Thanks to a lovely blogger…
I am going to be speaking about the “Pistol squat”. Now before I begin, let me give you the run down on this particular exercise because I don’t want people going out and hurting themselves trying to be cool. This particular exercise I do not recommend to those that don’t have a proper two legged squat form/technique down, that have issues with their core strength, and don’t have much strength in their legs/thighs as well – this is an advanced movement. This is not an exercise to be taken lightly because it is difficult and requires a lot more out of you. There are a lot of things that go into being able to perform a pistol squat the right way without causing yourself injury.
Pistol squats are an amazing exercise and one that always has people in the room in “Ahh”, it took me a LONG time to perform a “perfect” pistol squat because it isn’t something that everyone can go out and do tomorrow. It takes practice, balance, discipline, and strength (in multiple areas) and an idea on how to do it so that you don’t end up harming yourself. For those of you who are able to do it like myself, you probably found a way that helped you be able to perform it and have your own steps in what worked for you & the exercises you used in order to build on your weaknesses – which is great, as do I.
For those of you who want to learn to do a pistol squat, well.. there is no easy way to go about it, and don’t expect to do it in like 15 minutes unless you are THAT skilled and if so, well I tip my hat off to you. I always found the easiest part of the pistol squat was the downward position and the hardest was getting back up on one foot – but some may disagree (this is okay). I am going to do my normal “step by step directions” that I would normally post for an exercise and then I am going to talk about what muscles this exercise effects, then end it with MY OWN tips on how to accomplish a pistol squat (WARNING: my tips sound ridiculous but they helped me and I don’t expect everyone to be the same, so they may help some and not others).
- From a standing position, raise one foot off the floor. Chest up, looking forward, knees and hips slightly bent, back straight (starting position)
- Descend into a squat flexing your hips and knee, while squatting, extend the non-working leg forward. You will want to descend slowly, paying attention to your balance, and body mechanics. You will flex as far as possible.
- Hold the bottom position briefly (2-5 seconds), then return to the starting position by extending through the hips and knee (driving through the heel of your working foot)
- Repeat for however many repetitions
What muscles am I working on:
- core support – this is necessary in order to do this exercise (you need a strong core)
Important factors (keep these in mind):
- Posture alignment is important when performing squats, even pistol squats (VERY important)
- Balance is VERY important during this exercise (you can find ways to improve your balance)
- Your arms will come into play when doing this exercise (they don’t just sit at your side)
- advanced movement (first have your two legged squats down and strength in all the right places)
- do this exercise on the ground before doing it on kettlebells and buildings, etc
- If you have had any prior injuries or conditions that could hinder you, ask your doctor before performing this exercise.
How Did I Learn to Pistol Squat?
- I started from the bottom. Literally. I would sit on the ground in the pistol squat position (with my hands holding my body up) for like 15-30 seconds for like 3-4 sets. This helped me to get the form down because I had issues with extending my leg because my knee would always want to bend when I would extend it (my legs are lame, don’t make fun of me) LOL (each leg)
- Then after being comfortable with step 1 (which took some time for me), I would again start from the bottom and push my self up using my arms/hands and then go back down slowly in that same position (this helped me to get used to pushing myself up on one leg) I still run into difficulties with this sometimes because it is harder and especially after you have done like 10 reps.. your legs get tired. LOL (each leg)
- Finally after being comfortable with step 2, I would then start from from the top and and slowly descend downward while extending my non-working leg. and do this for a number of sets and reps on each leg.
After a while you get the movement down, I use my hands/arms sometimes to touch my toes while descending into the pistol squat position. This might be considered weird, but how I train myself is never normal. lol. I do things that work for me. before doing any of this, I obviously did strength exercises to strengthen my core and muscles that are needed. & worked on balance. With this all being said, mine are not always perfect (especially when I rush through them) , like today I fell on my butt when performing them because I lost balance and that will happen. I have been continuing working on them though because I want to get even better and start challenging myself with dumbbells, barbell and doing them on unstable surfaces.
Hopefully all of this information has helped someone and will be helpful to others who want to learn how to perform them. Like I said, everyone learns differently, my way might not help you and that is okay, find what does. Good luck! and if you have any questions, feel free to contact me. Share, like, comment & follow me!