The pistol squat is simply the best exercise when using your own bodyweight to train your legs. It involves not only leg strength but your core, balance and coordination.

Why should you try the pistol squat? As you improve, you’ll notice that the entire movement takes you through a considerable range of motion. This will result in improving the flexibility of both your joints and your ligaments, leading to more mobility in your day to day life.

If you haven’t done one before try doing these exercises to progress to a full pistol squat.

First, you must master the bodyweight squat and become familiar with the bottom position of the movement which will translate to the pistol squat, make sure that you can rip off 20 bodyweight squats using proper form before moving on. To be sure, have a friend watch your form or use a mirror. Face the mirror first, and then double check your form from the side.

Now that you’ve done that, you are ready to move onto the next progression.

  • At the bottom position of the bodyweight squat, shift your bodyweight to one leg
  • Now, slowly extend the other leg out in front of you. If you have someone with you, you may need their assistance to keep you upright. You can also use a TRX if available
  • Hold for five seconds
  • Work your way up to holds for 15 seconds

After you’ve conquered this position and can hold for 15 seconds, you’ll have developed enough balance, strength and mobility to move on and attempt the movement from the top.

  • Set up a box, regular chair or stool and stand in front of it
  • Choose the leg you’re going to start with and hold your arms out in front of you to help with your balance
  • Descending slowly and in a controlled manner, lower yourself until you touch the surface of the chair or stool
  • Remain focused on your breathing and push back up
  • Now do the other leg
  • Gradually increase your reps until you are up to 5 per leg

That’s it! Now you you’re ready to try the pistol squat without any assistance. Follow the above steps but without the box, chair or stool.