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Levelling Up Squats


Vella

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Hey, all.

 

I've run into a bit of an issue - I've been trying to make my squats more difficult.  I tried pistol squats, but they're still a bit beyond me, and my gym doesn't have anything I can use to assist pistol squats.  I tried hand-on-the-wall, but it's not enough.

 

Does anyone have either any advice for making squats harder other than adding weight (I've already added 20kg worth of dumbbells, and am up to 20/15/15/15 on that).  Is there some magical piece of equipment I'm missing that will let me assist pistol squats so I can work up that way?  Is there another intermediary exercise?

 

Cheers!

Previous challenges:

(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6)

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Maybe you could try Bulgarian split squats.  Or squat tuck jumps.  Otherwise, I'd just try to find a better place to try the assisted pistols, such that you can assist with both arms.  Any low-ish horizontal bar should work.

Level 30? who the hell knows anymore? Direwolf Assassin/Ranger - current challenge

 ACL rehab thread      2016 parkour

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handbalancing: crow, flying crow, side crow, crow->headstand->crow  Bo staff: strikes 1 2 3, spins 1 2

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Does your gym have a power rack? Or any vertical pole/pillar of some kind? That's what I use to assist my pistols, and you can definitely get some pull on it to help you out of the hole.

 

This article also has some good methods to work up to pistols if you're interested in that. Otherwise, I'd probably start doing barbell squats.

 

http://www.beastskills.com/one-legged-squat-the-pistol/

Cowardly Assassin
Training Log | Challenges: Current8th, 7th, 6th, 5th, 4th, 3rd, 2nd, 1st

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I found that holding on to poles or things above me didn't help much with actually learning pistols. They tended to encourage me to twist or lean.

 

One scaling method I did find helpful was to squat to something (a low box, a couple of stacked plates, a short stack of those step bench thingies they use in aerobics classes... at home I practiced on the coffee table in the beginning). I started with something just barely below parallel, and actually sat down on it and let myself get a bit of momentum going back up by rocking a bit. I slowly lowered the target and put less weight on it until I was just using it as a depth marker... then I got rid of it. 

 

I also practiced standing ON boxes. The leg that would normally be held up in front of me could dip down without touching the ground and lending support. This let me work on the necessary strength and angle for one legged squatting without having to work to hold that leg way up at the same time (and it helps with balance a bit). Over time I lowered the platform so that it gave me less wiggle room. 

 

Some people find that holding a light weight in front of them helps them to balance. Holding the toe works for some people, but it messes me up. 

 

Oh, and we occasionally use one legged forward rolls in our warm ups. Basically, you lean forward and roll, but as you come up you only put one foot down to stand up on (the other one should be out in front of you like a pistol). Some people need to touch their hands to the ground, but work away from that. It takes some practice to find the right amount of speed that will give you a little momentum without sending you hopping forward. Bonus: rolling is a great skill. 

 

 

As for other squats ideas: add tempos (slow them way down, pause in the bottom), jump squats, bulgarian split squats (weighted or unweighted), skater squats. 

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I also practiced standing ON boxes. The leg that would normally be held up in front of me could dip down without touching the ground and lending support. This let me work on the necessary strength and angle for one legged squatting without having to work to hold that leg way up at the same time (and it helps with balance a bit). Over time I lowered the platform so that it gave me less wiggle room. 

 

I know when I first learned of the pistol and got excited about them this was what helped my progress most.  Allowing that "off" leg to hang lets you concentrate on developing strength and balance in the active leg without an "artificial" influence of holding onto something - it keeps the balance a little more similar to what you're aiming at in the longer term.  For me the biggest part of this was that it favoured the "active" foot staying fully planted (as in heel, ball and toes all in contact with the ground/box) instead of shifting up onto the toes, which is likely to happen in the purist pistol position with the one leg extended forward.  Contact with your full foot is really important, first in terms of maintaining a safe and solid balance for your ankle and knee and as a result also for generating the power to push out of the bottom position.

illcDimension hopping Ranger-Cartographer, level 2STR: 6 DEX: 2 STA: 5 CON: 6 WIS: 5 CHA: 2

Training Log

Of Goats and Rucks Challenge (June -July 2013)

~Take care. Be bold.~

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I believe someone already made reference to beast skills for pistols, I liked using the doorway for assistance with pistols. Also, starting from the bottom, already in the locked position and slowly moving up, helped with balance and also keeping my foot planted on the ground.

