Advanced Pistol Squatting

November 16, 2010 // Al Kavadlo

The pistol squat is a challenging exercise, but with consistent practice, it can become relatively easy. Once you can do 10 repetitions on each leg, you should try adding a new challenge.

My two favorite ways to do this are by bringing weights into the picture or adding a balance component. If you want to use weights, I recommend kettlebells, but dumbbells or barbells can also be effective. Start by holding the weight in front of you in the rack position. Once you get that down, you can try holding a weight overhead during a pistol squat.

If you choose to add a balance element to your pistol training, start by standing on a bosu ball or a half foam roller. For an extra challenge, you can try a pistol while standing on a bar.

Once you are ready to try a one legged squat on a bar, you’ll need to practice catching yourself so you can land safely if you lose your balance. For this reason, it is best to begin practicing with a low bar. Knowing how to bail out of a botched attempt without getting hurt is essential before trying a pistol squat on a high bar.

Attempting an exercise like a pistol squat on top of an 8 foot high bar might sound crazy, but with gradual progression it doesn’t have to be risky. Build your confidence little by little and you might find that the ability to overcome your fears on the bars will carry over into the rest of your life. When you find yourself doing things you once thought impossible, remember that our only limits are the ones we impose on ourselves.

Watch the video below for more: