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How To: Pistol Squat – Build Leg Strength & Correct Muscle Imbalances!

What’s going on nation? Today, I’m going to demonstrate for you guys how to perform a pistol squat Now a pistol squat is an amazing exercise to help you build leg strength To work on your balance but to also help you discover any muscle imbalances you might have in your lower body Another great thing about this exercise is it’s going to also help to correct those imbalances the more you do the exercise So the main muscles I’m going to be working today gonna be your glutes quads and hamstrings But keep in mind you’re also going to be utilizing your core and your calves to help with balance and stability throughout the exercise begin, the exercise standing with your feet shoulder-width apart extend both arms out in front of your body and contract your core as tight as You can Once in position begin to lower yourself to the ground while you lift and extend your right leg forward Keep your core and glutes contracted throughout the entire movement for stability and use your extended arms to help with balance Begin to lower yourself to the ground And as soon as you descend all the way to the floor Push through the heel of your left foot to return to the starting position and repeat If you cannot perform this movement with your bodyweight alone, you can modify the exercise with the following progressions For progression one you’re going to position a plyo box about four inches behind you once in place perform the movement as you normally would Except now you will sit on the plyo box to help with the stability at the bottom of the movement Be sure to not rock or use momentum when you push up from off the plyo box to return to the starting position Challenge yourself by using a plyo box that is lower to the ground as you become stronger For progression 2, you’re going to utilize the plough box to help simulate the bottom position of the pistol squat Place your right foot up on top of the box and with as much control as possible Push through your heel to bring yourself to the top position of the movement Be careful to not use momentum to get yourself off the ground If you have a hard time with this progression find a lower plyo box While progression three you’re going to utilize a sturdy pole or tools such as the TRX to help assist you with the exercise Try your best to loosely grasp the pole or TRX and only rely on it when you absolutely need it in Our last progression progression four you’re gonna grab a light dumbbell and use it to help balance yourself throughout the movement Hold the dumbbell with both hands and extend your arms out in front of you keeping the weight over your foot. I hope you guys enjoyed this exercise demonstration If you have any more questions about the exercise You can leave a comment in the comment section below or join us in the forum section over here on if you want to add this exercise to your workout routine Try adding 12 to 15 repetitions per side to your next leg workout 3 or 4 sets for more great tips exercises routines and recipes be sure to join us on and as always More good stuff coming soon. See you guys

100 thoughts on “How To: Pistol Squat – Build Leg Strength & Correct Muscle Imbalances!

  1. Do you make these deadly mistakes in your diets? Copy And Paste Into Google  Muscle Maker Method to find out.

  2. hey man , im having a problem with this exercise , im doing this , i can't balance, i think my muscles are weak :/ any suggestions?

  3. i play football and i have been playing with an  Muscle Imbalances. If i do this how long will it take for it to correct it.

  4. it looks easy, you do it with ease but its ver very hard ? or I'm too weak ? and by the way, your tutorials are the best, thank you!

  5. I do this a lot but usually as a warm up to my main leg workout. Assuming it doesn't actually build mass, just more for strength…like muscle ups.

  6. hey scott, i just wanted to write this message to thank you.  in the spring of 2014 i suffered a traumatic injury playing soccer and for over a year could barely walk.  because of this i developed a huge muscular imbalance.  i have been doing these pistol squats for about 3 months now, and i have to tell you, my muscular imbalance is nearly gone.  i sincerely thank you very much scott, by sharing your knowledge you have helped me to correct my imbalances.

  7. there was a 60+ yr old dude at my gym doing this with 2 40lbs dumbells for like 10-15 reps. crazy shit i can barely do 1

  8. i am doing this exercise for 2 month and i dont see any result. my left leg is bigger than my right. what other exercise can i do to streighten my leg? sorry for my english 😛

  9. Good video Scott. I want to know how to get the symmetry in the quads like that. What exersizes can i do to gain muscle in the vmo (teardrop) muscle in the quads to achieve good symetry like youve achieved. Thanks

  10. My dad used to do this to impress people.
    I never even had to practice this. I was successful the first time I even tried it. 
    Seems like you'd have to be pretty weak and uncoordinated to not be able to do it right away.

