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How To Master Single-Leg Squats (Pistols) - Part 4

Updated on February 25, 2014

<< Part 3 - Airborne Lunges <<

You still need help with pistols (single-leg squats)?

Alright, I have one more exercise that you can do to help you build up to being able to do a full, to the ground pistol, on each leg.

Don't hop right into this exercise though, it's pretty difficult. Read parts 1 through 3 of this series first and start practicing those moves before you try to add this exercise to your workouts.

Let's get into the basics of the fourth exercise.

Negative-Free Pistols

Now this is going to be the most difficult out of the 4 exercises I've taught you because you'll actually be doing half of a full pistol from the ground.

They're called "negative-free" because you take the negative portion out of the exercise. You won't be squatting down on one leg with this exercise.

  • You squat deep down on two legs and then at the bottom you slowly put one leg out in front of you and then you stand back up, completing the squat on only one leg.
  • This is going to be a little easier on your knees but you'll still need to hold your hands out in front of you for balance.
  • Stay tight and tense up your whole body as you're trying to stand back up.
  • You'll want to do this exercise for each leg equally.

If you want to learn more about body weight power moves like this, then you should pick up a copy of The Naked Warrior; it's the book that taught me how to do a pistol.

Want to Learn More?

Putting It to Use

You can set up a workout for this exercise a variety of different ways, but this is also a strength move. So you're going to want to do sets of low repetitions again.

When I did this exercise, I'd do 8 sets of 2 for each leg, just like with the last exercise. Once again I was only doing sets of 2 in order to ensure that my legs were fresh and would be functioning at optimal strength during each set.

Once you get to the third or forth repetition, your strength is slowly going to drop off because your fast twitch muscle fibers are going to be cooked. These are your biggest and strongest muscle fibers, but they get fatigued really quick.

I'm going to recommend again that you stay in the 1-5 rep range for an exercise like this. You can decide how many sets you'd like to do based on how much overall volume you can handle.

If you want to baby step your way into this exercise you can use the same method for box pistols; the exercise you learned about in the first article.

You can also do this every time you get up out of a chair. You sit down with 2 legs like you normally do, but when you stand up you only use one leg. That will really help you "grease the groove".

That's it! Go ahead and get started with this exercise. I hope this 4-part article series will help enable you to complete full pistols!

Stay strong!

This Could Be You... With Some Practice.

Did This Exercise Help YOU Master Pistols?

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    • Bendo13 profile imageAUTHOR

      Ben Guinter 

      8 years ago from Colorado Springs, Colorado

      Yeah Pieretto, I think it could help build explosive power since you'll be doing such low repetitions. Your biggest, strongest muscle fibers, which cause this explosive power, are what you're targeting with exercises like this.

      Those muscle fibers give out fast, which is why we can only sprint at full speed for so long, so that's why you aim to do lower reps. By targeting these fibers you're building up your brute strength and power. Once you get your form down you can start doign your reps faster or add weight, like holding a kettlebell out in front of you.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I'll try.I like self-defence training (krav maga) then strenght and balance are important.Could this exercise improve explosive power too?Anyway they seem good tips in order to learn it,thank you.

    • Bendo13 profile imageAUTHOR

      Ben Guinter 

      9 years ago from Colorado Springs, Colorado

      Oh I think they'd be a challenge for anyone at first, Trusted! It's a true power move that needs to be practiced for a while before you master it.

    • Trusted Marketing profile image

      Trusted Marketing 

      9 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      These can be a challenge at first. ( for me.)


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