Welcome back to the second part of our three part series on the pistol squat. This post will be focused on practicing the body weight pistol progressively over time. Please refer to our previous post on working hip and ankle mobility before you begin to tackle body weight pistol programming. If you’re all stretched out and mobilized, let’s move on into actually working the body weight pistol itself.
Let’s talk about increasing your leg strength. First, find an adjustable box jump and start squatting on to the box with one leg. You will sit down onto the box with one of your legs extended. Over time, you want to lower the box until you reach almost floor level. Once you progress that far down, you are ready for the body weight pistol squat. There aren’t a certain number of reps you need to focus on for this exercise; rather you are teaching your body the pattern of moment. The more your practice, the more your body will “lock in that pattern” and gain the strength over time for the full pistol. Now, there are a few things I would encourage you to take a note of here, and the first thing I will mention might sound a little weird. Stay with me, these three keys will make all the difference in your pistol squat mastery.
1.) If you stomp the foot you are about to perform a pistol with hard on the ground, you will increase the likelihood of your being able to control the lift. The reason for this is that the actual stomping on the ground wakes up thousands of sensory receptors in your feet. The better your sensory perception is with the ground, the better you will be able to feel grounded (forgive the redundancy) to the floor. You want to be able to sense that you have a solid grip with your foot as you bottom out in your pistol, form there, it’s all about maneuvering up and out of it.
2.) After stomping your feet on the ground, make sure that you maximally contract your quad and glute muscle on the leg you are about to perform a pistol on. You will notice that this is going to start to feed into your abdomen as well, which you will want to tense as much as you can, as if you were doing a plank on the ground. Centering your tension from your abdomen into the leg you will pistol on will help you maintain adequate control as you lower yourself down into the pistol. From there, all you’re going to have to do is apply some pressure into the ball of your foot to drive out of the squat. Be sure not to drive out of the pistol entirely off your heel, as this will cause you to fall backwards.
Let’s put all of this together here visually so you can see how to get the technique of this pistol practice down well.
On Friday we are going to go over programming weighted pistol squats and what you can expect from all your practice, persistence, and patience as you work towards a sizable pistol. Keep following along the blog folks! It’s about to get real! Until next time. . .
Master your instincts!