Global Bodyweight Training - Mike Fitch
The Walking Pistol Squat takes this essential bodyweight training leg exercise to the next level!

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.

Quad Muscles:

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

Global Bodyweight Training - Walking Pistol Squat - Mike Fitch
Begin to transfer your weight after the extended leg makes contact with ground
Global Bodyweight Training - Walking Pistol Squat - Mike Fitch
Maintain careful balance when swinging the back leg around

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!)

Published by Mike Fitch

Mike is the founder of Global Bodyweight Training. He has more than 12 years as a fitness professional encompassing a wide range of disciplines which he draws upon to create the GBT system.

Join the Conversation


  1. Great tutorial, as always! I love the balance element as you switch from one foot to the other. I’m thinking it could also be fun to stay at the bottom and just walk from leg to leg for a few steps.

  2. Great to see some new stuff here. Never thought of this variation before but I’ll be giving it a go later today. Nice location for the video too 🙂

    1. Hey Logan, yes we are back to posting consistent content! As far as the location, I now believe that every video should be shot in Costa rica.

  3. Great tutorials. Still working on getting to the bottom of my pistol squat. But when I do, I’m gonna take it for a walk!
    I teach Balletone (as well as classical ballet and contemporary dance). The cross-over sweep lunge will be great for all of those.
    Thanks for more great stuff!

    1. That’s great to hear Erin! Keep checking back and let me know when you take that pistol for a walk

  4. Mike Fitch, this training is insanely awesome!
    Only just started thinking about getting into bodyweight training as i get bored very quickly in the gym if I’m just lifting and pulling weights around.
    There’s so much stuff on here i don’t quite know where to begin!

  5. Mike! Awesome tutorial, man! I remember doing walking pistols a bit ago, going around my back yard…but I only took a step at the top of the movement, I didn’t think to step at the bottom. Excellent variation!

  6. Have just discovered your great site, Mike; it’s very interesting to see your thought processes in these tutorials. Funny, I’ve done the low walk many times, but never thought of adding it to the pistol…Will try it out at my next workout! Drop by and see us in London sometime!

    1. Would love to drop by! I should be back that way in the next couple of months, so will definitely hit you guys up. Thanks for the comment Jason

  7. Mike,
    I have been coming off and on to your site as I have been reserahcing more and mroe into the body weight philosophy and I have to admit I love this site. Your tutorials are concise, well thought and communicated very well. Thanks and while I can do pistol squats I haven’t yet tried this monster but it looks awesome.

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