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Some of my coworkers and I are trying out a 30 second per hour workout routine. We're having a hard time finding bodyweight exercises for the legs that really tax the system. I'd like it if we could start doing pistol squats, but some of the participants aren't able to perform them yet.

Is there a simple progression for pistol squats that can give my coworkers some efficacy for this advanced movement (and hopefully get them performing them before too long)?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I prefer assisted pistol squats using both ends of a doorknob (facing the door end-on) or rings. I've also used cubicle walls (again, facing them end-on), for what it's worth. Lean on the rings or backwards away from the doorknob for support, and gradually try to use less assistance.

Heeled shoes make pistols a lot easier for most people, due to ankle dorsiflexion incapability.

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I teach my students using a mixture of wall pistol squats and partner assisted pistol squats. With wall pistols, simply squat down onto a low object such as a wall, once you can do 5x5, go a little lower. Partner assisted you simply hold your partners hand, and then use them to assist pulling yourself up, try to use as little assistance as you require.

On top of that, make sure you're keeping good form. Your knee should track along the line of your toes and not fall inwards and your body should remain upright, not leaning to one side.

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Convict conditioning book presents very effective progressions for multiple exercises including pistol squats.The first progression is always pretty easy, even the weakest athletes can perform it without trouble. As you progress you will move to a harder progression. The 10th step in every exercise is called the master step. In squats the master step is the pistol squats.

This book is really helpful in bodyweight training. Cheatsheet available here, book available here

What step to start with ?

This depends on your level of fitness and the strength of your muscles and joints. Just begin with a challenging exercise that you can perform and keep adding reps until you meet the progression standard in the book then move to the next step in the series.

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This is basically an ad for a book, you haven't given any actual exercise recommendations for the progression. – andrewb May 13 '14 at 23:39

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