Updated May 24th, 2024 at 23:14 IST

Pistol Squats Can Tone Your Core And Legs - Here's How To Do Them Correctly

Research published in the International Journal of Exercise Science indicates that single-leg squats like the pistol squat are effective for core building.

Pistol squats | Image:Pinterest

Squats are renowned for toning the lower body and core muscles, enhancing posture, and boosting flexibility. Among various squat variations, the pistol squat has recently gained significant popularity. This single-leg squat, where one leg extends forward while squatting on the other, demands balance, strength, and flexibility. Here's an in-depth look at the benefits and proper technique for performing pistol squats.

What is pistol squats?

The pistol squat, also known as the one-legged squat, is a challenging lower-body exercise. It involves lowering your body into a full squat position while balancing on one leg, with the other leg extended straight out in front. This exercise requires considerable strength and stability in the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and core muscles, as well as maintaining balance throughout the movement.

Benefits of pistol squats

Reduced Pressure on the Back: Unlike conventional barbell back squats, which place weight on the shoulders and back, the pistol squat is a bodyweight exercise that minimizes back pressure. This makes it an excellent option for those who find weightlifting challenging, offering a safer alternative that still delivers a rigorous workout.

Strengthens Lower Body Muscles: Pistol squats target the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves, enhancing muscle strength and endurance. Research published in the International Journal of Exercise Science indicates that single-leg squats like the pistol squat are effective for strengthening and toning the glutes, though further studies are needed to confirm their impact on other lower body muscles.


Enhances Core Strength: Pistol squats engage the core muscles to stabilize the body during the exercise, contributing to a stronger and more stable core. This exercise is particularly effective for those seeking to develop core strength, although additional research is necessary to fully establish this benefit.

Image credit: Pinterest
Image credit: Pinterest

How to perform pistol squats?

Warm-Up: Start with dynamic stretches and light cardio to prepare the muscles and joints.

Initial Position: Stand with feet hip-width apart. Extend one leg straight in front, parallel to the ground.


Lowering Phase: Bend the knee of the supporting leg, lowering your body while keeping the extended leg straight and off the ground.

Body Alignment: Maintain a straight back, chest up, and arms extended forward for balance. Ensure your knee aligns with your toes.


Depth and Control: Squat as low as possible, aiming to bring your hips below the knee level of the supporting leg.

Rising Phase: Push through the heel of the supporting leg to return to the starting position, keeping the extended leg off the ground.


Repetitions: Perform the desired number of repetitions on one leg before switching to the other.
Incorporating pistol squats into your routine can significantly enhance your lower body and core strength, offering a comprehensive workout without the need for weights.




Published May 24th, 2024 at 23:14 IST