30' WALKING TOE TOUCH
30' WALKING HIGH KNEE STRETCH
30' WALKING LUNGE
30' QUAD STRETCH
30' WALKING HIGH KICK
10 LEG RAISES TO OVERHEAD
1)SQUAT 3X5 (ADD 5 FROM LAST TIME)
2)PRESS 3X5 (ADD 2.5 FROM LAST TIME)
3A)3X10 KB STEP UPS
3B)WORK ON PISTOL PROGRESSION
1)4X1 HEAVING SNATCH BALANCE + 1 OHS + 1 PRESS IN SQUAT @ 45% SNATCH
2)5x1 SNATCH AT 80%; REST :90 SEC
3A)3X10 WEIGHTED BOX JUMP
3B)3X5 PISTOLS (5R/5L)
ASCENDING LADDER OF
PUSH PRESS @ 95/65
WALL BALL @ 20/14 @ 10' TARGET
Shoot ‘Em Up: It’s Pistol Time
BY Larry Pastor; via www.tabatatimes.com
Perhaps, at this point in your CrossFit career, you have mastered the air squat and you are starting to add some serious weight to your weighted squats. Think you’re a badass? Think again. Have you tried performing a pistol? Watch this athlete at CrossFit Cult performing a pistol — also known as a one-legged squat. (FYI: He does standard pistols for the first minute and then shows weighted variations and more as it goes on.) If you’re an athlete looking to take the art of squatting to the next level, the pistol is definitely a movement that will get you there.
“Why Should I Work on Pistols?”
FYI: Pistols will help you improve your back squat, front squat, overhead squat, and your deadlift.
Out of the list of physical skills that CrossFit nurtures and develops, the pistol tests four out of those ten skills: strength, balance, flexibility, and coordination. What separates the pistol from the standard 2-legged air squat is that the pistol practices and develops unilateral loading of one leg. Through this unilateral loading, one can diagnose any differences in leg strength, balance, or flexibility between the right and left legs.
As T-Nation explains,
Single-leg squats help to improve overall balance and proprioception by strengthening some of the smaller stabilizing muscles in the hips and pelvis, namely the adductor magnus, gluteus medius, quadrates lumborum, and the external hip rotators to prevent rotation of the femur and pelvis in a way that doesn’t occur in a bilateral stance.
Single-leg squats allow you to target the legs with greatly reduced shearing force on the spine.
Far from a neat parlor trick, developing the strength to do pistols will benefit all of your other squats as well as your deadlift. Steve Kotter outlines why they are so demanding:
Balance-pistols teach what is referred to in Internal Martial Arts as “rooting”, as in the roots of a tree, forming a solid connection to the ground. Because we are shifting the body’s center of mass over a narrow base of support, and for an extended range of motion, balance is challenged and trained in a dynamic fashion.
Flexibility-the muscles and joints of the legs, low back, hips and ankles are required to work at the extreme ranges of motion, both in flexion and extension.
Strength-the powerful muscles of the glutes and thighs are moving the body weight throughout a very narrow base of support, thereby recruiting tremendous stabilizer function in all the lower body joints; tension is maintained throughout the eccentric, isometric and concentric portions; the core musculature is recruited to maintain balance and alignment.
Coordination-the neuromuscular system is challenged by the multiple requirements involved in pistol practice-balancing, contracting and stretching.
Focus/Mental attitude-a clear focus and concentration is required to maintain control over the body; fear and restricted movement is overcome by releasing our fear of falling and reintroducing freedom of motion.
Getting your body mass centered over a narrow base is essential to the pistol. Your abdomen will compress over the top of your thigh.
Because the pistol is such an advanced skill, developing them requires practicing some progressions to gradually build strength, range of motion, and flexibility. It is not necessary to master the pistol in a day, but as with double-unders, committed practice to developing this movement can only benefit your athletic development. Below are some movements and progressions as described by Beastskills that will help develop the pistol:
Stack books or plates accordingly to change the height of your box for pistol practice as needed.
They also suggest two other pistol progressions to try: a leg balance step up and doing pistols while elevated on a box. The latter allows an athlete to work on the full pistol depth while still developing the strength & flexibility to extend the opposite leg out fully.
Expert coach Jon Gilson of AgainFaster offers a 7-minute tutorial for the pistol. Besides walking through the progression of practicing with a bench and continuing to increase range of motion with a lower target, he emphasizes why getting the weight over the squatting leg matters: to balance the body’s center of mass over the foot. He clearly demonstrates this concept by drawing an imaginary midline with a PVC pipe as the athlete squats into the full depth of the pistol.
Like many gymnastics movements, the pistol appears easy enough to do but is highly demanding of an athlete’s strength and body control. Thankfully, the experts below have clear advice and model techniques for athletes at any level to emulate.
Carl Paoli discusses the biggest problem in the pistol: “the capacity to resist rotation.” He is referring to the natural internal rotation that occurs during unilateral loading — in other words, the challenge of not letting your knee collapse inward during the one-legged squat. He uses hanging from a pull-up bar using one arm to demonstrate how the body naturally rotates away from the hanging position.
Try practicing “bottom-up pistols” and “negative pistols” to vary your progressions.
Coach Jami Tikkanen at Thames CrossFit packs a ton of useful information into 4 minutes. He demonstrates a drill in which the athlete “rotates” into the pistol to encourage the athlete to actively resist the internal rotation in the hip that naturally occurs when performing a pistol. And that’s just the beginning!
He also addresses the following:
Tabata Tidbits: Pistol MobilityPistol Squat Test – Kelly Starrett and Carl Paoli share a mobility drill to develop pistol strength. Using a pole for balance, squat with a narrow stance and practice kicking one leg out to the side and drawing a semicircle back to center (like the bottom position of a pistol). A pistol is simply an expression of an athlete’s ability to handle unilateral loading in each leg. They go on to discuss how such expression can have an impact on other weightlifting movements, such as overhead jerks.
10-Minute Squat Test – In this MWod episode, the athlete must hold a strict squat position for 10 minutes (all at once or accumulated) as a means of maintaining and increasing mobility in the hips, knees, and ankles. KStarr shows how the paleo chair exercise can have a positive impact on pistol technique and encourages practicing the paleo chair one leg at a time (similar to the pistol).