Pistol squat exercise refers to the strength of the quadriceps, hamstrings and buttocks, and measuring the flexibility of the lower body (source: Gecastor)

As much as it is a great challenge, which makes others look with admiration at who performs it, and wish they too could do it, it is at the same time "a very difficult exercise, requiring very strong leg muscles, a high level of balance, and a good degree of flexibility," says the Australian Fitness Academy.

It is a pistol squat or one-leg squat, so named because its final shape resembles that of a pistol. Toronto-based kinesiologist and trainer Christine Makatangay described it as "an elite exercise that requires a lot of strength."

Although it brings benefits that most lower body exercises can't match, it puts muscles to a harsh test and determines how well a person can stay firm.

Therefore, "it is impossible to do it safely and correctly, without complete control that ensures stability, strength and agility together," according to experts of the site "Health", who say that there is some evidence that a person's inability to perform this exercise, may be a sign of a vital deficiency in the knee, predicting the possibility of injury in the future.

Pistol squats are a great option to improve lower body strength (Shutterstock)

Many can't do it even once.

American weightlifting trainer Jarrod Nobby says in an article on the website "Motherly", "Many men who consider themselves physically fit, may not be able to do the pistol squat even once, it is a sign to judge the strength of the quadriceps, hamstrings and buttocks, and measure the flexibility of the lower body."

He explained that unlike other lower part exercises that involve both legs together, the squatting of a pistol "is a movement in which a person sits on one leg while keeping his opposite leg extended in front of him, so he needs a large quadruple force, allowing balance and movement of the hip and ankle."

Alex Benner, assistant strength coach at the University of North Carolina, told the same website, "Pistol squatting is a great option to improve lower body strength for those who complain of lack of time or lack of equipment."

Pistol squat, if done correctly it brings tremendous benefits (source Gecastor)

Huge benefits of pistol squats

According to the Australian Fitness Academy and expert Makatangai, pistol squats, if done correctly, bring tremendous benefits, including:

  • Focus on strengthening each leg independently, employing a full range of muscles.
  • Distinctive for strengthening the muscles of the buttocks, and back chain back.
  • Improve the mobility and flexibility of the ankle joint, strengthen the stabilizing muscles of the leg.
  • Improve proprioception by strengthening the leg and heart.
  • Protect the lumbar spine from injury.
  • Increase overall flexibility and improve the symmetry, balance and stability of the entire body.

How to perform a pistol squat

When squatting a gun for the first time, Health experts recommend using a chair to build strength gradually, until you can perform the exercise fully, through these steps, which Makatangai explains:

  • Spread your arms in front of you
  • Start descending slowly on one leg, while extending the other leg forward
  • Press your foot to the floor and complete the descent with your hip and knee bent, until you squat
  • As you squat, make sure your arms and leg are forward, your torso is firm, and your gaze in front of you to maintain your balance.
  • After you squat, press the floor with your foot, and use your hips and knee back up.

A simple and effective way to learn to squat a gun

Despite the difficulty of the pistol squat, this does not prevent the possibility of practicing it in a very simple, but fast and effective way, by using one of the doors of the house or office two to three times a week, as shown in the attached video, and achieving amazing results over time.

Experts recommend some precautions when practicing gun squats such as making sure there are no injuries to the bottom (Getty Images)

Only in the early stages, you have to hold the door handles with both hands, spread one leg forward while pressing the upper body to help the lower part descend towards the squatting position, and return to the top again 5 repetitions in 5 sets, slowing down as much as possible, in order to reduce moving weight, and more stability and balance. Until you reach a stage of temporary natural feeling of vibration, oscillation and possibly weakness, to the stage of going down without any assistance, with minimal help in returning up, and then leaving the door and going down in a squatting position without assistance.

Important precautionary precautions

Experts recommend some precautions when practicing pistol squats, such as:

  • Ensure that there are no injuries to the lower part of the body (especially the hip, knee, ankle or back).
  • It is preferable to start with a personal trainer, to learn to perform the exercise correctly, completely and safely.
  • Perform movements slowly to protect the spine and reduce the risk of low back pain.

. Makatangai also recommends preparing for the pistol squat with some exercises to help you perform it easily and perfectly, such as the Bulgarian squat, the Roman deadlift, and shoulder strengthening exercises.

Stages of increased difficulty of exercise

"After you've mastered the pistol squat, you've given your legs the best workout ever," according to the Australian Fitness Academy, which recommends starting to gain weight by holding a weight in your hands, to boost the strength needed to perform the movement.

For example, if you weigh 66 kg, you can squat the pistol holding a 20-kilogram dumbbell, in which case it will be as if you carried the equivalent of 102 kilograms on your back, provided you make sure that you go down to the ground properly, so as not to damage the spine.

Once you've mastered the pistol squat and done it correctly with added weight, you have the perfect opportunity to increase the difficulty of the exercise even more, by performing a pistol squat with weight grasp, but standing on a "bosu ball" (a hemispheric sports tool, for balance training), and then you can consider yourself a physically strong elite.

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