Active or static flexibility for The Pistol squat?

Discussion in 'Flexibility, Mobility, and Movement' started by JoshuaH86, Dec 24, 2017.

  1. JoshuaH86

    JoshuaH86 Double-Digit Post Count

    Hello all,
    Apologies if this particular question has been covered, but I'm at a plateau with my pistols because of my tight free leg. To keep my dangling heel from jamming into the ground, should I be doing active stretches, such as hand kicks, or static, as in PNF ham stretches? Once I can set my course of action for this fix, it's smooth sailing!
    Thank you Comrades!
  2. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Director of Community Engagement and Forum Admin Staff Member Senior Instructor

    @JoshuaH86, I'm going to move this thread to the flexibility section.

    I will suggest something that sounds simple but you'll need to practice it regularly. Here are the steps:

    1. If you're familiar with the FMS, there is a stand-over type of test where you pick up one foot and walk over a low barrier in front of you. I mention that because you need to be equally strict here. The job is to pick up your one leg, without excessive lean backward or sideways, and place your heel on an object of an appropriate height. You'll pick up your leg with a bent knee and then straighten your knee as you place your foot on the object. For purposes of this explanation, let's assume it's a dining room chair - stand in front of the dining room chair, at a distance so that you can put your foot somewhere on the seat of the chair. The chair needs to have a firm seat, and you need to pick your foot up and put it down as I've described - if you're swinging your leg at all, or taking it out to the side, or anything like that, the height you've chosen is too great for you - pick something lower.

    2. Standing nice and tall, drive through the heel of the outstretched foot. If you get close to horizontal, you'll be driving your heel away from you, but if you're at some angle, it will be at whatever angle that is. Do this in socks and on a chair with a firm surface so that you can slide your foot if you're able.

    3. Relax, and lean forward from your belly button while remaining tall. Do not just try to touch your foot or fold your back forward but rather try to move your navel towards the foot of your outstretched leg. Pulse in sync with your breath, and when you exhale, try to go a little further. Don't do a ton of this - two or three breaths are sufficient.

    4. Remaining tall, lift your outstretched leg up and return it to the ground, and repeat the process with the other leg.

    Over time, work on using higher and higher objects. Your progress will come primarily from being able to lift your foot/leg onto and off the object - the idea is that you have some room to spare because you've chosen an object height that's a little less than what you could do at max while retaining good form. The progress will come as your body learns that you can demonstrate strength in this position, so you'll be "allowed" to place your leg on something higher over time.

    There is more - again, one could write a long article or a short book on how to do this - but please give that a try. You could call it PNF, and it is, but it's also more.

    Phil12, JoshuaH86, Anna C and 4 others like this.
  3. JoshuaH86

    JoshuaH86 Double-Digit Post Count

    Thank you, Steve! Is this a daily drill or a few times a week?
  4. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Director of Community Engagement and Forum Admin Staff Member Senior Instructor

    I do it several times a day. How often you can do it depends on how hard you push yourself each time.

  5. JoshuaH86

    JoshuaH86 Double-Digit Post Count

    Ok, that's great! I'm doing box pistols on a fairly low box, it's also just low enough that I can't keep the free leg off the ground. Does it matter what time I do these in relation to my GTG sets of box pistols?
  6. Oscar

    Oscar Strong, Powerful Member of the Forum

    Joshua, an alternative that works good for me is to stand on an elevation, so that the free leg doesn't touch the ground. As little as a few inches works for me. Actually I can do pistols like this but not standing on the floor yet. Have you tried this?

    When my wife is not watching I do them on the living room table.
    JoshuaH86 likes this.
  7. JoshuaH86

    JoshuaH86 Double-Digit Post Count

    Thanks Oscar! I have tried it. I've been doing box pistols with a small platform under my foot to accomidate my inflexibility.
    Oscar likes this.
  8. sizzlefuzz

    sizzlefuzz Strong Member of the Forum

    PNF on the calves 1-2 times a day has worked wonders for me in the past couple of weeks. I suppose it depends on where your weakness lies.

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