 

As far as different variations of Squats or other bodyweight exercises, there are many. A few have already been mentioned above:

 

*Bulgarian Squats

*Tuck Jumps

*Jump Squats

*180 Jump Squats

*Walking lunges

*Box Jumps

*Splits Jumps

*Squat w/ Front kick

*Duck walk

We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing. - George Bernard Shaw

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Thanks again, all!

 

 

I found that holding on to poles or things above me didn't help much with actually learning pistols. They tended to encourage me to twist or lean.

 

One scaling method I did find helpful was to squat to something (a low box, a couple of stacked plates, a short stack of those step bench thingies they use in aerobics classes... at home I practiced on the coffee table in the beginning). I started with something just barely below parallel, and actually sat down on it and let myself get a bit of momentum going back up by rocking a bit. I slowly lowered the target and put less weight on it until I was just using it as a depth marker... then I got rid of it. 

 

I also practiced standing ON boxes. The leg that would normally be held up in front of me could dip down without touching the ground and lending support. This let me work on the necessary strength and angle for one legged squatting without having to work to hold that leg way up at the same time (and it helps with balance a bit). Over time I lowered the platform so that it gave me less wiggle room. 

 

oo, I like the on-boxes plan.  There's a little box jumps platform I could use for this.  Thanks!

 

And I'll have a go at some Bulgarian splits, too - they seem very helpful.

 

Cheers again for all the help and advice!

Previous challenges:

(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6)

Link to comment

I found that holding on to poles or things above me didn't help much with actually learning pistols. They tended to encourage me to twist or lean.

 

One scaling method I did find helpful was to squat to something (a low box, a couple of stacked plates, a short stack of those step bench thingies they use in aerobics classes... at home I practiced on the coffee table in the beginning). I started with something just barely below parallel, and actually sat down on it and let myself get a bit of momentum going back up by rocking a bit. I slowly lowered the target and put less weight on it until I was just using it as a depth marker... then I got rid of it. 

 

I also practiced standing ON boxes. The leg that would normally be held up in front of me could dip down without touching the ground and lending support. This let me work on the necessary strength and angle for one legged squatting without having to work to hold that leg way up at the same time (and it helps with balance a bit). Over time I lowered the platform so that it gave me less wiggle room. 

 

Some people find that holding a light weight in front of them helps them to balance. Holding the toe works for some people, but it messes me up. 

 

Oh, and we occasionally use one legged forward rolls in our warm ups. Basically, you lean forward and roll, but as you come up you only put one foot down to stand up on (the other one should be out in front of you like a pistol). Some people need to touch their hands to the ground, but work away from that. It takes some practice to find the right amount of speed that will give you a little momentum without sending you hopping forward. Bonus: rolling is a great skill. 

 

 

As for other squats ideas: add tempos (slow them way down, pause in the bottom), jump squats, bulgarian split squats (weighted or unweighted), skater squats. 

 

These two ideas are what got me to pistol squats as well:

1. Slowly squat to lower and lower benches or boxes.

2. Standing on a box so I don't have to hold up my other leg so much.

 

Finally, spend time chilling out in the bottom position of a pistol squat.  It'll help your strength for keeping your top foot up, and develop the flexibility to reach that low position.

 

Searching the world for a cure for my wanderlust.

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These two ideas are what got me to pistol squats as well:

1. Slowly squat to lower and lower benches or boxes.

2. Standing on a box so I don't have to hold up my other leg so much.

 

Finally, spend time chilling out in the bottom position of a pistol squat.  It'll help your strength for keeping your top foot up, and develop the flexibility to reach that low position.

