Join the tribe of Movement & Calisthenics Athletes – people just like you that are working with their own body weight to get strength, lose fat build muscle, recover from injuries and live their best lives!
Work your way to a full pistol squat with one leg half-squat balance with foot behind exercise!
I know, its name’s quite a mouthful but its benefits are also plentiful! Whether your building muscle or strength in your lower body, this exercise should be in your arsenal.
Regular squat to pistol squat is quite a huge jump. Even if you can do 50 reps of regular squats, it would still be a challenge to move to pistol squats. The key here is progression.
One progression to take is this exercise right here. Like the pistol squat, it’s a unilateral exercise, meaning you’re going to train one leg at a time. This will enhance your balance while balancing out any muscle imbalances of each leg.
The exercise has a smaller range of motion compared to the full pistol squat. In the meantime, it will help you grow stronger and more balanced while you’re working your way towards the pistol goal.
Take your time. Learn the progression. Experienced the gains and you’ll soon reach your lower body goals!
HOW TO KNOW WHEN IT’S SAFE TO ATTEMPT?
You have two components to check if you’re ready to attempt the exercise: strength and balance.
For the balance, you should be able to hold your leg behind your back and stand on one leg for a minimum of 30 seconds. Sounds easy? Try it out yourself. You might be surprised that it requires a lot more concentration and coordination than you expected.
For the strength, you must be comfortable doing Bulgarian split squats already. This is almost the exercise we are aiming for minus the balance component.
- Unilateral exercise to balance any strength and muscle imbalances in each leg
- Prepares you for the pistol squats
- Improves your balance
- Increases lower body mobility
- Engages the core
- Strengthens the posterior chain of the lower body
How to Perform
- Begin standing up straight, bend right knee and grab foot with your right hand.
- Keeping chest up and back straight, squat down on left leg while maintaining good balance.
- Extend left leg, stand back up straight.
- Repeat specified repetitions on left leg, then switch to right leg.
Keep in mind
Engage your core
You might be too focused on your legs. Don’t forget to engage your core as this assists in your balance. It also provides full body tension making each repetition more than just a lower body workout.
Do your warm-up
It might be very tempting to jump already to your main workout but this might only lead to injury and poor gains. Warm-up has its purpose. It prepares your body for the bigger, more complex movements ahead. Do your warm-ups especially your ankle mobility.
Right hand hold right foot
Right leg bent
Stand of left leg
Bent at left knee
Knee over foot
Left knee extend