We have created a PDF that reflects our insights of a Single leg Squat. You will see Step-by-step Progression and Active mobility drills, with videos included.
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The pistol squat is the ‘go-to’ bodyweight move for the lower body in the fitness world, and compared to the fancy upper body centred moves, it pales in comparison, and rightfully so.
Are you surprised that I did not try to upsell it, telling you why it is important and why is it beneficial for you? I did not even defend its status amongst the jaw-dropping planche, front lever, muscles up etc.
I did not do so, because its status in Lower Bodyweight Training
is firm and cannot be displaced.
A good looking pistol, no doubt is uncommon, but I have seen many people being able to churn out a single rep of pistol squat with ZERO training.
Impossible? Yes if you have been relatively inactive.
But it’s doable if you have always been active to a certain extent. Many people whom I have coerced into trying it, succeeded on their first try! Following, this is a video of a young gymnast who was surprised that she can do a pistol when I get her to try, after noticing her good landing techniques in my class. And mind you, she has done several ones before I whipped my phone out!
Before I dwell deeper into the progressions, I would like to share that certain disciplines focus heavily on the solid fundamentals which makes it possible for practitioners to execute some gravity-defying move with just some little instructions and minimal training.
A few examples here: Due to years of controlling the mast, many high-level sailors can execute a front lever without knowing that they can. A canoeist can execute a human flag with ease due to the courtesy of their sport mechanics and the amount of pulling work they do for conditioning. An Olympic lifter, with some guidance, can commonly execute a backflip after a day of learning. Due to their training, they developed so much explosive power in their vertical jump that they can land safely even if the speed of rotation is slow. Track and field athletes, competitive boxers, wrestlers can execute a pistol squat at the snap of a finger due to their strenuous leg training on most days.
The point I’m trying to drive at is that progressions here simply serve as a guide. Do not take it to be the bible. And do not take it as the end goal, but rather as a checkpoint. Go enjoy a sport and train hard in it. Be less concerned about the end product, but be very serious about the process. The bonus will show in time to come!
Breakdown of Pistol Squat
1) Deep squat with legs together
This test the mobility of your hip, knees and ankle, and close legs stance is more relevant as in a single leg squat, your working leg is in the centre of your body.
(We have written a post to help you achieve this – click here)
2) Standing up onto a platform with assistance from the free leg
The idea is to use as much strength as you can on the working leg.
Technically, once you are sure you can be stable when you stand up onto the platform, you can progress to the next step
3) Negative single leg squat from a platform
Similar to the previous progression, but you squat down with the free leg floating
- Stand up with some assistance
- A good number of reps to hit here is 8-10 consecutive reps
4) Deck squat and stand up with single leg
- Roll down onto you back with 2 legs and stand up with 1 leg
- The idea here is simply to ease some tension off your knees, if pistol squat progression is all what you have been doing for the legs recently
5) The pistol squat is yours to keep!
Again, to end off, please do not be overly obsessed with a pistol squat. Our legs are the body part that transports us around. It can take a lot of stressors! Go run, go sprint, go hike. Take the stairs. All these add up the training volume silently.