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Chris Forbis
11-06-2007, 04:30 PM
I've been working on my one-legged squat / pistol recently. When at the gym, and attempting them barefooted or in my Nike Frees, I usually lose my balance backwards at the bottom. During the course of the day, when I'm in my shoes for work (dress shoes), I can do them no problem, I assume because of the raised heel.

So do I work on flexibility so that I can do them without a raised heel? Or do I cheat, and elevate my heel on a weight plate?

What stretches and exercises would I work on to acquire the needed flexibility?

Garrett Smith
11-06-2007, 05:33 PM
First thing, just try reaching forward much harder--move the counterbalance more to the front--I usually touch my extended-leg toes with the same-side hand.

Or, you could hold a ten pound plate out in front, that should counterbalance you nicely.

If those don't work, you may have flexibility/mobility issues in the ankle or hip. That's not where I'd look first though.

Ale Dileo
11-06-2007, 07:17 PM
I've been working on my one-legged squat / pistol recently. When at the gym, and attempting them barefooted or in my Nike Frees, I usually lose my balance backwards at the bottom. During the course of the day, when I'm in my shoes for work (dress shoes), I can do them no problem, I assume because of the raised heel.

So do I work on flexibility so that I can do them without a raised heel? Or do I cheat, and elevate my heel on a weight plate?

What stretches and exercises would I work on to acquire the needed flexibility?

I noticed the same with wall-squats (I do them for flexibility warm-up). I can touch the wall with my toes depending on what kind of shoes i wear.

Jordan Glasser
11-06-2007, 07:28 PM
I believe shoes offer a cheat, and not by raising your heel (although that does help some), but by giving your foot a method of counterbalancing. Dress shoes are like a lifting shoe, but I believe a normal running shoe would offer the same cheat.
You cannot lift your toes up in either barefoot, or in Nike Free's and maintain proper balance if you are doing any movement that is challenging for you to accomplish.
I've seen barefooted squats and Nike Free squats crash and fail because of the body's inability to use the counterbalance of a supported shoe that it is so used to having.

So....it means practice both ways. Do them with shoes (other then Free's), and challenge the movement by doing them either barefoot or in the barefoot shoes.

Allen Yeh
11-07-2007, 06:10 AM
Or, you could hold a ten pound plate out in front, that should counterbalance you nicely.


I've used this method using 2 5lb db's.

Scott Kustes
11-07-2007, 07:59 AM
I have the same issue Chris. In dress shoes I can do them with no counter-weight. But barefoot I require a 5-10lb weight held in front of me. I feel like that's cheating, but then is adding weight to an exercise really cheating?

Troy Archie
11-07-2007, 10:39 AM
What helped me was the weighted idea and also grabbing and holding onto the end of my foot and keeping my leg straight...

Garrett Smith
11-07-2007, 03:03 PM
I see no problem with adding weight at all. Balance improves, weight lifted increases, nothing wrong with that!

My goal is to increase my weight on pistols, so starting early with a little weight isn't bad at all...I've added a set of alternating pistols and single-arm single-leg DL to every other warm-up day and will steadily move up in weight in those over time.

Chris Forbis
11-07-2007, 06:14 PM
Alright. Looks like I'll try these barefoot with a counterweight to help me balance.

Thanks.

Chris Forbis
11-08-2007, 04:11 AM
10# DB did the trick. Time to start working on doing multiple reps per set.

Thanks for the idea.

-Ross Hunt
11-08-2007, 06:12 AM
Pistols are fun. I am not sure what benefits they offer that aren't exceeded by split squats, unless you're training for balance, but they are fun.

The flexibility thing is easy to fix. IMO, progressive ROM and added-weight attempts take much longer than simply holding on to a doorway, lowering yourself to the bottom, and then 'prying' your hips open, working in and out of the bottom position with more and less assistance from the doorframe, stretching your low back, hamstrings and hip flexors in that position. If you know how to do contract-relax stretching, that will make it go much faster.

Just scroll down to the pic below 'Doorway' on the following page--

http://beastskills.com/Pistol.htm

--take that position and try to push/pull yourself into a proper squat position (back arched, upright) while holding on to the doorway.

Chris Forbis
11-10-2007, 10:54 AM
Pulled off sets of doubles today. Right leg first, as the balance is spotty on that side and it is a little weaker as well. 10# DB providing the counterbalance.

How inaccurate would it be to say that the strength required to pistol 10 extra pounds is roughly equivalent to a weighted two-legged squat of (BW + 10) x 2?

I realize there is little loading of the trunk in the pistol, but due to its unilateral nature it might have a little better carryover to athletic pursuits. I'll get my trunk loading from the DL anyway.

Patrick Donnelly
11-11-2007, 05:57 AM
A doing a pistol is no where near a double bodyweight squat. I've done up to 12 consecutive pistols on either leg before, but have never squatted 200 pounds (bodyweight ~170).

William Hunter
11-11-2007, 10:28 AM
A doing a pistol is no where near a double bodyweight squat. I've done up to 12 consecutive pistols on either leg before, but have never squatted 200 pounds (bodyweight ~170).

Wow, that's interesting. At 175, I have squatted 200 before (though I don't go much higher) but struggle mightily with pistols (singles and doubles mostly). 12 in a row would be like me squatting 800. Go figure.

Kalen Meine
11-12-2007, 09:22 AM
Check your math. A pistol produces, in theory, equal leg loading to a bodyweight (on the bar) squat, not a double bodyweight squat.

Mike ODonnell
11-12-2007, 09:34 AM
Check your math. A pistol produces, in theory, equal leg loading to a bodyweight (on the bar) squat, not a double bodyweight squat.

The body does not always works to a mathmatical equation...as I have seen heavy squaters who can not do a pistol because their posterior stabilizers are weak and will shut down the larger muscle groups. I think pistols (especially plyometric variety) are of more benefit to sports training since most sports are single legged power/balance/explosiveness. Of course heavy squatting/DL provides more stimulus for overall muscle strength and growth. A program utilizing both protocols will see great benefit.

Chris Forbis
11-12-2007, 04:08 PM
Check your math. A pistol produces, in theory, equal leg loading to a bodyweight (on the bar) squat, not a double bodyweight squat.

No, my math was fine. I just did a shitty job of clearing stating it.

I meant 2 x BW of total load at the floor, which would be BW on the bar.

Example: At a BW of 183, doing a pistol with a 10# DB, would equate to 386 pounds being moved on two legs. 183 of that is me, and there is 203 pound of iron.

John Seiler
11-12-2007, 07:15 PM
Is so simple. Maybe you boys need a refresher course.

Just workout in your dress shoes! Some black socks and bermuda shorts. Rock it out with some AC/DC! Problem solved.

Mark Joseph Limbaga
11-12-2007, 07:22 PM
The body does not always works to a mathmatical equation...as I have seen heavy squaters who can not do a pistol because their posterior stabilizers are weak and will shut down the larger muscle groups. I think pistols (especially plyometric variety) are of more benefit to sports training since most sports are single legged power/balance/explosiveness. Of course heavy squatting/DL provides more stimulus for overall muscle strength and growth. A program utilizing both protocols will see great benefit.

Yup I've seen my share too. Personally, pistols are great in-season exercises over back/front squats as they aren't as strenuous on the body.

High step-ups and Bulgarian split squats are also good alternatives for those who aren't strong enough for pistols yet