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How To Master The Pistol Squat

Add This Great Exercise To Your Workouts

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The pistol, or single-leg squat, is a difficult move that you can learn how to do and is certainly as functional as it is impressive. It is an expert-level exercise that requires a significant amount of strength, flexibility, and balance to master. In order to learn this one-legged squat variation there are several parts to the pistol exercise and correct execution requires you to master each of them.

BUILDING UP

If you’re not already implementing single-leg exercises into your training plan, then it’s best to start with those exercises rather than go straight into doing full pistol squats. Along with building up your leg strength it’s worth working on your hip and ankle mobility before you try the full pistol squat, because no matter how powerful your legs are, you won’t be able to adopt the pistol position without flexibility in those areas. People with hip and ankle issues should focus on strengthening those muscles first and should consult with a physiotherapist before attempting this exercise.

THE FULL MOVE

Stand on one leg with the other held straight out in front of you. Slowly lower into a deep squat, keeping the airborne leg straight. In the bottom position of the exercise the hamstring on your standing leg should be touching your calf, with the other leg extended parallel to the ground. Once you’ve reached the pistol position, pause for a second, and then push back up by driving through your heel. Try and keep your arms out in front of you to help you balance when you are new to the exercise. Once you master the movement you can add a weight of some kind such as kettlebells or dumbbells to keep it challenging.

If you find yourself losing your balance every time you try a pistol squat or that you can’t get sufficiently deep, try using a weight in one hand such as a kettlebell or even an anchored resistance band while doing the exercise. This will help with your balance on the way down and assist with pushing back up from the pistol position.

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