  11. WHY IS IT easier for me to pistol squat holding a weight but if i do it without holding a weight i fall backwards

  12. I can squat 220 pounds ass to grass but I just found out that I can't do a single rep of bodyweight pistol squats!! The hell?

  13. Mate with that leg strength you should try and do Hopak Dancing! It's super demanding just like this kind of squat, but more dynamic. That would be a really entertaining video!

  14. These are definitely great to help with muscular imbalance. Even just going low in a normal squat, but making sure your knees feel relaxed the whole way through is a good help. The knees, ankles, and hips should relax more and more. I used to do all types of weight lifting, but had poor practical use of my muscles and NO flexibility. Switching to body weight only exercise has been great.

  15. i'm doing pistol squats off a stepping stool and that shit is hard but without it is easier for some reason, thanks for the video

  16. fuck diz shit..i can leg press 10 plates per side for repz lolz…can't even do one of these…snapcity!! fuck it hurts my knees

  17. This is so hard oh my gosh. Had to do progression 2. Still had balance trouble. But thanks for the tutorial, trying my best to get healthier!

  18. Hey @scotthermanfitness ! I've wanted to do pistol squats for a long time because, as you mentioned in the video, it corrects muscle imbalance. I havent gotten around to learn it, and after years of procasination im ready. I tried it today, and I cramped up in the quad and ive noticed I struggle to do proper step ups without using momentum. Being able to perform a pistol squat will fill a giant whole in my game. Would love some feedback if possible.

  19. Scott, I really want to do this exercise! I started doing single leg squats on the angled/recumbent leg press. I'm noticing my ATG squat is much more fluid and I can hold that pause at the bottom with 225lbs on the bar. This tells me I am not as flexible as I would like to be or should be considering, like everyone else….."I work out". Tonight, I tried the assisted type of pistol squat. I noticed right away my heel is coming up at the bottom of the movement. Anyway to work on this? All I can say is WOW, what an impressive exercise!! I am no where near ready for this exercise so I will start with the plyo box and take it from there. Thanks for making this video.

  20. Super helpful Scott! This has been great for an all in one rehabilitation approach as well. Keep up the great work! His Power-Level is waaaaay over 9000!!!! LoL

  21. This is a great exercise, but I don't think its a good idea to go below knee level. If you go lower than your knees you are gonna do some damage long term.

    I do this exercise, but I don't go vertically lower than my knee.

  22. Did a few of these after my normal free weight squats and burned out- it was great.
    Any other exercises like this requiring excellent balance and stabilization??

  23. hey i have 8:10 leg imbalance due to some decease. i train my weaker leg thrice a week . can it be strengthened equal to other leg ?

  24. Idk how but one day I wanted to improve my vertical jump and I discovered I could do these.
    I was like 10.
    None of my friends can do them so it's really funny watching them trying to do even one.

  25. Hey, I can do a pistol squat with my training shoes on, but I struggle to do one on bare foot. Is there a reason for that?

  26. Technically there should not be any stress on knees while doing squats as it can damage them….but a lot of stress happens while doing pistol squats. Plz give your valuable suggestions.

  27. is a single leg squat 4 times harder than a regular squat? Unless I am misunderstanding the weight distribution. So the legs have twice the load vs normal and the core has twice the load since the force between the leg and the core is travelling through one leg so twice the force is needed from the core thus 4 times harder. What do you think?

  28. I've been trying to do a pistol squat for 6 months and have only just managed to be able to do ONE on both sides. Part of me hates you for making it look so easy, but this video also helped a lot so thanks!

  29. After about 1.5 months, I can now do full pistols. TBH, I found the assisted-band stuff unhelpful. I just started with a chair and kept using a surface with a slightly shorter depth each time I could do 5reps of 5. Also, I never sat down fully on purpose. Just used tapped the surface and went back up.

  30. Brutal on the patella- if you have arthritis in your knees, the compression of the patella will promote further inflammation. Its recommended you not go past 45°.

  31. Scott, I have some slight knee pain from doing these. I only feel it sometimes, and it’s only in one knee. Should I keep trying to fix the form in that knee? Or should I stop doing them for a bit?

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