Become a Pistolero

Whether you seek to master your bodyweight, develop the kicking power of a martial arts legend or freedom from the gym the single leg squat a.k.a. “Pistol” may be just what you’re looking for.

At first glance everyone has the same reaction… Their eyes bulge, the jaw drops and then finally comes the statement “That can’t be safe!”  We’ll, if it’s not safe… you’re not doing it right.

The Pistol is a  POWERFUL tool and like any powerful tool, when used improperly it can have unintended consequences. So reinvent the wheel or in this case the pistol at your own risk because instruction in this technique is best left to the experts.

There are a few things to consider before taking on the pistol…

Progressions: The key to mastering this technique is the wise use of pistol progressions and regressions. Typically I advise starting by practicing partial pistols to an elevated surface such as a bench, or low step.

Squatting: If you can’t squat safely with two legs, then you’re obviously not ready for the pistol. By taking one leg out of the equation the pistol is basically twice as hard as a normal squat, not to mention the added challenge of balancing on one foot.

Knee Health: If your knees are already shot, then this technique is best kept on the shelf.

Flexibility: Your ankles, hips, Hamstrings, Back and even shoulders will need sufficient flexibility and mobility.
If you know you have serious flexibility or mobility issues in any of these areas then address them first.

Ab Strength: One common limiting factor is the ability to maintain a high amount of abdominal tension long enough to complete the technique. This is especially true when adding a “heavy” weight to the pistol.

Want to Become a Pistolero? 
Check out the following excellent resources:

Owner of Omaha Elite Kettlebell: John Scott Stevens, RKCII, CKFMS

  • Read the Naked Warrior and watch it’s companion DVD to learn how to get strong anywhere using nothing but your own body-weight to master the one arm push-up or pistol.
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