If you’ve seen the Deadpool movies, you know how athletic — and flexible — actor Ryan Reynolds became to play the character. From kicks to flips to whatever this move is …
…the superhero is mobile.
That ability was honed through an intense regimen with trainer Don Saladino, who helped kick Reynolds into shape and is also behind the superhero frames of actors like Sebastian Stan and David Harbour. Saladino’s techniques do more than build camera-ready muscles — his workouts aim to unlock his clients’ active, athletic potential, too.
One of the superhero trainer’s go-to moves for flexibility is the cossack squat.
“The cossack squat is an advanced stretch that can help with the loading of your legs in an asymmetrical way, exposing differences in each side,” Saladino told MensHealth.com.
The move works your legs, adductors, and upper and middle back, especially if you manage to add some resistance by holding a kettlebell throughout. If you nail the move, it can be beneficial for more than just your flexibility. The cossack squat can help to improve your other lifts, too.
“Master this to improve your hips and ankle mobility, qualities necessary in a good squat,” said Saladino.
To perform the move, grab a light kettlebell and a spot in the gym with space to stretch out. Holding the weight by the handle with both hands at chest level, stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart, with your toes pointing slightly out. Keeping the weight at the same level and your chest up, shift your weight to one leg, bend that knee, and squat down to rest on your flat foot. Keep your opposite leg straight and raise your foot off the ground, resting on your heel. After a beat, push off your foot to return to the starting position before repeating the move on the other side of your body.
Day 132 of #don365 demonstrates a “Cossack Squat”. – I have been putting a little more time into these lately to help with my hip mobility. For a period of time i was unable to even attempt these. I needed more beginner hip mobility work and then graduated into this. – Not every movement works for everybody. – #trainsmart #suitupwithdon #toneupwithdon #superherotraining #squat
Don’t worry if you struggle with balance at first, especially with the load.
“You might have to start using a TRX to keep your arms up, before moving to a kettlebell,” Saladino advised.
Add the cossack squat to your next leg day by performing 3 sets of 5 reps on each leg, emphasizing the stretch of the movement. For more superhero-body building moves, you can check out Saladino’s full program.
By Brett Williams