Pistol Progressions

One movement we haven’t traditionally done often in classes is the pistol, aka single leg squat. We generally work on single leg strength in other ways, such as lunges and step ups. Many of you are currently at home without much or any equipment, and have expressed concern that you are going to lose strength during your time away from barbells.

Pistols are a fantastic way to both work on strength and balance between right and left. Think lunges are easy? Pistols are not. Here is a list, from easiest to hardest, of progressions you can use when we prescribe “10 minutes of practice” or when you see pistols appear in a WOD.

1. Reverse lunge – shorten your step back until these become more challenging – make sure you keep your whole working foot on the ground (don’t let yourself shift onto your toe)

2. Single leg squat with non-working foot wrapped around working side’s ankle

3. Single leg squat with non-working foot on top of working side’s toe

4. Single leg squat to a box – lower the box over time until you are able to sit down and stand up on one leg, in control, on both sides

5. Single leg squat with non-working leg on a slider in front of you

6. Single leg squat with working leg on a low box

7. Single leg squat aka pistol with working heel elevated (small plate, 1″, or lifting shoe)

8. Pistol with counterweight held in front of you

9. Pistol unscaled

10. Pistol jumps – do a pistol, jump sideways over something, land on one leg, go into another pistol, another jump…etc.

11. Pistol holding PVC or barbell overhead

Check our Instagram profile, where we saved a story to highlights that demonstrates most of the beginning steps!

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