Yes, Laura really can do pistol squats. After the pistol squat column (March 18), gym members wanted to see if she could really do them. Even after teaching two group classes back-to-back, she demonstrated single-leg squats to prove the point.
They are not all that difficult to learn, but do take some strength. You may need some practice with the adjustable risers, but you will master them soon enough. Another way to practice them is with a workout buddy. No need to struggle while your friend kicks back with a bottle of cold water.
One of today’s exercises is a two-person pistol squat. Why should one person suffer alone when you both can learn a new skill. This two-person variation turns you and your workout partner into each other’s spotter. By pulling on each other, you get just enough help to lift yourself out of the squat. Another perk is that if one person topples over the other one is going down also. It makes the workout fun if you both goof up the exercise. Not to mention the motivation to not fall over a second time should make you try a bit harder.
Single-leg squats are a thing of beauty when they are mastered. They combine strength and balance into a functional movement. You can even use them to show off. Some people learn to play a guitar and others may customize a car to try to impress peers. But believe me, pistol squats are where it’s at. They are a good benchmark of fitness.
First, you’re light enough to let one leg do the work of two. Generally speaking, a person trying pistols has body fat percentage in a healthy range. Second, you’re strong enough to perform the movement. And third, your joints are stable enough to support your body through the full range of motion. Who wouldn’t be impressed by all that?
Pistol squats are an advanced movement. Be sure to have you regular body weight squats down before attempting them. If you have a knee issue, consult your physician because single-leg squats use a large range of motion in the knee and hip.
Having your workout buddy present will be more valuable than you might think. Serving as motivators, they can encourage you to try harder and perform better. You know that when they finish a set it’s your turn. This keeps your rest period in the proper range. Your workout partner might be a little fitter than you. That means you should strive to surpass your workout buddy. Conversely, if you’re the fitter one, then don’t let your partner pass you up. Motivate them to reach your level.
I always work harder when I team up with another person. Working alone, I tend to rest more and take the lazy route. When someone else is there, I push harder for those extra reps.
Today’s second exercise is a two-person shoulder press. This exercise is good for all occasions. You can use it in the gym as a superset with little set up time. On the road or a business trip? This exercise works well anywhere. It’s featured today using a bench at the gym but you can use a chair in a hotel room or kneeling in the park. Your workout buddy provides all the resistance you need.
Chris Huth is a Las Vegas trainer. He can be reached at email@example.com. Consult your physician before beginning any exercise program.