 

 

Yeah - fortunately, the correct apparatus for starting this one has been staring me directly in the face for a little while now: The benches at the gym.  I'm definitely trying it out next time.

Previous challenges:

(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6)

Link to comment

These two ideas are what got me to pistol squats as well:

1. Slowly squat to lower and lower benches or boxes.

2. Standing on a box so I don't have to hold up my other leg so much.

 

Finally, spend time chilling out in the bottom position of a pistol squat.  It'll help your strength for keeping your top foot up, and develop the flexibility to reach that low position.

Yep, this x1000

Though I think just standing there holding your leg up as high as you can (with no assistance) is as good of an exercise as there is for nonworking leg weakness.

Sitting in the pistol position will work flexibility/balance issues.

Standing and sitting using pistol form on progressively lower objects will work working leg strength.

And a form note - LEAN FORWARD as much as you can as a beginner. It makes a huge difference.

currently cutting

battle log challenges: 19,18,17,16,15,14,13,12,11,10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1

don't panic!

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For me the biggest part of this was that it favoured the "active" foot staying fully planted (as in heel, ball and toes all in contact with the ground/box) instead of shifting up onto the toes, which is likely to happen in the purist pistol position with the one leg extended forward.  Contact with your full foot is really important, first in terms of maintaining a safe and solid balance for your ankle and knee and as a result also for generating the power to push out of the bottom position.

Yep.

Though keep doing pistols for a long time and you'll develop enough leg strength and ankle mobility that it will no longer be necessary to hold your leg out in front of you for balance, even flat footed.

Its actually a pretty big threshold. Passing that point opens up the world of all other positions for the leg and the world of nameless single leg squat forms that virtually no one has seen or can do.

currently cutting

battle log challenges: 19,18,17,16,15,14,13,12,11,10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1

don't panic!

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Yep.Though keep doing pistols for a long time and you'll develop enough leg strength and ankle mobility that it will no longer be necessary to hold your leg out in front of you for balance, even flat footed.Its actually a pretty big threshold. Passing that point opens up the world of all other positions for the leg and the world of nameless single leg squat forms that virtually no one has seen or can do.

I can do pistols without holding my foot in front if me, and I actually prefer to, but I thought you wear supposed to keep it in front of you. Is that true?

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Leg out in front provides a counterbalance, shifting your center of gravity toward the knee, reducing the apparent load and allowing for less of a shin angle in the hole.

Without your leg in front of you, the strength and flexibility requirements go way up if you are doing full ROM squats (basic shrimp squats are a partial ROM squat).

One example of a full ROM single leg squat variation is squatting ATG while holding your nonworking knee tucked to your chest. Seems easy, but it requires quite a bit of ankle mobility to pull off.

currently cutting

battle log challenges: 19,18,17,16,15,14,13,12,11,10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1

don't panic!

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Yep.

Though keep doing pistols for a long time and you'll develop enough leg strength and ankle mobility that it will no longer be necessary to hold your leg out in front of you for balance, even flat footed.

Its actually a pretty big threshold. Passing that point opens up the world of all other positions for the leg and the world of nameless single leg squat forms that virtually no one has seen or can do.

 

Excuse me while I add a new fitness goal to my list...

 

Thanks for all the help, guys!  I'll probably drop back by if I need any more help, but at least I know which direction I'm going now :)

Previous challenges:

(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6)

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Oh, and we occasionally use one legged forward rolls in our warm ups. Basically, you lean forward and roll, but as you come up you only put one foot down to stand up on (the other one should be out in front of you like a pistol). Some people need to touch their hands to the ground, but work away from that. It takes some practice to find the right amount of speed that will give you a little momentum without sending you hopping forward. Bonus: rolling is a great skill. 

 

Yes and agreed.  I've heard these refered to as deck squats if you're wanting to search video, etc.

illcDimension hopping Ranger-Cartographer, level 2STR: 6 DEX: 2 STA: 5 CON: 6 WIS: 5 CHA: 2

Training Log

Of Goats and Rucks Challenge (June -July 2013)

~Take care. Be bold.~

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