You all know I love my fitness tricks, and the pistol squat was the very first one I learned. Oh, the memories.
It looks like one of those impossible feats, but it’s just like anything else – you work your way up. Nobody just does a perfect pistol squat right off the bat. I mean, except me. I need to keep my reputation, ya know.
To do a pistol squat, the two things I think are most important might surprise you.
Why stability? Well, why the heck not?! Stability will keep you from falling over when you do get down into that pistol squat. We all know how humiliating it is to have to balance when you simply CAN’T, so now you have to balance AND go up and down like a one-legged push pop?! Even worse. But if you work on balance by activating your core and maintaining control of your body, and if you believe in yourself, you’ll be able to increase your stability and accomplish all sorts of feats.
On to our second point. Personally, I think pistol squats have less to do with leg strength than most people think. Of course, you do need to have strength in your leg to propel yourself back up. However, if you can’t even get down low enough to begin with, you can have all the leg strength in the world, you still won’t be able to do a pistol squat. I recommend stretching your hips and glutes to allow you to get into a full pistol squat. Flexibility comes naturally to some, but very unnaturally to most. So work on it! And maybe one day you’ll stop rolling your eyes every time we say “kicker stretch.”
Now that we’ve covered the foundation, let’s go step by step on how to do a pistol squat, shall we?
- Balance on one leg
- Extend the other leg in front of you
- Bend the knee on your standing leg, lowering yourself down into a squat position
- Get lower, you’re probably not low enough
- Engage your core
- Press up from your standing foot to come back to the top
- Keep your other leg elevated
- Okay put it down now
- You’re done
See? In 10 easy steps, you too can do a pistol squat!