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IMPORTANT SITE ANNOUNCEMENT


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Monday, 18 June 2012

Squat progression


bodyweight pistol squat progression
Squats are a compound exercise which will work your entire lower body. They primarily target the muscles in your butt (gluteus  maximus), the front of your legs (quadriceps) and the back of your legs (hamstrings). But they also engage some stabilizing muscles: your lower back (erector spinae), the outside of your thighs and bum (abductors), your inner thighs (adductors) and your calves (gastrocnemius and soleus).

Squats should normally be performed with your thighs at least parallel with the floor, but going lower through the whole range of motion will constitute 'deep squats'. The heels normally remain in contact with the floor, though in some variations you can raise on your toes (hindu squats).

When performing squats, you should ensure that your back remains in a neutral position, and that you head stays aligned with your body. Your knees should remain in alignment with your toes at all times.

The following progression will take you to a one legged squat (pistol squat).

Start at whichever point of the progression is relevant to you.
Unless otherwise indicated, you should be aiming to complete 6 sets of 6 repetitions of the given exercise within a workout.  
The first set is a warm up set: go back two or three levels in the progression and perform that variation for 6 reps. 
Perform each following set ‘to failure’ (e.g. 6,6,5,5,4).  

In each new workout, you should aim to improve on the number of reps you performed previously by at least 1, e.g.: (6,6,5,5,4) (6,6,6,5,4) 
Once you manage 6 sets of 6 reps, you are ready to move on to the next variation in the progression.


If you find yourself not progressing any longer, take a few rest days, then resume training.

bodyweight squat progression
1. Assisted squats – Rest your hands on the back of a chair in front you. Lower yourself till your thighs are parallel with the floor, and come back up, using the chair as a support.









bodyweight squat progression
 2. Deep assisted squats – Same as above, but squat through the full range of motion.










bodyweight squat progression
 3. Half squats – Without any help, lower yourself till your thighs are parallel with the floor, and come back up.







bodyweight squat progression
 4. Deep squats - Same as above, but squat through the full range of motion.











bodyweight squat progression
 5. Bulgarian split squats. Rest your back foot on an elevated platform, with the sole pointing up. Keep your weight over your front leg as you lower yourself.









bodyweight squat progression
 6. Assisted half one-legged squats – Performed with a chair next to you, extend one leg straight in front of you, and lower yourself till your thigh is parallel with the floor. Help yourself back up with the chair.





bodyweight squat progression
 7. Door frame half one-legged squats - Same as above, but using a door or door frame mainly for support and balance.










bodyweight squat progression
8. Half one-legged squats – As above but without the help of the chair or door.







bodyweight squat progression
 9. Assisted 3/4 one-legged squats - As above, but going down three quarters of the way.






bodyweight squat progression
10. Door frame 3/4 one-legged squat - Using a door or door frame mainly for support and balance.










bodyweight squat progression
 11. 3/4 one-legged squat - Unsupported.







bodyweight squat progression
12. Assisted one-legged squats – With a chair next to you, extend one leg straight in front of you, and lower yourself through the full range of motion. Help yourself with the chair on the way up.






bodyweight squat progression
13. Door frame one-legged squats - Using a door or door frame mainly for support and balance.










pistol squat
 14. One-legged squats (pistol squats) – Same as above, without the help of the chair.







bodyweight squat progression
 15. Modified one-legged squats - a pistol squat performed with what would normally be your front leg being held in your hand.










weighted pistol, squat progression
SNEAKY TIP! Still having difficulties achieving one-legged squats? If you're struggling with the transition from 'door frame one-legged squats' to unsupported ones, here's a counter-intuitive trick which will get you there in no time: do weighted one-legged squats (you can use dumbbells if you have some, but any heavy object will do just as well). The weight counter balances your body and makes it easier to lower yourself to the bottom position. Start with a 5kg weight and, once you achieve 5x6 reps, move down in weight progressively in 1 kg increments until you can do pistols.

12 comments:

  1. Good Afternoon, El Diablo
    I can do a full squat with a bent knee,
    or one with a straight leg raised half-way,
    but I can't do a full pistol-squat.
    Is this a flexibility or strength issue?
    I can't even stand in a pistol position,
    let alone squat.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's likely to be a bit of both... The strength, you will be developing by following the progression, and trying to get gradually lower. However, the other limiting factor is your Achilles tendons' flexibility. If you can't squat down on your heels, with your feet touching each other, without falling on your ass, then your flexibility is not good enough for pistols, and you should start stretching your achilles and calf muscles after every session.

      Delete
  2. So whats after the pistol squat when I can do multiple sets of these? I've been lifting heavy for 2 years and need a change of pace after some injuries, but my own bodyweight ain't much compared to squattin 405 for reps.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm afraid there's not much you can do in terms of bodyweight exercises once you can do full range, butt to the ground pistol squats... Once option is to start doing weighted pistol squats by holding dumbbells (or any other weight): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2vJEGZV6eB4.
      Another option is to look at plyo exercises and to start doing pistol box jumps: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vRWSd-0UoAM

      Delete
    2. Alright, i'll start adding some extra weight soon then, i already do some plyo work about once a week so I'll be good on that end. TY

      Delete
  3. Why is your back so rounded? I thought your back was supposed to be straight in a squat? If anything your hips and butt should be sticking out a little bit, not caved in.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, yes, your back should be straight when you are doing weighted squats (barbell or dumbells) due to the shearing forces on your spine caused by the weight. However, the same doesn't apply to pistols, which are unweighted... moreover, try to do a pistol with a straight back, and let me know how it goes :)

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  4. Hi El Diablo,

    When doing single leg and other one-sided sets, am I supposed to do 6 on each side = 1 set? 6x6 on side then 6x6 the other? Alternate so each side only gets 3x6?

    --Confused but trying!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I actually tried doing this and in reality, it's harder than it looks like. It was an intense workout (at least for me) and on my first day my muscles hurt so much.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi El Diablo, a glute ham raise progression would be a good idea, perhaps something like hip raises off a chair, maybe doing them unilateral, then sliding heels on a kitchen floor with a towel underneath, then hooking feet under something and using a chair to go down slowly, not thought about it in depth but think it would be perfect for balancing out pistols. Just a thought.

    Oh and the ultimate progression would be a one leg glute ham raise.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Aren't all of these progressions just similar to the Convict Conditioning program? I like how your gains are a bit more strength-minded versus pump-minded (6x6 progressions vs 3x40 progressions). I was wondering what's the catch and if there was a simplified format/document where I could collaborate all of your info. The reason being that although your program is similar to CC, it's different than CC and also because I don't have unlimited or always available internet, so remembering the next progression isn't always on the top of my mind.

    ReplyDelete