Pistol squat is one of the most advanced lower body exercises out there. It requires lots of strength, great mobility and proper technique as well as lots of patients combined with hard work while training for it! If you have never done pistol squats in past, you may be really overwhelmed trying to figure out how to do it for the first time. You can in fact be very strong and be able to perform relatively heavy back or front squats, yet still struggle with pistols. But don’t worry - I got you! In this article I will outline most effective pistol squat regressions that have helped many of my online clients master this unique exercise. Let’s take a look all of the steps!
STEP 1 - ASSISTED SQUAT. This is one of the easiest forms of squatting. Though, it is very useful since it allows you to take your hips, knees and ankles through full range of motion, thus get those joints ready for future progressions.
STEP 2 - HALF SQUAT. This regression will allow trainees new to squatting master the top part of the squat.
STEP 3 - FULL SQUAT. While this exercise might look fairly simple you would be amazed to see how many people struggle with it! Full squat requires decent range of motion in your ankles as well as strong shin muscles (anterior tibialis) that will keep your toes down during the set.
STEP 4 - GROG SQUAT. I suggest spending good amount of time on this variation since it will again strengthen your anterior tibialis and help you with the bottom of the pistol squat later on.
STEP 5 - PRISONER SQUAT. Having your hands behind your head will shift center of gravity back, which will make you work hard on keeping your toes down to prevent losing balance and falling back. Once again, putting emphasis on strengthening anterior tibialis.
STEP 6 - CLOSE SQUAT. Once I see my clients performing this exercise with good form, I can then take a pretty accurate guess on how soon will they be able to do a full pistol squat! Yes, it is that critical.
STEP 7 - GROG CLOSE SQUAT. Your shins will be burning - get ready!
STEP 8 - BOX PISTOL SQUAT. This regression will take care of your upper leg, strengthening major muscle groups like quads, hamstrings and glutes.
STEP 9 - GROG PISTOL SQUAT. This is one of the last steps that will once again help you strengthen your anterior tibialis and teach your body how to balance on one leg while keeping your resting leg up in the air working your lower core, hip flexors and upper quads.
STEP 10 - NEGATIVE PISTOL SQUAT. This should be the last peace of the puzzle for you! Learning how to pull yourself down into the bottom of a pistol squat instead of just dropping down will dramatically improve eccentric part of the movement and will help you prevent injuries in the long run.
Congrats, you made it! You are now ready to perform a FULL PISTOL SQUAT. You worked hard and patiently going through all of the 10 previous steps so you can now be able to put on a show at your local gym doing those bad ass looking pistol squats. Welcome to the club, partner!
NOTE: please keep in mind that everyone has different strength and mobility levels, so while I outlined the most effective regressions that helped dozens of my clients learn how to pistol squat, you may need to add an extra step or two to your program. In any case, please feel free to reach out to me with any questions!
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