The Perfect Pistol
The “Pistol” a perfect example of the synergy of strength and movement.
The art of the “pistol” or single legged squat is both powerful and a skilled movement.
The ability to stack the body on one leg, balance then use the strength to drive out of the bottom must be trained, practiced, mastered.
Strength or Mobility…
Two things are required to perform a pistol:
A) do you have the range of motion (ROM) or MOBILITY to lower yourself to the bottom of a single leg squat
B) do you have the strength in this ROM to stand up out of it
To check if you have the ROM to achieve a single squat hold a post and lower yourself to the bottom of the squat.
To see if you have the strength let go of the post and stand up.
Note: if you fall over or feel unbalanced you are missing A,B or possibly both.
You need to be mobile and strong!!!
Developing the ROM or MOBILITY required for a pistol.
If you have no problems bending your knee then you will look “upstream & downstream” to the ankle and the hip
Test: place a 1/2 inch plate under your heel and attempt a single leg squat
If you find you can maintain a more upright position and get down and up easier, then good chance you need to work on your ankle mobility and lengthening your achilles/calves.
If you are bent over the squatting leg or feel that you have to kick the opposite leg out to the side or backwards, you more than likely have tight hips/adductors.
Developing STRENGTH required for a pistol
Goal here is to develop strength at end range ie. at the bottom.
Single Leg Box Squat:
This exercise is my favourite for developing single leg strength as it gives you
a) a platform to lower yourself too (inspiring confidence)
b) great way to focus on knee tracking and keeping your body stacked.
c) Forces/encourages you to stand up from an optimal position at end range without the use of momentum. This means you cant bounce off the bottom and have to get into a more “organised” position to stand up.
Making good Pistols, GREAT!
Thats right just when you thought they couldn’t suck enough add load to them…
By adding weight to your pistol like any other loaded movement you are exaggerating the movement and building more strength/power on a single leg.
Find where your weak; strength, mobility or maybe even both develop these skills over time using the exercises above. Video blog to follow for more examples.