Level 1 – Pistol Squat

In my experience working with clients, I’ve always had the most successfully progressing people with pistols once they’ve developed a basic level of leg strength through barbell squats. Despite this being apart from a Gymnastics strength program, we’ll be utilizing some weight training to develop bodyweight pistol squats to attain much-needed leg strength to perform pistols.

  • Current ability: Can you perform 5 reps of barbell back squat at your bodyweight with a good range of motion? If not, then you can start here at level 1 pistol squat progression. If you can perform 5 reps of bodyweight squat, you can move to level 2.
  • Goal: 5 reps of back squats at your bodyweight.
  • Notes: The primary purpose of this phase is to build you up to a bodyweight back squat. Being able to squat your body weight is a good (but not perfect) indicator that you have the base level of strength and coordination for a pistol.
  • How: Perform 2 or 3 workouts a week until you can perform 5 reps of bodyweight back squat.

Level 1 Pistol Squat Weekly Progression Workouts

StrengthHypertrophy Skill Development
BEFORE WOD3 X 5 Back Squat. Add 2.5 to 5 lb. each time you perform this workout. Once you can get to the point where your first set is at your bodyweight, you can move to level 2. 3 x 12-15 Back Squat at ~80% the weight from Day 1. This is going to make your legs sore! Assisted Pistol Squat Negatives. Accumulate 5 to 10 Reps per leg. Feel free to rest as long as you want between reps.