How To Learn Pistol Squats

How To Learn Pistol Squats

Pistols are no joke! it's a single leg squat with all your freaking body weight!

You don’t learn pistol squats by slamming yourself into a pistol squat… unless you want to hurt your knees, throw your back out of alignment, and develop a bad attitude towards pistols.

If you cannot do pistols on 1 or both sides, then welcome this is an opportunity to tackle weaknesses!

I made 2 training plans (scroll below) to help you become stronger, more stable and more mobile! Select the one that is appropriate for your current situation. Do it 2x/week on non-consecutive days.



Training Plan to Help Decrease Pain &/or Stiffness:

  1. L-sit Prep: Get the hips back. 5 x 10s.
  2. Gastroc stretch 30s/leg
  3. Assisted Pistols: 3 sets of 5 per leg. Hang onto something and only squat down as far as you are pain free. Connect to your inner quad and your glute max so you can get strong & confident in this pain-free range.
  4. Standing Hip Flexor Holds: Hang onto something and raise your leg as high as you can keep it straight with your hips square. Hold 10s. Do 3 sets of 10s/leg.
  5. Stool Step Ups: Hang onto the wall for support if you need. Bang out 3 sets of 30 per leg. The intent is to feel HEAT in your glute max
  6. Seated Hip Flexor Raises: sit on yoga block, raise straight leg 5x. Don’t lean back. 3 sets of 5/leg.
  7. Seated Hip Flexor Holds: sit on yoga block, raise straight leg and hold 10s/leg. Don’t lean back.


Training Plan to Learn Pistols:

1. L-Sits
a) L-sit Prep: Get hips back! 2 x 20s.
b) Lifted L-sit: legs straight! 2 x 10s.

2. Calf Stretches
a) Gastroc Stretch: 30s/leg
b) Soleus Stretch: 30s/leg

3. Assisted Pistols: Hang onto something. Full depth. 3 sets of 5 per leg.

4. Hip Flexors (Standing)
a) Standing Hip Flexor Hold: Keep hips square and hold your straight leg. 15s/side
b) Standing Hip Flexor Raises: 3x10 raises per leg. Legs Straight, Hips Square.

5. Step-Ups
a) Stool Step-Ups: Hang onto wall if needed. 30/leg: goal: feel HEAT in your glute max.
b) Box Step-Ups: try not to jump up. 3 sets of 5 controlled reps per leg. If it’s easy, use a higher box.

6. Hip Flexors (Seated)
a) Seated Hip Flexor Raises: sit on yoga block, raise straight leg 5x. Don’t lean back. 3 sets of 5/leg.
b) Seated Hip Flexor Holds: sit on yoga block, raise straight leg and hold 10s/leg. Don’t lean back.

7. Pistol Bottom Position Drills
a) Bottom Position Hold: grab toe. Try to let go and hold 10s. Do both sides. Bonus: do 5 hip flexor raises per leg in this position.
b) Bottom Position Pistol Roll-Ups: 3 per side.

8. Pistols: Start with shoes to elevate your heel (easier), or do it in the bath tub.
a) Try the eccentric and see if you can hold the bottom position. 3-5 solid attempts per side.
b) Whilst in the bottom position, push your hands into the ground to help yourself back up. 3-5 solid attempts per side.


If you need a good kick in the arse, I’d be happy to be of service 🤪. Check out my Strength Academy for help with fixing imbalances. The academy even has a comprehensive pistol squat clinic (unit 45)!

Strength Academy: This core training program focuses on learning how to engage and strengthen the pelvic floor & TVA. It’s also the first step to correcting muscle imbalances that contribute to issues ranging from urinary incontinence and diastasis recti, to low back pain and mobility restrictions. New members are welcome!




Welcome! If you want to learn how to MOVE and EAT BETTER, you've come to the right place! I'm Dr. Sara Solomon. I'm a certified StrongFit coach and an intermittent fasting expert. I have degrees in dentistry (DMD) and physiotherapy (BSc PT), and I'm also a Pilates Mat Level 1 Instructor, CrossFit Level 1 Trainer (2016-2021), ACE personal trainer, NASM fitness nutrition specialist, a Mad Dogg Spinning Instructor, and a certified level 2 Buddy Lee Jump Rope Trainer and Ambassador. I'm a BSN Supplements and Til You Collapse sponsored athlete. My passion is helping people overcome restrictive diets and muscle imbalances so they can FEEL their very best!

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