First time doing pistol squats

Starlord

Level 4 Valued Member
So for the first time ever I did pistol Squats today. Started off on a box, then dropped down to a low bench and then free standing.

Balance, coordination and mobility was definitely challenged during the execution of the lifts. Mainly maintaining perfectly straight and parallel out stretched leg.

I remember reading something not too long ago that learning new movements helps with mental plasticity. So now during the reimplementrd covid lockdown seems like a good time to learn some new movements.

I think I am going to use the next few weeks to work through the progressions for planche and handstand push ups too. See how far I can progress before these lockdown restrictions are lifted.

What carryover have you noted from doing pistol squats? How beneficial have they been to building your base?
 
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Don Fairbanks

SFG II
Certified Instructor
So for the first time ever I did pistol Squats today. Started off on a box, then dropped down to a low bench and then free standing.

Balance, coordination and mobility was definitely challenged during the execution of the lifts. Mainly maintaining perfectly straight and parallel out stretched leg.

I remember reading something not too long ago that learning new movements helps with mental plasticity. So now during the reimplementrd covid lockdown seems like a good time to learn some new movements.

I think I am going to use the next few weeks to work through the progressions for planche and handstand push ups too. See how far I can progress before these lockdown restrictions are lifted.
And yes on plasticity, and brain mass, which goes down with inactivity and up with physical activity. Daniel Wolpert has an excellent TED Talk on the subject.
 

Starlord

Level 4 Valued Member
And yes on plasticity, and brain mass, which goes down with inactivity and up with physical activity. Daniel Wolpert has an excellent TED Talk on the subject.

Something I am majorly interested in at the moment. I feel almost dull at the moment. Not helped by the lack of mental stimulation due to the covid situation.
 

GeoffreyLevens

Level 6 Valued Member
Not a fan of pistol squats though that could well be a personal mobility issue. They tend to make me do major butt-wink which leads to low back pain. So I prefer shrimp squats standing on a foot stool or box to give full mobility/ROM. That's just me though. YMMV
 

Starlord

Level 4 Valued Member
Not a fan of pistol squats though that could well be a personal mobility issue. They tend to make me do major butt-wink which leads to low back pain. So I prefer shrimp squats standing on a foot stool or box to give full mobility/ROM. That's just me though. YMMV

I like how you found an alternative instead of giving up entirely. What benefits have you noticed from the shrimp squats?
 

GeoffreyLevens

Level 6 Valued Member
I like how you found an alternative instead of giving up entirely. What benefits have you noticed from the shrimp squats?
Stronger legs, better balance, without the low back pain. Many years ago, when I was an avid snowboarder I was doing pistol squats, sets of 20, switching legs for 3 sets each leg total. On a mini-trampline (barefoot). I did that as warm up for riding my unicycle all as off season training. Made a very dramatic difference in my snowboarding over one summer for the next winter.
 

Kiacek

Level 7 Valued Member
So for the first time ever I did pistol Squats today. Started off on a box, then dropped down to a low bench and then free standing.
Congratulations on achieving your first Pistol @Starlord !

What carryover have you noted from doing pistol squats? How beneficial have they been to building your base?
Like @GeoffreyLevens , I personally like Airborne Lunges rather than Pistol Squats (YMMV).

But as far as single leg work is concerned: I worked up to around 25 consecutive reps (Deep Airborne Lunges) before I started adding weight. And the most I've ever added is 130lb for 3/3 (Normal Airborne).

The unweighted variety didn't do a whole lot for me other than create a base of stability and allow me to perfect my form before loading the pattern.

Once I started adding weight it became an incredible movement. Right now I'm focusing on the Kickstand Deadlift, so I've only been using 70lb in the Airbornes as a light warmup.

One last thing that may be worth mentioning is that your ideal squat depth for a single leg squat may be very different than your normal squat depth. Here is a video from Stuart McGill explaining the effect of skeletal anatomy on Squat Depth as it relates to different orientations on your femur:

 

Chrisdavisjr

Level 6 Valued Member
Pistols on an elevation so you don't have to cramp your hip flexors holding up the non-working leg are my preferred variation. They also make the balance component less challenging and permit a more upright torso, which can help if 'butt wink' is a problem.

Can't say I've experienced any increase in leg strength from doing them (probably because I'm a lightweight at around 66kg/145lbs) but they've certainly improved my balance and mobility.

Also, on the minus side, they're the only squat variation I've done that's caused pain in my knees (something I don't get from ATG barbell squats) but that's come from making coarse adjustments to my positioning while trying to push out of the bottom position before falling over: Trying to save a 'rep gone bad' in most exercises is a bad idea so I don't really blame pistol squats for that.
 

GeoffreyLevens

Level 6 Valued Member
Can't say I've experienced any increase in leg strength from doing them (probably because I'm a lightweight at around 66kg/145lbs) but they've certainly improved my balance and mobility.
I only weigh 115 though I think I weighed 120 when I was doing a lot of pistols. What I got was "strength-endurance". You can pull a lot of g-force on a snowboard and I mostly rode the stiff, deep sidecut, carving boards on groomed runs. You get going super fast, linking turns and you can really fry your quads in a hurry. I got so I could go non-stop from when they opened the lifts until they closed in the evening. I'd carry water and food on me and re-fuel on the lift. I think pistols (and unicycle riding) made that possible from the start of the season instead of having to work up to it.
 

IMayAgainKnowChris

Level 5 Valued Member
Something I am majorly interested in at the moment. I feel almost dull at the moment. Not helped by the lack of mental stimulation due to the covid situation.
I feel you but the opposite. Since I’ve been training consistently again I enjoy life much more. Am performing better at work, etc... it just sets me up for the day. Sort of the reason I meditate in the mornings too. Both just get my head in the right place.
 
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