Tuesday, September 24, 2013

30 Days of Squat! (Day 24) - Three Drills for Achey Hips and Backs

I have three exercises that I go to when I have an achey lower back and hips - the Bulgarian Split Squat, Windmills, and Cossack Squats. Sometimes I'll do all three as part of warm-up, and sometimes "the warm-up is the workout" (Dan John). Let me know how you find this trio if you decide to try them after reading this.

Bulgarian Split Squats: Although some go quite heavy, I don't think I've ever used over 135lbs with the exercise - in my opinion, there's just too much that can go wrong quite quickly. Even with just bodyweight and high reps (20+/leg), it's tough to beat for waking up the glutes and working the hip flexors through a range of motion you don't get with other exercises. I do mine a little differently and like to keep the ball of my back (elevated) foot in contact with the box/platform - this seems to keep the back leg in the game more (for me).

Windmills: I've always loved this exercise. It's like a good morning on a different plane of motion. Kicking the hips to the side, chest out, and only descending as far as you can do with good form are key. I don't go very heavy with this exercise either, but I like to use a 16-32kg kettlebell and do 5-10 reps/side.

Cossack Squats: I've been doing these (off and on) since I was 10 years old in Mr. Pak's basement, warming up for Tae Kwon Do class. Getting the groove can be difficult and should be done to a shallower depth with some kind of assistance (like a TRX or the support beams of a power rack, for example) until competence and confidence is established.


esteban said...

Weird. I enjoy doing BSS because I feel I can eliminate my dominant posterior chain, relatively easy by hooking my foot around some elevated round surface.

I'm gonna have to google the other exercises to see what they look like. I don't recognize them by name hehe.

Boris said...

Hi Esteban,

I demonstrate windmills and cossack squats in the Squat Rx videos. I think the cossack squats are in Squat Rx #5, and the windmills are in Squat Rx #6 (I think).