Squats on one leg - the pros and cons of exercise

Squats on one leg or a pistol is a difficult and rather ambiguous exercise. Many people are familiar with it from school physical education lessons, but in adulthood only a few athletes can do it at least a couple of times. Let's figure out in order what the peculiarity of such squats is, what are the benefits of their performance and possible contraindications, as well as how to learn how to make a pistol gun correctly.

Pros and cons of the exercise

Squats on one leg is a powerful exercise that involves a huge muscle mass and allows you to pump up the muscles of the legs and buttocks, performing the exercise with its own weight, that is, without any equipment, and without even leaving home.

Squats on one leg - the pros and cons of exercise

The impact of such squats on the muscles of the lower body is comparable to squats with a barbell of your weight.

The difference lies in the fact that in the case of squats with weight on two legs, weights press on the spinal column. For people with a sore back, this can create significant difficulties - such squats are simply contraindicated for them.

Squats on one leg can be used to gain mass and increase muscle strength in the lower body.

Impact on muscles

If we specifically consider the work of muscles, the load distribution is as follows:

  • The main load falls on the quadriceps. Also significant - on the gluteus maximus muscles.

  • Additionally they work and help stabilize the position of the supporting leg and body: hip biceps, adductors, lower leg muscles, back and abs.
  • At the raised leg, the quadriceps, the tensor of the wide fascia, the tailor muscle, the comb muscle work.

In addition to significant muscular load and coordination difficulties, pistol squats require good joint flexibility, in particular, hip, knee and ankle and ligament elasticity. This is where many problems begin. In adulthood, joints are much less flexible than in school years, and body weight is much higher.

This is not to mention the possible presence of injuries and joint diseases.

The load on the knee joints

The exercise puts the greatest load on the knee joint. When performing this squat, the knee bends at an acute angle, up to the contact of the biceps of the thigh and calf muscle. Therefore, if you have ever had problems with your knees, you feel uncomfortable with regular squats, pain when running or walking. Squats with a pistol are strictly contraindicated for you.

Squats on one leg - the pros and cons of exercise

If everything is in order with your knees, take the following two points into account:

  1. Before starting a pistol workout, warm-up and stretching are required.
  2. Exercise does not imply sudden movements. Until your muscles are strong - do exercises with support, do not fall sharply down and do not get up in a jerk. Otherwise, all the benefits of the exercise may be crossed out by injury.

Having put the above into several sentences, we can say that squats on one leg are an excellent exercise in terms of the development of leg muscles.

Its advantages are that it comprehensively affects the muscles of the lower body, requires a huge amount of energy and is able at home to replace squats with a barbell in the gym.

Additionally, a squat with a pistol develops flexibility and coordination. However, there are also disadvantages. The technique of performing the movement implies a significant load on the knee joints, which excludes it from the training arsenal of people with knee problems. With healthy knees, movement should be performed with great care.

Let's move on to the technique itself.

Technique of the exercise

Let us consider below the technique of the exercise in its pure form, which should strive for. This is the implementation of squats on one leg without additional support. About what exercises to prepare your muscles for such squats, we will tell in the next paragraph. Now we need to understand what the exercise is.

Squats on one leg - the pros and cons of exercise

  1. Stand upright and place your feet shoulder-width apart. Transfer body weight to the supporting leg, slightly tear off the second leg from the floor. Stretch your arms forward for balance.
  2. Slowly and uncontrollably squat on the supporting leg, while raising the straight second leg forward. At the same time, your pelvis should be pulled back, and not tilt forward.

    This is where flexibility is needed in the hip joints. The body at the same time leans forward for balance. Strive to keep your back straight. The second (non-working) leg is absolutely straight should rise at the same time as you go down.

  3. Having lowered to the lower point of movement (the biceps of the thigh pressed against the calf muscle), check the position of the non-working leg.

    It should be parallel to the floor. The back should be straight whenever possible. In this case, the knee of the supporting leg extends beyond the toe, and this this exercise differs from the classic squats. Actually this is the most traumatic moment in the whole movement.

  4. Tighten the muscles of the thighs and buttocks as much as possible, and with force, but without a jerk, push from the floor with the heel of your supporting leg.

    Raise your pelvis and bend your knee. Place the non-working leg against the supporting leg.

This exercise is performed as many times on each leg as your preparation allows - that is, to the maximum. Believe me, if you bring the number of squats to a dozen, you will receive intensive training not only legs, but almost the entire body.

Leading exercises

Immediately perform squats on one leg without support obtained in units of athletes.

The absolute majority of people, if they can sit down, then they certainly will not be able to get up. And the point is not always in the weakness of your muscles, but mostly in the unusual load.

So, with what exercises you can prepare your muscles for pistols:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.Raise your straight leg to the parallel with the floor and try to stand in this position for at least 30 seconds. This is not an easy task.

  2. Next, practice crouching on one leg without lifting the other in front of you. To do this, you need a sturdy stand or drawer. Place the box near a wall or other support. Holding the support with your hands, squat on one leg, freely lowering the other down.
  3. The next step will be the execution of pistols, holding hands on the support.

    That is, we squat on one leg, bringing the other forward, but at the same time support ourselves with one or two hands. In particular, you can perform the exercise by opening the door and holding hands on its handles on both sides. When squatting, the door is located between the legs. The main thing is that the door mount is strong enough.

  4. Complicate the task.

    Now you are not crouching to hold with your hands, but simply touching the support with your shoulder. Pull your arms forward. The benefit of such a touch of support is rather psychological. In fact, this is already a full squat on one leg.

In addition to the above exercises, classic squats with a barbell, dumbbells or other weight will help you gain overall strength of your legs.

You can perform squats on one leg in Smith's simulator. In this case, balance is not necessary, which simplifies the task.

Squats on one leg - the pros and cons of exercise

Be sure to include several stretching exercises in your training plan. Without sufficient flexibility, the exercise will not work properly.

With strict adherence to these recommendations and regular training, as a reward for your work you will receive well-developed leg muscles and tightened buttocks.

The main thing, remember about the impact on the knees, and when the slightest discomfort occurs, reduce the load.

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