Pistol squats – why you should do them and why climbers should do them?

Pistol squat or one leg squat is the master of the masters in the world of leg exercises. It requires not only strength but also a great balance, flexibility, coordination and control over the hips muscles.

Squating on one leg is like a back squat with your bodyweight on the barbell – and you don’t need any equipment.

pistol

 

Why is it great for climbers? Do you remember all situations where you had to put your leg high and then  stand? Or you were sitting on your leg with no holds and had to stand? Well – pistol squats can help in this situations, because they will give you enough strength to stand up using only one leg.

 
To perform pistol squat you need good ankle dorsiflexion, so don’t start before you can perform ass to the grass two leg squat, with legs spread on your shoulders width and without your feet leaving the ground. If you can do that, but you can’t do a pistol squat, then I recommend this progressions:

 

  1. Negative one leg squat while holding a pole, box, ring, at home you can simply use wall or a chair.

Just grab your help, put one leg in front of you and squat down. The pole should help you with balance, stability but also you can put off some weight (more or less depending on how much you use the pole with your hand – I find it very helpful because you can scale the difficulty of the exercises with just your arm).

  1. Up and down one leg squat while holding a pole, box, ring, at home you can simply use wall or a chair…

Just like above, but do the full squat: up and down. Try to use as little help from the pole as possible

  1. Box pistol squat.

Stand on the box, one foot close to the edge and one outside the box. Squat letting your “not working foot” get below.

  1. Pistol squat

Ok – now you should be ready for pistols  🙂

 

I’ll try to record some videos soon, to show exactly what I mean.

 

Here I can show you my pistol squat with added weight

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