Potential Pistol Squat Alternative for those with lower back issues

xagunos

Level 6 Valued Member
I have been scouring the internet to see if this exercise has been done as a legitimate strength builder and haven't found much.

Basically what I am referring to is a Single-Leg Hindu Squat.

PLEASE BE PATIENT WITH THIS EXERCISE FOR YOUR KNEES' SAKE!
  1. Begin by standing on one foot (flat).
  2. While keeping the torso vertical and spine neutral, initiate the movement by breaking at the knee, squatting down with control to full depth letting your heel naturally raise as you enter the bottom position.*
  3. From the bottom position, reverse the motion by carefully squatting back from the balls of your foot into the flat-footed position all while again keeping a vertical torso and neutral spine.
The heel-elevated pistol is a fine progression for this exercise however I find the main benefit in attaining the SLHS is the leg strength gained. The simple focus on keeping the torso vertical is quite challenging as any shift forward can make the movement drastically easier.

*99% of people regardless of individual anthropometry and mobility development will be unable to keep a flat foot and vertical torso at the bottom of a pistol hence why it is permissible for the heel to raise.

 
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bluejeff

Level 6 Valued Member
Video?
I find the cons of the pistol are removed by performing from a raised surface - let the free leg hang for less flexibility demands
This. I would add doing them at reduced ROM using a chair or box too. The Hindu squat is a great move, but not an "entry-level" move for many people. So imo a single leg hindu squat would come with a list of prerequisite moves to be proficient at and pain-free from at first. Including high rep regular hindu squats.

Also, I get the need/desire to work around issues (I've been there many times!), but i think it would be best to also fix the issues preventing oneself from doing the actual skill correctly in the first place.
 

xagunos

Level 6 Valued Member
Video?
I find the cons of the pistol are removed by performing from a raised surface - let the free leg hang for less flexibility demands
I'll post one later.

I agree with you completely on a deep single-leg step-up being ideal however the SLHS is always accessible as all you need is the floor.
 

North Coast Miller

Level 7 Valued Member
Video?
I find the cons of the pistol are removed by performing from a raised surface - let the free leg hang for less flexibility demands

This right here. Not only is it much more of a practical movement but it 100% eliminates all concerns re Lumbar flexion. Step-ups or Skater Squats make a lot more sense, and they can be done off the ball of the foot as well.
 

xagunos

Level 6 Valued Member
This right here. Not only is it much more of a practical movement but it 100% eliminates all concerns re Lumbar flexion. Step-ups or Skater Squats make a lot more sense, and they can be done off the ball of the foot as well.
If done elevated with full range of motion then yes.
 

bluejeff

Level 6 Valued Member
I always thought a little lumbar flexion wasn't as big a deal when it's an unweighted exercise?
I agree with this. I'm sure there's a lot of grey area, but my thinking is that if something that's not meant to put much strain on your back (like pistol squats) makes your back hurt, then you have bigger issues to think about than how to do that exercise.
 

xagunos

Level 6 Valued Member
I always thought a little lumbar flexion wasn't as big a deal when it's an unweighted exercise?
This is a continuation of a previous post. Lumbar flexion is completely normal and healthy but for some who experience pain, it may not be doable right out the gate.
 
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North Coast Miller

Level 7 Valued Member
I always thought a little lumbar flexion wasn't as big a deal when it's an unweighted exercise?
It isn't, or at least I don't believe it to be. Although the difference between weighted and unweighted really comes down to leverages and not actual external load vs your own weight.

From my POV you have options that are not mechanically similar to actual day-to-day movement and ones that are. Also you have varying amounts of balance component.
 

xagunos

Level 6 Valued Member
Some people just can't have lumbar flexion without pain.
I believe 99% of people can work toward pain-free lumbar flexion.

The SLHS, heel-elevated pistol or deep step-up may be suitable for those who experience pain but those people should not turn a blind eye to the pain forever and should look to progress towards pain-free positions over time.

If you cannot flex the spine through natural ranges of motion such as a deep squat, you have bigger problems than getting stronger at pistols.
 
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