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Thread: Not Flexible enough for pistol squats? page 2

  1. #11
    Thor Falk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coach Palfrey View Post
    If you can do any movement with assistance (TRX, band, partner etc.) then it is not a flexibility issue - it's a strength issue.
    I would have said quite the opposite, at least on the pistol. One issue is almost certainly ankle flexibility - and there the TRX helps because it prevents you from falling back. I would however agree that it is a strength issue as well. TRX pistols are easy, as you can use different muscles. Haven't fully figured it out, but what I believe is that the real pistol is a posterior chain exercise, whilst in the TRX pistol you essentially push yourself back, and the the TRX then lifts you up, which makes it a quad dominant exercise.

    I am with Al there: gotta give it its time...

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thor Falk View Post
    I would have said quite the opposite, at least on the pistol. One issue is almost certainly ankle flexibility - and there the TRX helps because it prevents you from falling back. I would however agree that it is a strength issue as well. TRX pistols are easy, as you can use different muscles. Haven't fully figured it out, but what I believe is that the real pistol is a posterior chain exercise, whilst in the TRX pistol you essentially push yourself back, and the the TRX then lifts you up, which makes it a quad dominant exercise.

    I am with Al there: gotta give it its time...
    If the biomechanics of the movement are changed due to assistance then yes but then it is not the same exercise. If the joint can achieve the required ROM then it inherently has the flexibility to do the un-assisted version of the exercise. But not having the strength to maintain the correct biomechanical position is another issue

  3. #13
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    I can see how ankle dorsiflexion mobility would be an issue if you are able to do them with the TRX but now without. When stiff ankles you'll have difficulty going to full depth because you won't be able to keep your center of mass over your foot. The TRX probably helps because it allows you to lean back some without falling over backward.

  4. #14
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    If you can do a full bodyweight squat on two legs then why do you think you lack flexibility to complete a pistol. If anything a pistol requires slightly less flexibility as the front leg provides counterbalance so the upper body can sit (ever so slightly) further back.

    Therefore it is a strength issue, probably to do with the various stabilizing muscles. This is why people who can barbell squat their BW often struggle to pistol without specific practice.

    You could always try doing them from an elevated surface to give the extended leg more room to drop, just make sure that you have enough space behind you in case you do fall backwards.
    Last edited by sandstone; 12-23-2012 at 06:37 AM.

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    I just got to unevens on the CC progression. So I'll concur with both the OP and, well everyone else.

    Pavel recommends consolidation training to help with this, which I have been trying to use (he calls it "greasing the groove"). Basically, much of the move, outside of strength itself, is coordination and practice. Doing a pistol is just not the sort of thing many of us are used to doing. So even if you can squat 500 lbs, the coordination to raise a leg and go down without falling over probably isn't there.

    I'm working with a depth of about 1/3 with the unevens - and trying to get out of all my chairs on one leg. Hopefully, over a few months, this will get me to a respectable depth. So like Al said - keep at it.

    I assume the same applies to 1-arm pushups!

  6. #16
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    TBH, I couldn't do a pistol squat for a long time of trying to build up to it with strictly bodyweight work. After several months of doing Body by Science with heavy leg presses I went back and tried.....bam success!

    My weak point was leg strength....for others it may be the balance, coordination, or flexibility required. Once you nail it down though you can fix it. Good luck!

  7. #17
    Dan Pope's Avatar
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    A huge limiting factor in pistols is usually ankle mobility. Here's my favorite ankle mobility drill. Ankle Mobility: A Small Twist to Make An Already Effective Exercie Better | FITNESS PAIN FREE

    I wrote a whole article on stretches to improve squatting in general and it really applies to pistols as well:Stretches and Mobility Drills to Prepare for the Snatch and Overhead Squat | FITNESS PAIN FREE

    Let me know if that helps, pistols are hard!
    Dan Pope Fitness Pain Free

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    Something else that helped me was to use a 2.5 lb plate under my heel or to do them on a slight incline so that my heel was a little higher than the ball of my foot. Perhaps this indicates a flexibility issue which resolved itself over time or a strength issue which resolved with more practice in the "95% of the way there" range. Either way, I can do them now and I couldn't before. I would say it took me 3-4 months of pretty consistently working on them (using a band, unassisted but not breaking parallel, using a plate under my foot) until I was finally able to do them correctly without assist.

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    I forwarded this to a friend of mine who has ankle issues too and is training for the pistol. Thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Pope View Post
    A huge limiting factor in pistols is usually ankle mobility. Here's my favorite ankle mobility drill. Ankle Mobility: A Small Twist to Make An Already Effective Exercie Better | FITNESS PAIN FREE

  10. #20
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    I am not felixable enough for a pistol squat as I can't get down or balance in the full dowm position, my ankles don't flex enough to get me balance right and I tip over backwards, which is probably most amusing to watch.

    I can do full bodyweigh squats and sit in the asian squat with feet flat and bum on my heels/back of calfs so it is possible to be flexible enough to full sqat and not to pistol, I think this is because you are balanced in a differnt way, with legs more out to the side as you have a point of balance on each side of the body, where as with a pistol you need to get your leg more infront of you otherwise you tip over sideways.

    It's not nessasarly just my ankles though, could be calfs, quads and lower back too as I understand it, I just leaned some streches to get me to touch my toes that involved loosening my back, legss and calfs, and whamo after just 2 rounds I could touch my toes when I wasn't even close before
    You know all those pictures of Adam and Eve where they have belly button? Think about it..................... take as long as you need........................

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