How to do One Leg Squats!

Posted on October 1st, 2012 at 5:19 pm by


by Logan Christopher from

One legged squats, also known as pistols, aren’t the greatest muscle building exercise. But if you’re looking for something different whether to take a break from back squats, or you want something that will also challenge your flexibility, coordination and balance, than one legged squats are it.


In order to do pistols it is important that you learn how to squat down fully on two legs. This means butt to heels, or as close as you possibly can. This may be a tough position if you’ve only ever worked on going to parallel and no further.

If you can’t do this then just work on squatting further down. There are several tips and tricks to improve your flexibility, to open your hips and hamstrings, but for the rest of this article I’ll assume you can at least do this basic move.

Next we move onto another helpful lead-up stunt to the one legged squat. This one still involves two legs but is done in a much more challenging matter. It is a squat with the feet, ankles and knees together. With this small base your balance and flexibility needs increase quite a bit. If you can’t go down all the way just keep working at it.

Legs Together Squat

Now we’ll actually move onto the one legged squat. The truth is most people, if you’ve been training with weights, will have the strength to do this movement, but they may not have the rest of what it takes.

Here are three approaches you can take. Also be sure to train both legs.

Partial or Box One Legged Squats

Setup boxes behind you. Stand up straight on one leg. Squat down, until your butt touches the box then stand up. When this is easy, lower the box and continue. Eventually following this progression you’ll make your way all the way down.

Box Pistol

Start at Bottom

Do the two legged feet together squat. From here raise one leg and foot up off the ground to point straight in front of you. If you can do this and hold the position, then you can probably do the positive portion of the movement.


If you’re massive there’s a good chance you won’t have the flexibility to be able to center your gravity over your foot. To assist in this you can hold a small counterweight in your hands. This will help you descend and come back up. It can also be combined with the other methods.

Counterweight Pistol

If you work consistently at this movement you should have it in no time. It’s an impressive skill that few people can do, and a great exercise when you’re on the road and have no equipment available to train your legs.

There really is much more to the pistol and related movements than we’ve covered here, but if you put these exercises into practice you will attain a one legged squat guaranteed.

Author Bio
Logan is an experienced physical culturist that started his passion for gymnastics from his high school time.  You can read the knowledge he shares with us on his personal website where you can learn things like how to do a backflip and many more.

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