Monday, March 23, 2009

The Pistol

I was reviewing our single leg series this morning and realized that I neglected to discuss the pistol, so here you go.

The Pistol is the king of single leg work.  It is an extremely athletic movement, requiring high levels of strength, mobility and flexibility.  Essentially, it is a single leg squat with the non-working leg sticking straight out in front of you at the bottom of the movement.

As far as loading is concerned, some people find it easier to learn the movement while holding a moderate weight kettlebell in the goblet position.  This can help with your sense of balance and groundedness while performing the movement.  I would recommend trying it loaded and un-loaded to find which works better for you. 

Start the movement by balancing on one foot, with your weight going straight through your heel into the floor.  Push the hips back.  As you descend into the squat, raise the heel of your non-working leg, keeping it just an inch or two off the floor, throughout the entire movement.

The bottom position of the movement is when your non-working leg is parallel to the floor.  At this point your tail should be within inches of the ground.  Keeping your weight through your heel, press back up into the starting position.

At the outset, it is unlikely that you will be able to get into the bottom position at all, much less press back up out of it.  The best way to regress the movement is to perform it to an increasingly lower box or step to give you support and a depth finder in the bottom of the movement.

As you are working toward progressing to the full pistol, it is important that you hammer away at your hip mobility, hamstring flexibility and glute strength, as these are the key factors which will affect your ability to perform a pistol.

I'd love to hear about your progress in the comments section.

Train smart; eat right.

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