Movement Category: Squatting
Implement: Bodyweight (plus kettlebell(s) for advanced)
Difficulty Level: Intermediate to advanced
Exercise benefits: Pistol Squat (and its variations) is the best single leg exercise on the planet. It builds insane strength in the legs one limb at a time.
Muscle groups worked:
Prime movers: Quads, hips, glutes and hamstrings.
Pistol Squats- Step by Step Instructions
Step 1: Stand erect on one leg extending your other leg in front of you and your supporting foot firmly planted on the ground.
Step 2: Inhale into your stomach, as you as you pull yourself down with your hip flexor until your supporting leg’s hamstring makes contact with your calve, while keeping the non-supporting leg extended. Stay tight in your hamstring and core as you reach the bottom. Maintain your heel on the floor at all times.
Step 3: Exhale, hissing the air out in order to “leak” the air pressure (power breathing), as you rise back up, pushing the floor away. Rise as one solid unit, with your hips not getting ahead of the upper body. Keep your core tight. Maintain your heel on the floor at all times. Keep your shin relatively vertical and do not allow the knee to slide forward – push the floor away strongly through your heel.
Caution: Make sure that you pay your dues and are proficient enough with Bodyweight Squats and Lunges before taking on Pistols. Pay attention to aligning your squatting leg’s ankle, knee and hip in one plane to avoid excessive torque on your knee joint.
A) Assisted Pistol (partner, pole)
B) Rolling Pistol
C) Box Pistol
D) Weighted Pistol (kettlebell(s))