Benefits of Pistol Squats – Everything you Need to Know

There are many excellent Benefits of Pistol Squats. This article will shed light on the numerous positive reasons why you should include them in your training, whatever your goal may be.

There are many excellent Benefits of Pistol Squats. This article will shed light on the numerous positive reasons why you should include them in your training, whatever your goal may be.

The Pistol Squat is a Unilateral Exercise

The Pistol Squat is done with one leg at a time, making it a unilateral movement.

sara sigmundsdottir pistol squat strong crossfit mentalitySource: RX'd Photography
Good mobility is essential for becoming a great athlete

This brings many benefits which are discussed in the relevant sections below.

The Pistol Squat is fairly unique as a unilateral movement in that it places an unusually high demand and load upon the body, resulting in exceptional payoffs throughout many different areas of movement, strength and fitness.

Benefits of Pistol Squats – Mobility of the Joints

The Pistol Squat is one of the best tests for ankle, leg and hip mobility.

Simply trying to perform a single full rep, slowly, on each leg will already reveal weaknesses and sticking points for joint mobility.

This is useful because it then clearly unearths the particular parts of the movement where your joint mobility is poor and will need to be worked on.

Benefits of Pistol Squats – Flexibility of the Legs

In much the same way as above, the Pistol Squat initially reveals, then strengthens and improves leg and lower body flexibility.

Improved Balance, Coordination and Proprioception

The Pistol Squat requires a great deal of balance and coordination to perform correctly. Working regularly on this exercise will therefore augment and improve your balance and coordination.

Proprioception is the body’s ability to understand and be aware of its own movements within space, and the relationship to other objects and moving bodies in that shared space. Catching a ball requires proprioception for example.

To complete a single rep of the Pistol Squat requires extensive proprioception to balance the body and move through the full range of motion.

Benefits of Pistol Squats – Sport Specific Skill

The Pistol Squat is a sport specific skill for some athletes. In CrossFit the Pistol Squat frequently occurs in WODs. Therefore, it must be trained and mastered.

If you are a CrossFit athlete then you will greatly benefit from learning how to do Pistol Squats.

Both Legs Move an Equal Load

With the Pistol Squat both legs move the same load, independently of each other.

Benefits of Pistol Squats – Correct Imbalances

The Pistol Squat is an extremely effective exercise at demonstrating imbalances. If there are weaknesses in the dorsiflexion of one ankle over the other, for example, then each rep will look different (or one leg will fail and one will not).

Then you can use the exercise to build upon, counter and fix weaknesses and imbalances.

Build Muscular Conditioning

The Pistol Squat is a decent exercise for building muscular conditioning.

Longer workouts involving a high volume of Pistol Squats will significantly test and improve the ability of your muscles to stay strong and focused over longer periods of time.

Improve Skill Work whilst Fatigued

The Pistol Squat takes a lot of skill to complete correctly. However, it is also a bodyweight exercise.

This means that although difficult, it doesn’t place any external load on the body. This makes it a good choice when testing and enhancing a skilled movement in a fatigued state.

Practicing this will help you to set a higher barrier against technical failure for the future.

The Pistol Squat Develops Many Muscles in a Unique Way

The pistol squat works all of your leg muscles including:

  • The hips
  • Hamstrings
  • Quadriceps
  • Gluteus maximus
  • Calves

Benefits of Pistol Squats – They Build Great Core Strength

The Pistol Squat demands good core strength to balance, control and execute the full range of motion of the exercise.

As you practice them and add the exercise into your workouts you will develop a stronger core. This has many benefits for other movements, lifts and fitness activities.

Less Pressure on your Back

The traditional Barbell Back Squat loads and holds the weight on the shoulders and back.

If done incorrectly it can cause injuries. The Pistol Squat does not load the back because it is a bodyweight exercise.

If you are unable to move a bigger load (due to an injury for example) then the Pistol Squat is a great alternative because it provides an intense stimulus without any external loading.

Pistol Squats can be Done Anywhere

Pistol Squats require zero equipment which makes them a perfect exercise to perform at home, on the beach, in the park or anywhere else that may prove impossible or impractical to otherwise lug a barbell or kettlebell before the session begins.

Benefits of the Pistol Squat – It Improves your Squat

The Pistol Squat is a great accessory exercise for the Back Squat.

If you need to switch things up in your training then add in Pistol Squats. Use them as an additional tool to find the imbalances and weaknesses in your movement, mobility and strength then destroy those weaknesses.

This in turn will help you add more weight to your overall 1rm and send those numbers through the roof.

Benefits of Pistol Squats – Easy to Scale

The Pistol Squat is a difficult exercise to perform correctly and often it takes time until most people are able to do them effectively and properly with both legs.

Luckily, there are many ways to scale the movement.

Check out our full guide here for more tips

Great for GPP and Athleticism

The Pistol Squat enhances GPP (General Physical Preparedness) and athleticism in general.

Whether you are a trail runner, footballer or weightlifter, the Pistol Squat will take your balance, coordination, unilateral power, core and leg strength to the next level.

Benefits of Pistol Squats

As you can see, there are many Benefits of Pistol Squats.

Learn how to improve your ankle mobility for Pistol Squats or if you are ready to dive in then choose one of our Pistol WODs.

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