Exercise Profile
  • Target Muscle Group
  • Exercise TypeStrength
  • Equipment RequiredBodyweight
  • MechanicsCompound
  • Force TypePush (Unilateral)
  • Experience LevelAdvanced
  • Secondary Muscles
    Abs, Adductors, Calves, Glutes, Hamstrings
Target Muscle Group


Quads Muscle Anatomy Diagram

Bodyweight Pistol Squat Overview

The bodyweight pistol squat is a variation of the squat and an exercise used to work the muscles of the leg.

The pistol squat requires a lot of balance and mobility to perform and is an advanced one legged exercise variation.

The unilateral nature of the pistol squat allows you to build balanced strength, as you can provide equal resistance to each side of the body.

Bodyweight Pistol Squat Instructions

  1. Set up in a single leg stance position with one leg straight in front of you and the other leg supporting your bodyweight while keeping the knee slightly bent.
  2. Descend by flexing the knee of the supporting leg and continue until your hamstring touches your calf.
  3. Drive through the front foot and extend the knee as you return to the starting position.
  4. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Bodyweight Pistol Squat Tips

  1. If you can’t complete normal bodyweight pistol squats, utilize a band attached to a rack which can assist you out of the bottom position. If you need more assistance out of the bottom, simply grip higher on the band which will provide more stretch.
  2. If you’re losing the knee position in the bottom of the movement and it continuously dives inward excessively then you may need to address stability of the foot and ankle mobility.
  3. Descend slowly and focus on controlling the movement via the quads rather than relying upon momentum.
  4. Keep the heel down but don’t focus on keeping the knee behind the toes. To get into positions of deep hip flexion coupled with a decent torso position, you must have adequate ankle dorsiflexion.