The pistol squat is the essential leg exercise for the Bodyweight Athlete. For strength and stability there’s no other movement that compares. The Walking Pistol Squat takes your pistol training to a whole other level. The mechanics of this movement create a serious balance challenge as well as some hip and ankle mobility. Check out the video below for the step-by-step tutorial on learning this great movement.
The Muscles of the Basic Pistol Squat
The basic Pistol Squat is great not only for over all stability, but also for individual joint stability of the ankle, knee, hip and spine:
Glute Max and Adductors:
During any Squat pattern, we hope that the Glute Max is fully active and working (with the hamstrings) to extend the hip. In the single leg squat pattern, the Glute Max is fully challenged, while the Adductors (inner thigh) and Glute Medius (outer hip) are both firing to control the tracking of the knee.
The entire group of Quad muscles (Vastus Medius, Lateralis, Intermedius and Rectus Femoris ) need to contract simultaneously to control the tracking of the Patella (knee cap).
Lower Leg Muscles:
Lastly, the Paroneals, Anterior Tibialis and Calf muscles of the lower leg should all be working together to stabilize the ankle.
It’s this balancing act between all of the muscles that create stability for a strong Single Leg or Pistol Squat.
Progressing to the Walking Pistol Squat
Once you’ve established mastering the basic Pistol Squat described above, we can move on to the Walking Pistol. Of course, I would recommend being able to perform at least five clean Pistols on each leg before attempting the Walking Pistols. There are many variations or lead up exercises for learning the Pistol. I’ve listed some of our other videos to help with your conditioning at the end of this post.
Mechanics of the Walking Pistol
The Walking Pistol adds an additional element which is exactly like it sounds: you integrate a forward walking movement with the squats. This adds multiple layers of increased difficulty, and may take you a while to master.
The goal of the Walking Pistol is to cover ground and create locomotion. There are multiple areas in the Walking Pistol that challenge you strength, stability, mobility and coordination. Watch the video below and give this variation a shot!
Additional Pistol Squat Training
Here’s some additional instructional articles and videos to help you with your conditioning and skill building for progressing to your Pistol Squat and then Walking Pistol Squat:
Begin your pistol squat training with this single leg box squat
(link to full article is here: Single Leg Box Squat: On the Road to the Pistol Squat )
The Tornado Jump Lunge is a great way to work on building leg strength and balance
(link to full article here: The Tornado Jump Lunge: One Killer Leg Exercise! )
And check out the always fun 180-Degree Spiderman Jump for another great squat exercise
(link to full article here: The 180-Degree Spiderman Jump: Superhero Plyometrics!)