4 Steps To Pistol Squats

A step-by-step guide from our Trainer Samantha Stefanski on how to go from “I want to pistol squat,” to “Pistol squats are easy as pie.”

To beast this exercise you’re going to need heaps of strength, flexibility, and the ability to laugh at yourself when you fall over. We want to minimise this goal into bite size portions that’ll help you progress quickly and get you pistol squatting like a pro.

1. Work-On Leg Strength

You’ll need to build up some strength at first, to be able to do single-legged movements. Use unilateral movements, those that just work one limb at a time, such as:

  1. Single Legged Leg Press
  2. Romanian Deadlifts and Single Leg Deadlifts

Remember progression is everything. Choose a weight that is comfortable and aim for increasing it each session.

2. TRX Magic and Stability

First start with:

  1. Single Legged Get Ups from a bench (keep lowering the bench as you progress)
  2. Assisted Pistols (using a towel and a pole or post)
  3. TRX Pistols

Try to add dumbbells with your single legged get ups, as that will increase the strength and mobility of your hip and thigh muscles. As you get more comfortable, start using TRX bands, or even using a towel around a pole. Sit in the bottom of the movement, dropping as close to the floor as possible. You’ll want to pause there for 20 seconds or so, then push up into standing position. This will ease you into the motion of a pistol squat.

3. Strengthening Your Core

Pistol squats are extremely dependent on the strength of your core. You’ll need to keep your core tight for balance. This is where you could fall on your butt. If your core isn’t up to par, you’ll want to build it up with:

  1. Any type of Plank. Add a bosu ball to help increase your balance and recruit more muscles into the exercise.
  2. Stability Ball Pikes

The more engaged your core, the better.

4. Let’s Talk About Shoes

Most running shoes are padded with high soles, perfect for running, but the opposite of what you want for pistol squats. You’ll want to wear flat shoes so that you have a better base to balance on.

With these tips and tools you should be able to progress quickly and comfortably rep out on some pistol squats. Let us know how you’re doing and we’ll be able to help you along the way!