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:
- L-sit Prep: Get the hips back. 5 x 10s.
- Gastroc stretch 30s/leg
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- Seated Hip Flexor Raises: sit on yoga block, raise straight leg 5x. Don’t lean back. 3 sets of 5/leg.
- Seated Hip Flexor Holds: sit on yoga block, raise straight leg and hold 10s/leg. Don’t lean back.
Training Plan to Learn Pistols:
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.
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!