Pistol Progression Part 2

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Pistol Progression Part 2

Progressing from our the first instalment of Pistol Squat progressions it is important to ensure that you are able to complete the movements in part #1.   The series of movements in the following progressions have added intensity and require greater flexibility, stability and strength as we work our way to completing a Full Pistol.


Elevated Pistol

 During the elevated pistol, you will stand on top of a box with one leg hanging off the side. As you squat down your free leg can dangle down below the box thus reducing the required hip flexion that is needed in the full pistol. As you increase capacity in this movement, progress down to a lower box which will increase the need for greater hip flexibility in the free leg.

This movement can also be assisted by a plate as a counterbalance forward.


Rolling Pistol

This movement will add speed to the pistol and allow you to work on the bottom position without loading from the top down. Starting in a standing position, squat down bring your arms overhead, rolling onto your shoulders and the upper part of your back. As you begin to roll drive your toes up to the sky in front of you. To keep the momentum, it’s important not to bend at the hip or let your toes go beyond your head.   When you begin to transfer your momentum forward think about pulling your nose down and hips up as if you were trying to continue into a forward roll. On the forward part of the movement look to do a quick sit-up and tuck as you drive your posting leg heel to your butt to create a fast rotation to your foot.

If you have trouble creating or maintain momentum through the movement, try holding onto a 10 or 15lbs plate in an Assisted Rolling Pistol.


Plate Pistol

We’re almost there! This progression will help to solve balance and/or mobility issues throughout the Pistol. The external load serves as a counterbalance as your center of mass shifts in weight.  We have used this on and elevated surface and in the rolling Pistol. The Plate offers more assistance because the rotation of your torso helps reach your hip to end range of flexion sooner in the Pistol.

As you work through this progression and get better at it, you can reduce the weight to challenge your flexibility, stability and strength


These progressions will build the strength, balance, and body awareness required for completing a Pistol squat. In part 3 of our series we will provide some tools to use to increase your mobility and flexibility in the hips and ankles.

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