Training Notebook: The Power Of The Pistol Squat

Pistol Squat

Add this move to your next leg day

A powerful bodyweight exercise that targets your legs and core stabilisers to help build functional strength and blast calories.

Muscles targeted

Primary: Quadriceps (upper thigh)

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Secondary: (synergists and stabilisers): Glutes, hamstrings, adductor magnus, calves (soleus and gastrocnemius), erector spinae, abs (obliques, rectus abdominis), iliopsoas, tensor fasciae latae.

How to do it:

Starting: Stand with your arms at your sides. Balance on one leg with the opposite leg extended straight forward and as high as possible. Stabilise your ankle and keep tension throughout your body.

The movement: Squat down as far as possible while keeping the ‘free’ leg elevated off the floor. Press back with your hips and squat all the way down so that so that your glutes reach the Achilles of the bent leg at the bottom of the movement. Drive up by extending the knee and hip of your supporting leg, pressing and driving your flat foot into the ground. Return to the upright position and repeat for the required reps before continuing with the opposite leg.

Pro tips:

  • Keep your back straight as you descend into the squat.
  • The knee of the supporting leg should point in same direction as the supporting foot.


Modelled by: Leanda Ludick
Photographed by: Cindy Ellis

Author: Tanja Schmitz

Founder and Editor of Fitness Magazine. You’ll find her behind her computer or on her bike, dreaming up new ways to improve or create content for you.