The Pistol Squat

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There are tons of benefits to the Pistol Squat. It can eliminate imbalances between the dominant and non-dominant sides of the body. This exercise requires no equipment and can be done anywhere—so you can never use that “I couldn’t get to the gym” excuse. This exercise targets multiple muscle groups and combines strength and balance training.

The Pistol Squat blasts your quads. It also works your hamstrings, calves, glutes and shoulders.

While this is an awesome exercise, it is also an extremely difficult one, even for those who have been strength training for a long time. Attempting Pistol Squats without proper form can result in you injuring yourself.

Here is how to do a Pistol Squat with proper form:

At the Top

Start standing on both feet with your arms stretched out in front of you. Lift one foot off the ground, making sure not to bend that knee. Keeping your outstretched leg straight cranks up the intensity of this exercise.

At the Bottom

Squat down on one leg while keeping the other leg stretched out straight. Try to keep your arms straight, but use them for balance throughout the exercise if needed.

As you squat down, allow your knee to push past your foot. Once you reach the bottom of your squat, hold it for a moment then push through your heels to come back up to standing. Make sure to keep your spine neutral and your head up through the movement.

Switch legs and repeat on the other side.


If you find this move too difficult at first, start out using a low chair, bench or box beneath you. You can also use a counterweight, like a brick, dumbbell or other heavy object, to help you balance. Hold the object out in front of you while you squat to offset your hips. Move to a lower weight as your balance improves.

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