Single Leg Squat (pistol)


Utility: Basic or Auxiliary
Mechanics: Compound
Force: Push



Stand with arms extended out in front. Balance on one leg with opposite leg extended forward off of ground.


Squat down as far as possible while keeping leg elevated off of floor. Keep back as straight as possible and supporting knee pointed same direction as foot supporting. Raise body back up to original position until knee and hip of supporting leg is straight. Repeat and continue with opposite leg.


Supporting knee should point same direction as foot throughout movement. Range of motion will be improved with greater leg strength and glute flexibility. Also known as Pistol Squat.

Significant spinal flexion occurs at bottom of deep single leg squat to maintain center of gravity over foot. In which case, Erector Spinae would act as a synergist instead of a stabilizer.

Weighted versions of this exercise would normally be considered auxiliary in context of other basic exercises (ie: Barbell Squat, Sled Leg Press). However, in the context of 'body weight' only program, this exercise can be considered basic.


This exercise is one of the most difficult exercises, even for advanced exercisers. Easier versions of this movement include partial reps or self assistance on horizontal bar, from raised rear leg, or with one leg wrapped behind supporting leg. Alternatively, other less challenging squatting or split squat movements can be performed.


For greater challenge, squat down into full single squat position or add resistance with medicine ball, wieght place, weighted bar or dumbbells.

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