I'm doing the startbodyweight.com routine. In the squat progression I find everything up to and including deep squats, close squats and beginner shrimp squats easy and I can do 20 of them without too much trouble.

Assisted one legged squats is a huge jump and I find them basically impossible to on the left leg with anything approaching good form (video). The right leg (video) is better, but I still require quite a lot of pulling on a door handle to get back up. I can't do what looks like delicate balancing with fingertips I've seen in youtube videos.

Is there something else I can do to improve my leg strength (particularly the left) so I can get to doing assisted squats?

2 Answers 2


You want something unilateral but hopefully something that doesn't require too much balance?

I'd give Bulgarian split squats a try. They'll challenge your legs individually. Single leg deadlifts are good to challenge your balance though a different movement from single leg squats.

What I find interesting is that shrimp squats are not a challenge but pistol squats are. IMO, shrimp squats need more quad strength so this could be a balance issue entirely. You could try doing a sort of boxed-pistol-squat. Find a bench or chair and sit into the chair while doing a pistol squat. You can progress that by getting lower platforms as well. That should help you get the hang of the descent.

I think you may also be sitting back into the squat too far. Keep your back a bit straighter and chest out. It might help to hold the door from the sides instead of the knob.

  • The same exercise but lower seems to be working for me. I've got a pile of books 40cm high which is just right for me to be able to get up but any lower and I couldn't. I can also just take a book each time I get stronger.
    – Tom
    Apr 2, 2020 at 7:24

Here is a story about pistol squats. One day a week, I take an adult ballet class ("adult" means we aren't very good). The instructor is a young guy and great dancer in a local company. After class I asked him if he could do a pistol squat. He proceeded to do a great pistol squat right there. He didn't even warmup. Another male ballet dancer in the company was walking by, and he proceeded to also do a pistol squat right there. I was blown away. These two guys are not muscular guys. They told me that it is all in the flexibility of their Achilles tendon.

  • This seems to be on the right lines - testing it just now I do seem to get 'stuck' at a certain point on the left leg. Probably what I'm doing is basically falling backwards to avoid that inflexible part and ending up in a position that I can't get out of.
    – Tom
    Mar 30, 2020 at 15:18

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