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Pistol Squat Your Way to a Strong and Lean Body

Athletes in Motion
Athletes in Motion
October 19, 2017
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Do you think your legs are strong? If so, we at American Grit challenge you to an un-weighted exercise to prove it to us, the pistol squat. If you can already do this ninja-like move, you have probably been working for weeks, months, maybe even years to master it. The pistol squat is a very advanced exercise that many of the fittest people you know can’t even do.In fact, the pistol squat may be the most challenging unilateral, bodyweight exercise on the face of the Earth. If you master pistol squats, people will know that you stroll around every day on iron pegs.Pistol squats aren’t just a “show-off” exercise. They are greatly beneficial to your leg and core strength, balance, mobility, plus they help to eliminate muscular imbalances thus providing you with muscular symmetry.

If you think you are ready to try a full pistol squat, here’s how to do it. If you want to challenge yourself in the coming weeks to be able to rep these out, you’ll find progressions in the trainer tips section!

How To Do The Pistol Squat:

  1. Begin in an athletic stance. Raise one foot slightly off the ground while balancing on the other.
  2. Hold your arms straight out in front of you with your palms facing down.
  3. Begin the movement by bracing your core and then hinging at the hips to lower your body toward the ground. You must have superior balance on your balance foot. The heel of your balance foot should never leave the ground.
  4. Your other leg should be extending straight out in front of you parallel to the ground as you move further down.
  5. At the bottom of the movement, your glute should be resting on your calf.
  6. One you reach the bottom, pause and then begin moving back into standing position.
  7. Don’t let your raised foot touch the floor before beginning the next repetition. Complete the desired number of repetitions.
  8. Switch legs and repeat.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NvOuty_FncTrainer Tips:Here are just three of many progression exercises that you can use to prepare you for an actual pistol squat without assistance:Box or bench progression:Stand in front of a box or flat bench. You will use the flat surface to sit down on as you perform the pistol squat sequence from above. Move all the way down until you actually sit on the box. Take a very brief pause and begin moving back up to standing position. Find boxes that are lower and lower to the ground until you are strong enough to not use one at all.TRX progression: Hold onto a TRX strap either with one hand or both keeping tension in the strap. Then perform the pistol squat as described above. Only use the tension in the rope as needed to speed up the process. Rack progression: Stand in front of a power rack. Grab it with your hands. Make sure you can extend one leg out to the side of it. You need adequate space. Lower yourself down into the pistol squat. Then use your arms for assistance to work back up to standing position.

Sample Exercise Plan:

  • Pistol squats or progressions 2 sets of 5-10 on each leg (increase reps as you get stronger)
  • Barbell hip thrusters 4 sets of 8
  • Barbell squats 4 sets of 8
  • Dumbbell Romanian deadlifts 4 sets of 8
  • Weighted walking lunges 3 sets of 10 paces each direction (1 minute rest between sets)
  • TRX alternating jump lunges 2 sets of 10 on each leg
  • TRX jump squats 2 sets of 10 on each leg
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