Pistol Squat Slow Negatives – One-Leg Squat Progressions

Movement: Pistol Squat Slow Negatives

Range of Motion: From standing on the floor on one foot to the bottom of a pistol squat position (knee bent, foot flat on ground, butt hovering above the floor) with other leg straight and not touching floor

Equipment: Flat and firm ground surface, barefeet

Rep/Time Methodic: Never to failure (or pain!), stop 2 reps before failure, no more than 5 reps total each side

Coaching Cues: Stabilize knee (don’t let it buckle in or out); Lower to floor on a controlled 3- or 4-second count (don’t just drop); Keep lifted leg off the floor and as straight as possible; Gently drop or use hands to sit down, then stand back up with both legs; Knee may translate more forward than when doing a conventional Front/Back Squat

Warnings: Never go to joint pain! If history of previous knee injury/current injury, especially ACL or meniscus tears in the knee, this movement could initially cause a lot of irritation and cause further damage, so everything around the knee has to be stronger before progressing here (try movements with straight knee first, such as Standing Single Leg Raise Holds or Single Leg Calf Raise Holds for time)

Benefits: Basic strength foundation; Able to go from sitting/standing safely; Support of the ankle, hip, and knee joints

How I Use This in Programs: 3x/week for 2 reps each side during Movement Prep of Beginner Foundation B

Progressions: Can start with supported or partner pistols, where you hold onto either a bar or a partner’s arm (like in the video) to support some of your weight as you lower at a controlled tempo; Progress to full pistol squat (could take years!)

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