the Kettlebell Centre Krakow and during all the other trainings in Krakow and all around Poland.

Apart from teaching how to build strength and flexibility based on such tools as kettlebells, he teaches Chinese Martial Arts – Kung Fu that he has been practicing since a child.

He started the training of Chinese martial arts in 1991. For years he has been one of the most title-winning Kung Fu (Wushu) competitors in Poland. He teaches both traditional and sports varieties. He holds the title of the World Champion won at the World Championships in 2004 in Chile and in 2006 in China.

He was awarded with the Prize of the Minister of Sports and Tourism of the Republic of Poland for winning gold and silver medals at the World Traditional Wushu Competitions in China in 2010. He was awarded with a prestigious title of the “Best Competitor of 2006” by the American Federation of Chinese Kuoshu in Baltimore, USA.


Check out our new DVD Flexible Steel Fundamentals. Get your copy here today and say goodbye to stiff creaky joints and an inflexible body.

FlexSteel-on-Location Photo