T Nation

Strong Squat and Dead, No Pistols??

How come I can’t seem to be strong enough to do a pistol. I can squat and deadlift 1.5x my bw but I can’t even do the eccentric portion of the pistol. Is it because I lack flexibility? Or strength in certain area?

Flexibility, coordination and practice. Try doing them standing on a box or bench so you don’t have to bring your other leg quite as high. That will make the balance and coordination much easier. Once you master those (at least five consecutive clean reps), try them on the ground.

Are you a big guy? I weigh about 280 and can squat and deadlift 1.5 times my bodyweight, but can’t do the eccentric portion of a pistol. However, a friend of mine who weighs about 220 can squat and deadlift in a similar ratio, and can do pistols without a problem. Maybe it has something to do with body fat percentage?

Practice issue probably.

I practiced them last summer when I got hurt and went from zero to a few strict ones.

I have since stopped doing them would eat floor if I tried right now.

My squat’s at least double body weight, by the way.

im roughly 180. I can do it if i start from the bottom but I can’t do the entire thing. I tried resting my leg against a chair and it was still pretty hard. I think it’s the issue of flexibility because I feel a lot of stretching on my hamstrings when i do it. I just can’t seem to get myself balanced! let alone keeping my leg straight. Well, I guess I’d have to increase my flexibility.

can you do a ghr ?

if not i’d guess it’s just a nerves thing in which case if just eat it for a week or two doing eccentrics and holds you should get it pretty quick. do them on some stairs so you don’t have to parallel your free leg and can use the hand rail/step to assist.

Balance, mobility and strength in the whole range.

How far down do you squat? I’m willing to bet not as far as you do when you try a pistol right? If you PL squat you won’t get use to going further and you won’t be strong past your usual depth, as you never train that depth. DL you probably don’t start that low.

If you practice you will get it down easilly.

Little bro @ 41.3kg can do 10 in a row. Also C&J about 8% above his bw :slight_smile:

Koing

i have a question, i can do the natural glute ham raise for 6 reps and i can do pistols, but im not a really strong squatter, as i have long legs compared to my torso, is it any kind of accomplishment to be able to do one

Last night, this thread inspired me to attempt to do a single pistol.

I’m still pulling splinters out of my ass.

Thanks a ton, fellas.

[quote]metallica76660 wrote:
i have a question, i can do the natural glute ham raise for 6 reps and i can do pistols, but im not a really strong squatter, as i have long legs compared to my torso, is it any kind of accomplishment to be able to do one
[/quote]

No.

What are pistols?What are they good for?

I think a lot of it is strength you’re missing. A 1.5xBW deadlift is not a strong ratio at all. You also have to remember you’re about half as strong with one leg. I’ll use my weight for an example. I’m 150 and if I have 225 on my back, I have 375 on the ground. Half of that is 187.5, not much more than my own weight. And, when you consider the extra ROM and stabilizing, it’s easy to see why you could fail.

My favorite pistol workout is ladders. One left, one right, two left, two right and so on up to six. Three sets of that. No rest between reps, 1 minute between sets.

Try holding a small weight in front of you and/or doing them off a box. Remember these are only steps, the goal is a full ATG no weight pistol.

[quote]Peter1984 wrote:
What are pistols?What are they good for?[/quote]

http://www.powerathletesmag.com/pages/pistols.htm

I too am unable to do a pistol - I can knock out one legged squats on a box till the cows come home but I fail HORRIBLY with a single leg squat.

Quite simply I just fall over backwards and for the life of me I cannot understand why!

Then theres my friends - some of which cannot even squat close to their bodyweight who are able to knock out a good 10+ on each leg whenever they damn well want!

Its clearly not a matter of strength - just a HELL of a lot of skill, mobility, etc.

Sucks to be us I guess =[

[quote]benmoore wrote:

Then theres my friends - some of which cannot even squat close to their bodyweight who are able to knock out a good 10+ on each leg whenever they damn well want!

[[/quote]

10+ pistols but can’t squat their bodyweight ? that can’t be for lack of leg strength. the only way i see that is if they have so little muscle up top they can’t support the bar and cave ?

[quote]benmoore wrote:

Quite simply I just fall over backwards and for the life of me I cannot understand why!

=[[/quote]

There was a thread recently discussing this. (I think it was an article discussion thread.)

The problem is you need a small weight for counter-balance. I was having the same balance problem with my left leg and since I added a five pound weight to each hand my balance has improved. My left leg still lags, but I am not falling down anymore.

counter weights definitely help. i can easily do 3-5 with 5kg held out in front, but without it I just roll backwards onto the floor. I think it may be due to poor ankle dorsiflexion (especially with long upper legs), so strengthening and increasing range in this movement may help.

I’ve always hovered around 240-250 and before i tore my acl i could do them with both legs… now only the non-operated leg (for now)

I had squatted 470 for 8 (deep powerlifting style, wide base, no belt no wraps) and 425 for 8 closed stance olympic lifter style.

Now for me the pistol (didnt know this name until this thread) will be my indicator for my operated leg. As soon as I can do 1, I know I am ok for sports.

This is a great exercise.

I can do about 10 single leg squats on each leg standing on a low box, but a full range pistol on the floor without a counterweight is beyond me.

Using 7.5-10kg held out in front I can perform about the same number as on a box. Without the weight I cannot get enough bodyweight over the foot to stop me from falling backwards. I’m not sure that for everyone it is a flexibility issue, my arms are right out in front, my chest is touching my thigh and I still fall backwards.

It’s a neat trick to do a full range pistol, nice counter to the ‘how much d’ya bench’ question. Less good if you have to find something heavy to help out.

btw - 180lbs, box squat and deadlift more than twice bodyweight. Front squat is less decent, and I feel that pistols (presently have an injured back) are going a long way to improving the front squat.

Pffew. I was bummed out cause I always fell on my ass. Now I know I’m not alone.

I’ll try the box and the weight held in front tips. Thanx.