Up until about six months ago, I had never done a pistol squat in my life. I thought that because I’m a ‘big guy’, because I’ve had two knee surgeries, and a whole host of other reasons, that pistols just weren’t for me …
Long story short – I was wrong! The pistol is a great body weight – only exercise for building strength; it’s not hard on your knees if you do it right, and big guys can and should do pistol squats.
However … performing pistol squats correctly is key to getting the most out of them and staying injury free.
I want to share an amazing story with you today about a fellow RKC and author, Sean Schniederjan – about how he overcame terrible hip and knee pain, and was able to pistol again!
How I Overcame Terrible Hip and Knee Pain to Pistol Again
by Sean Schniederjan, RKC II
Author, Ultimate Hip, Knee and Ankle Guide for One Legged Squats
Like many, if not all of you, I was unable to do a one legged “pistol” squat, whether body weight or weighted, on the first attempt. I’ve heard trainers who work with professional football players say that it takes about 15 minutes to teach them the “tricks.”
Thanks to finding material taught at the RKC II, I was finally able to improve my hip and ankle mobility enough to do a pure body weight pistol. It felt awesome – and like any body weight enthusiast – you love the freedom of getting a satisfying leg workout in a short amount of time any time, any where.
If you are an athlete, you know how important leg strength is. When asked why he had to retire early, three time Super Bowl champ Troy Aikman said that his leg strength was “the first thing to go.” Contrast that with another quarterback who entered the league at around the same time, Brett Favre. Farve was well known for his strong legs and squatting. He played 10 years longer than Aikman, even leading his team to the championship game in 2009, nine years after Aikman retired! Your legs are your base.
If you aren’t an athlete, imagine yourself when you are 80 or 90. Imagine yourself with strong, well functioning hips vs. worn down hips and weak legs. I work with people in their 80s and 90s and seeing someone with good hips vs. bad hips is very intense. Bad hips leads to immobilization. There’s one guy I have to pick up out of his chair … he can’t do it on his own. Good hips and leg strength are an essential component to longevity.
One legged squats are an excellent tool to have for keeping strong legs – with the obvious benefit of being independent of any kind of equipment. They give you much stronger legs than two legged squats. I did the math and you get 2.666666 (I think the 6s go on forever) times more force using a one legged squat.
All was going great with my one legged squat workouts until the summer of 2011. I somehow developed a hip imbalance and sharp knee pain on my left leg, likely through a habit of kicking one leg out to the side. My hips were totally out of balance and it caused bad knee pain – no way I could do one legged squats on my left side.
I went to many workshops and spoke with many experts and doctors, but none of them could solve this imbalance.
Nothing I learned could solve this “riddle.”
Go here to learn more about how I stabilized and balanced my hip and knee – and in short time (one and a half months) could not only pistol again, but PR’d by doing 12 of them.
PS – I showed some of this material to my friend Dr. John Sullivan, and he knocked down his first pure body weight pistol at 68 years young in one minute! He had previously needed to hold onto a kettlebell for balance.
Hey! That’s it for now. Thanks for reading, and talk soon –