Learn to do the Pistol Squat.

If you’ve ever seen a picture of someone doing Pistol Squats and thought that you could never do these, don’t worry, it’s actually quite easy. It’s really a one legged squat. You’ll not only do one squat, but plus ten squats per leg if you follow this proven program.

Pistol Squats
Pistol Squats

I remember years ago while doing military service, where I thought that I was fit and strong. I couldn’t get to the military base gym so I thought that I would do a body weight programme incorporating Pistol Squats for the first time, but to my surprise I couldn’t even do one. Because of this humbling disappointment, I worked on designing a program that has enabled me to complete 20 Pistol Squats per leg. I would like to share this program with you.

Doing Pistol Squats depends on your overall health though:

The program.

You can start at any level, depending on your strength levels, but if you can’t do one pistol squat then obviously start from beginner.

Just an important note: The secret of becoming a proficient Pistol Squater is breaking the barrier, ie. once you can do one squat, you will soon be able to to 20 if you continue with the program.

Warm up

Before starting any of the below routines throughly warm up with some body weight squats; straighten your arms ahead parallel to floor and connect your hands forming a pistol. You don’t have to form a pistol though if you’re got company. Sqaut all the way to the bottom and straight up again. Do 20 repetitions.

Phase 1

Stand on one leg between two supports, like a couple of lounge chairs, and support your body weight with both arms. Squat down as low as possible on one leg while keeping your other leg hovering just above the ground straight ahead. Support your body weight with your arms just enough so that your leg gets a good workout. Do ten repetitions per leg, just one set, that’s all that’s needed. Continue with phase 1 until you can control your body weight while lowering without arm support.

Pistol Squat with support

Phase 2

Stand next to something that is about hip height like a lounge chair, this is so that you can support your body weight again, but this time with one arm only. Don’t support your body weight while lowering your body to the ground. Be ready to catch your body weight in case it comes crashing down. Do ten repetitions per leg. If you can control your body weight while lowering you’ve completed phase 2.

Pistol Squats with support
Pistol Squats with support
Pistol Squats with support
Pistol Squats with support

Phase 3

Stand in an open flat area. Squat down as in phase 1 and 2 but without arm support, instead, shoot your arms ahead and connect your hands forming a pistol. Lower slowly and under control. Once at the bottom, with your other leg still hovering, try squat up. If you can’t, no problem, just use the other leg to stand up agin. Continue doing 10 repetitions per leg emphasising the lowering or eccentric phase only.


Now you’re close. Once you can complete one repetition lowering under control and squatting back up with assistance you have made it. Complete only as many reps as possible. For example, if you can complete only two full repetitions per workout, stop at two and try and get three or more next time. Balance will be a problem when doing many repetitions and fatigue sets in, simply re-balance when at the top position by putting your hovering leg back down.

Advanced phase

Once you can do ten full repetitions, you can re-load for some advanced movements:

Hand cannon squats. You’ve become too strong for your own body, Add some extra weight for a stronger you.

Pistol Squats with added weight
Pistol Squats with added weight top
Pistol Squats with added weight
Pistol Squats with added weight

Calf blasters. Stimulate the entire leg now by pumping the calf muscles at the top of the repetition.img_3783-1

Pistol Squats calf pump
Pistol Squats calf pump

Rapid fire Gun. You’re fit, you’re strong, but are you fast?

You’ve reached the pinicle of pistol squats, I’m sorry but I can’t offer any more advise.

But I can say, with everything, bring glory to God and remember; although you can master the Pistol Squat, what is the use of gaining the world but losing your soul, master your relationship with God too. 2 Peter 3:18

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

I hope you enjoy adding Pistol Squats to your workout routine.

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