Leg Training - Pistol Squat

The pistol squat is one of the best exercises for the glutes and the thighs. The only problem is that if your calves are not flexible enough, you can't go all the way down. Of course you can put a plate under your heel, but in the long run you should work on your flexibility. So don’t get used to elevating your heel, but stretch your calf muscles. Find more leg exercises on our weight training and bodybuilding main page.


  • Stand on one leg and extend your arms in front of your chest.
  • Then squat down on one leg as low as you can without elevating your heel and inhale at the same time. Keep looking forward and try not to round your back.
  • Ideally your hip would be lower than your knee at the lowest point. But you will probably not be able to go that low at the beginning.
  • Then get back up slowly and exhale.
  • The higher you keep your lose leg, the better. At the beginning you will probably only be able to do half a squat… But again, TRY to go as low as possible without elevating the heel.
  • Keep your knees pretty close together the whole time, and HOLLOW your back or PUSH your chest forward as you stand up. DON’T round your back!
  • Also make sure you reach muscle failure => That means you should reach the point where your leg muscles collapse, and the only way you can go, is DOWN. Everything else is a waste of time.


  • If you are a beginner, you can slide the lose leg on the floor when you get up, but make sure you stand up on one leg only!
  • Don't shift your weight back and forth in order to stand up with both legs!
  • And if you can do more than 20 repetitions, have somebody jump on your back. NOOO!!! Just kidding !!! If you can do more than 20, do another exercise before your pistol squats. Consider doing barbell squats, leg press or leg extensions first, or go lower or simply do your pistol squats slower. I don’t recommend doing weighted pistol squats.
  • And BTW, this exercises is NOT just for girls. The pistol squat is an amazing leg exercise, but in my opinion many guys just don’t do it because it’s hard to balance and they are often not flexible enough.
  • One more thing! If you want to emphasize even more on your glutes, squeeze your buttocks as you stand up and stretch 10 to 15 seconds between sets. I usually do this stretch (see video).