Single Leg Squat (pistol)

Single Leg Squat (pistol)

The Single Leg Squat, also known as the pistol squat, is a challenging and effective exercise that targets your lower body, specifically your quads, glutes, and hamstrings. It also engages your core muscles for stability and balance. This exercise requires strength, mobility, and control, making it an excellent choice for individuals looking to improve lower body strength and athleticism. What sets the Single Leg Squat apart from other squat variations is that you perform it on one leg, which places a greater demand on your muscles to stabilize your body throughout the movement. This not only enhances your strength but also improves your balance and coordination. When performing the Single Leg Squat, it's crucial to maintain proper form to prevent injury and maximize the benefits. Your knee should track directly over your toes, and your hips should be pushed back as if you're sitting into an imaginary chair. Keep your back straight and chest lifted throughout the movement. It's best to start with a shallower squat and gradually increase your depth as your strength and mobility improve. To make the Single Leg Squat more challenging, you can add resistance by holding dumbbells or using a resistance band. Alternatively, you can modify the exercise by holding onto a stable surface for support until you build enough strength and balance to perform it without assistance. Incorporating the Single Leg Squat into your workout routine can help you build lower body strength, improve balance, and enhance functional fitness. It's important to progress at your own pace and listen to your body, ensuring that you're challenging yourself while still maintaining good form.


  • Start by standing straight with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Lift one leg slightly off the ground and extend it straight in front of you.
  • Keep your core engaged and your shoulders back throughout the exercise.
  • Slowly lower your body down into a squat position on one leg, while keeping the other leg extended.
  • Try to lower your body until your thigh is parallel to the ground, or as low as you can comfortably go.
  • Push through the heel of your supporting foot to return to the starting position.
  • Repeat the exercise for the desired number of repetitions and then switch sides.
  • Maintain proper form and balance throughout the movement.
  • Remember to breathe steadily and avoid locking your knees at any point.

Tips & Tricks

  • Focus on improving your lower body strength and stability through exercises like lunges and step-ups.
  • Incorporate balance and stability exercises into your routine to improve your ability to perform the single leg squat.
  • Work on increasing your flexibility, especially in your hips and ankles, to enhance your range of motion during the single leg squat.
  • Engage your core muscles throughout the movement to maintain proper alignment and stability.
  • Start with assisted variations, such as using a chair or wall for support, and gradually progress to performing the exercise without assistance.
  • Ensure proper form by keeping your knee tracking over your toes and your back straight throughout the movement.
  • Gradually increase the depth of your squat as you become more comfortable and confident with the exercise.
  • Implement a progressive overload approach by adding resistance, such as weights or resistance bands, to challenge your muscles and continue making progress.
  • Incorporate unilateral exercises, such as single leg deadlifts and Bulgarian split squats, to complement and further improve your single leg squat performance.
  • Listen to your body and give yourself adequate rest and recovery time to prevent overuse injuries and allow for muscle repair and growth.


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