How to do a pistol squat
Bodyweight training can have its limitations when training the lower body and it is generally recommended to stick with Barbell Squats and Deadlifts if possible. Bodyweight squats become too easy pretty quickly so to make it more challenging we are going to work up to performing them on one leg. If you are training from home the pistol squat is a great exercise which is going to challenge your lower body strength, balance and mobility.
Deep Bodyweight Squat
Your feet should be around shoulder width apart with your toes pointing forward or slightly outwards. Lower down to get into the deepest squat you can. Keep your back straight as you go through the movement and your knees over your toes by not letting your knees cave inwards. Perform for reps and get comfortable in this position, if you find your form breaking in between reps simply reset your form before you start again.
Bulgarian Split Squat
This exercise is going to help build up the single leg strength we need for the pistol squat. You need a raised surface like a bench, but a sofa, step or a stool can work too. Keep your hip, knee and feet in line and raise your non working leg on the raised surface. Lower down until your knee almost touches the floor and push back up through your heel.
Partial ROM Pistol Squat
Grab yourself a chair or use a surface of similar height. Keep your hands and non-working leg out in front of you and lower your body towards the chair. Push back up through your heel before you fully sit down. It can be useful to stick with this progression for a while by slowly lowering the surface when you are comfortable as this will help bridge the gap to the full Pistol Squat.
Keep your hands and non-working leg out in front and lower down sending your hips backwards and downwards. Try to keep your back straight however some rounding is normal. You want to aim for full depth with your hip below your knee. Push back up through your heel into the starting position.