Is it okay to hold dumbbell in right hand for right leg squats, and vice-versa (it feels most comfortable for me). Or should I use 1 dumbbell for each hand?

  • How heavy is the dumbbell? How's your balance and form, while using it during squat?
    – xCodeZone
    Oct 6, 2016 at 5:52
  • @xCodeZone I'm currently using 10 or 15 kg dumbbell, but plan on using more. balance and form seems good so far
    – Herokiller
    Oct 6, 2016 at 8:47
  • Can you perform a set of balanced un-weighted pistols?
    – John
    Oct 6, 2016 at 11:50

3 Answers 3


Sounds like you are using the dumbbell to stabilise yourself but in a way that isn't great. Rather than using your stabilising muscles to help you pistol squat you are using a weight to offset the need for balance. The whole point of the pistol squat is really to develop stabilisation (more on this later). By using a 1-sided dumbbell you are potentially sabotaging your own progress.

If you want to add weight onto the pistol squat then you should use either the arms straight position:

though still mainly for balance

or the goblet position once weights get a little heavy:

enter image description here

If you are struggling to do a un-weighted pistol squat because of balance only then use the opposite arm to stabilise yourself against a wall.

Note: Pistol squats re cool but they are not the progression from body-weight squats. They are more of a progression cul-de-sac, they aren't great for building more strength and focus more on developing stabilisation/balance.

The normal progression from a body-weight squat is a single leg step-up: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=487aR3A7HvM

After that is mastered then a deep-leg step-up: https://www.instagram.com/p/1jdRZorwdE/

If you can do a set of 10 of these you really are going to have to look at using a barbell to progress into higher strength levels

  • the thing is I can't go to gym now(temporarily), so I'm trying to keep myself in form on the sports ground nearby(weighted pull-ups, dips etc) and now one leg squats
    – Herokiller
    Oct 7, 2016 at 2:55

Trickiest part of doing one-leg squats is balance and being able to push more weight is not the main goal of the exercise (you could do regular squats for that). Very few people manage to do single full one-leg squat - your gluteus almost touching the ground with one leg extended.

enter image description here

And even fewer can make a meaningful set of many reps like that. And you definitely need both of your arms for balance. If you don't do full one-leg squat, focus on going the whole way (you can google for videos / articles for "Pistol squats"). However if you do manage to get many full one-leg squats and they feel too easy, you can try to grab and hold a dumbbell with both hands in front of your chest. And definitely shoot a youtube video - it will be impressive to see :)


Okay, there are few things to keep in mind. Symmetry and load distribution. While the whole weight of the dumbbell and your body rests on the one leg you are using, and you are feeling comfortable, your body is not having the center of weight properly balanced through the line of symmetry. Though, it's okay in case of exercises like bicep curls and shoulder flys, in case of squats, having both hands involved gives you better stability. As you responded to my comment saying you are planning to go higher, why not use a barbell, or a kettlebell? As you go heavy, concentrating the weight on one side of the body will disturb the balance and may lead to injuries.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.