T Nation

One Leg Squat Problem


Hi, I need advice on doing one leg squats.

When I perform my one leg squats, my non working leg can't go up and straight like this dude : http://cdn-write.demandstudios.com/upload//3000/600/20/4/33624.jpg

my leg bends, not allowing me a full range of motion on a flat surface. I have to use a small elevated platform if I want to do the full rang of motion without any problems.

Are there any stretches/mobolity drills that I could do to correct this little problem?


My advice on one leg squats: Don't do one leg squats.


Don't bother with those one legged bodyweight squats, it won't lead to much.

If you want to do a real 1-leg squat, get a bb on your back and put the other leg behind you on a bench to stabilize. Much much easier than that tricky bs.

However, if you are really adamant about doing the one like the picture, go ahead and use that elevated platform until u can get used to it. The work done on your leg isn't really going to matter based on what the other leg is doing since it's not "lifting" or stabilizing.


Yeah... usually, pistols aren't the exercise big and strong dudes do to get big and strong. They tend to be one of the exercises 160 lb crossfit kids try to do to justify being 160 lb crossfitters.

Doing them on a platform is a pretty solid way of doing them. I used to do them on a bench, because my flexibility probably sucked more than yours did. Alternatively, get really strong at leg raises, and your ability to get your leg out there and hold it out there will improve.

But if you're really just interested in increasing your leg strength on one leg, do the Bulgarian split-squat recommended by Bona. Barbell on back, one leg on a bench behind you, squat to as deep a depth as you can get.


I have to respectfully disagree with all of the previous posters in this thread. I have been squatting heavy back squats for 10+ yrs and 2 years ago I added single leg squats to my program and it is one of the most valuable exercises in my arsenal. I do not do them like the guy in the pic, I do them on a 12 inch platform with dumbbells. I have worked up to 50 pound dumbbells and do 5 sets of 5 with each leg. I train primarily for athletic performance and and this has helped with balance and strength.

I have a history of chronic and severe ankle sprains (several per year) and since I have incorporated these into my program, not one sprain (knock on wood). I like the bulgarian split squats mentioned above, but I believe the single legs squat is superior. Also, DO THEM BAREFOOT!! it will activate all of the stabilizers, you will feel your toes gripping and start to work again. One more thing, make sure you ass touches the platform...full range of motion.

PS. They will kick your ass.


Good post. I've never heard of anyone that was using pistols for "leg size" anyway, they're an excellent addition to leg training and a great option when de-loading as well.


Well, thx for the reply guys, but I am already doing Bulgarian split squats. I agree that bulgarian split squats are, just by the feeling of doing the exercise, a better muscle builder. But fact is, I am not training only for muscle hypertrophy. I am focusing on a lot of single limb exercise in order to be better at my favorite sport... Hockey!

Thanks for the advice though, I will probably start doing my one leg squats barefoot and if I find a platform that is high enough, add on weight.