How To Do Pistol Squat

Pistol Squat Exercise

Pistol Squat is an effective exercise for building the quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteus muscles and calves.

It also activates the core muscles to help your body maintain balance and support the lower back from sudden shifts in bodyweight.

This is a unilateral exercise; you have to work one leg at a time.

You may have one dominant leg over the other or you may have nagging injuries in your ankle and knees.

If you are starting to learn Pistol Squat, hold on to a pole for balance or use the edge of a box so you can bring your leg down lower.

When you have developed enough leg strength or flexibility in your heels and ankles then you can transition to Pistol Squat.

Pistol Squat Progression & Mobility

  • Assume a hip width position.
  • Lift one leg and extend it forward. Reach forward to your toe with the same-side arm.
  • Simultaneously push your hips back and raise the opposite arm up as you descend to the bottom position of Pistol Squat.
  • At the bottom position, you should be leaning forward slightly with your shoulders rounded. The opposite arm remains extended for balance and the supporting foot is firmly planted on the floor. Your knee should be tracking over the supporting foot. The extended leg must remain elevated off the floor.
  • To squat up, push your supporting foot hard on the floor, extend your knee and maintain balance throughout the exercise.
  • You can work one leg at a time or alternately. Repeat the exercise until you’ve completed the targeted number of reps or time interval.

Faults, Form and Technique

A common fault on Pistol Squat is coming down to the bottom position on your toes.

This will put you out of balance and expose your hips and knees to injury.

Variations: Bulgarian Split Squat, Air Squats