Hey!!! I was wondering which one of these two exercises works the legs the hardest and the best (full range of motion, etc.). I know shrimp squats are much tougher than pistol squats, but I don’t know why, so I don’t want to jump fast at conclusions. Which one is better as a basic leg exercise???
Actually, it’s not that one’s harder than the other, they just have different focuses. The pistol is more like a traditional squat, while the shrimp is more like a lunge. The shrimp is more hamstring dominant, while the pistol is quad dominant. But both variations will definitely hit the entire leg. I personally find pistols more difficult than shrimps, and in general I find the pistol to be a better overall fit as a standard leg exercise. Unless you’re talking about the jumbo shrimp squat, the pistol wins out on range of motion. Furhermore, many other skills, such as bridges and levers, require a strong posterior chain (including the hamstrings). Since few bodyweight skills focus strongly on the quads, the pistol is more appropriate as a default leg exercise. But the shrimp is a great ancillary exercise!
Yes, far more. You have to actively generate tension in your posterior chain yo pull your body forward and up. Even to lean back into a bridge without falling you have to generate enough tension to counteract the force that would otherwise cause you to fall. If it were all about mobility then more people who could do a full bridge would be doing stand to stand bridges. Incidentally, it sort of does feel similar to a shrimp squat, but ultimately you have a lot more leverage in a shrimp squat because, even though you’re on one leg, your hips are not fully extended (as in the stand to stand bridge), which means more of your weight is forward by default. As a calisthenics athlete, probably the best 3 exercises for the lower body that one could do would be pistol squats, sprinting, and stand to stand bridges (or an even more advanced bridge variation). Barring the stand to stand bridge, shrimp squats and/or single leg deadlifts would complement pistols and sprinting nicely. Heck even “just” pistols and sprinting would be great, that’s more than I regularly do for my lower body.