Hey, Forest Vance here from the Body Weight Strong Program. I will show you an excellent progression to get your first Pistol Squat.
The Pistol Squat is an advanced one-leg lower body exercise. It’s a perfect example of the movement we use in the Body Weight Strong Program.
Many people can’t do the pistol squat, but many people have the strength, mobility, and flexibility to do it. It’s just a matter of activating the muscles correctly using some essential tips.
I will show you the progressions I have used with lots of people.
CLICK HERE to watch the YouTube video.
1. Two-Legged Squat
The first thing that we will do is like a two-leg version. In a regular bodyweight squat, you are probably somewhere around shoulder width apart, and it looks something like this:
Normal Body Weight Squat
Pistol Squat is a little different in the movement pattern.
To adjust to that, I will contact you to bring your feet closer than hip-width, almost touching. Knees are tucked in over the toes, and you can probably grab a little kettlebell weight for this one as you practice, and you are going to sit back and sit all the way down as you squat.
Two Legged Squat
They might say, “Hey, Forest, don’t round your back that looks crappy, and you can’t squat that way.” Here’s the thing, your back is going to round as you do the Pistol Squat, which is okay. The danger in rounding out your back is when it is loaded up with a weight, like in the back squat.
With Pistol Squat, it’s a little bit different. You are not using a substantial external load typically. It’s okay to round your back. You will do a few of those and get warmed up as you sit nice and low with your two-leg Pistol squat.
2. Assisted Pistol
I have a suspension trainer right here. You will need a partner, somebody you can hold on to as you practice the movement pattern. It’s just going to be holding onto something and getting yourself in position.
I am doing it with my right leg here. I will use the suspension trainer and help myself stay in a good strong position. And I put my weight onto my right leg, and I will keep my eyes fixed on the point in front of me as I come up towards it during my movement.
I will sit back, bring my foot up and stand up. And I must ensure I breathe as I get back to the top. I am bracing my abs, breathing out through my mouth as I stand up. Practice some of those assisted pistols squats.
3. Box Pistol
I am going to start by sitting on a box and standing up. I am going to sit down on the box. It depends on how much stronger you are when you start. The one I have here is probably a little bit high for me, but it’s okay.
I am going to sit onto the box, and I am going to stand up and drive through that heel and then sit back with both feet. I put my foot up, bracing my abs, and stand up, and I am going to sit back down.
Again, those are the little progressions. We have the two-leg Pistol, the assisted Pistol, and the box pistol. Now we are going to do the actual Pistol squat.
4. Pistol Squat
Same idea here; I am balancing on one foot. I will have my eyes focusing on the point in front of me. I am going to bring my foot up towards that point, take a breath in, brace my abs, sit down, and stand up. That’s what your pistol squat looks like.
You can start working pistol squats into your body weight training program today. There’s a quick little progression; go through those three exercises. Make sure that you are mastering one before you go on to the next one.
If you liked this progression, then make sure to check out Body Weight Strong for more advancement, exercises, and workouts that require no equipment:
Forest Vance MS, RKC