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Loading Up the Pistol

I like Pistols.

dave handgun

No, not them (even though they’re cool too!)

But Pistol Squats.

Pistol Squat

The other day one of my lads comes in with a story to tell. A friend of his had been to a physio after some knee surgery. I don’t know the details of the surgery, so can’t fully comment.

The crux of the story and the part which had my client baffled, was that the physio had recommended single leg squats (which he translated in his head to mean Pistol Squats) as rehab.

To him it sounded wrong.

And rightly so.

He isn’t a physio nor a trainer. He’s a researcher.

A Phd brain.

So when he comes to me with a question / comment / concern like this, you know his Phd brain has been working to figure out the problem.

And here’s the problem.

Pistol Squats are hard.

They require:

Strength, obviously. But more importantly, balanced and coordinated strength.

Mobility. A full pistol squat requires full range of motion in the hip, knee, ankle AND the foot.

It’s not as simple as say a goblet squat, which is bilateral and easier to hide compensations in.

It’s not a regular barbell squat where depth can get a bit questionable.

But there are many roads into a full pistol squat.

It all depends on where the person is starting from.

Without a start point and an end point, we cant plan the journey.

And to be fair with many of my clients, full range pistol squats are a by product of the training, not a goal.

It certainly wasn’t a major goal of Karolina’s:

A video posted by Dave Hedges (@dave_hedges) on Jun 3, 2015 at 2:39am PDT

It was a bigger deal to Seb, this video was taken 14 month after reconstructive surgery to rebuild a knee that he’d trashed in a motorcycle crash, the month after this was filmed, he won Gold in the European BJJ championships, he still does these every warm up.

Two people, two different histories, two different start points, both no able to pistol squat full range on any given day.

The Pistol Squat is a go to drill for developing strong, resilient knee, simply being able to do them with control demonstrates that the knee is solid, which suggests the hip, ankle and foot are doing what they should.

This means that errors in the hip, ankle and foot have been addressed along the journey.

This can only happen with a well defined start point.

How do find the start point?

With an assessment.

Get yourself assessed here:


Dave Hedges

And don’t forget the self defence course, we’re less than two weeks out and I’ve 10 signed up. This is my optimal amount on a course, even though I will take up to 18 people. More people = less time per person when instructing, so less is more in a workshop like this where quality of work is so important.

If you want in, get in quick:

And get yourselves on the email list! You’ll not regret it!


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