Well folks, it’s all come down to this. If you have been following our blog this week, we have been unraveling our pistol squat training from the mobility and stability portions of the lift. Today, it’s all about strengthening the lift to make for one solid, sizable lift. Grab a pen and a piece of paper! We’re about to unravel some serious awesome here!
You may recall in a previous post that we discussed sub-maximal training for a 1 rep max on a military press. The same rule here is going to apply for a pistol squat. For a military press, I generally recommend going for a 5 rep max and programming the training from there. For pistols, I generally recommend a 3 rep max to start. This means you need to find a kettlebell you can easily do 3 strict pistols in a row with precision. There should be no break in your cylinder of strength and you should not be wobbling out of control in and out of the squat. If you are a complete newbie, I generally recommend about a 10-15 pound weight for women and a 20-25 pound weight for men to start with at first. Individual pistol weights will vary so be sure to spend some time figuring out where to begin. A good coach can help you with determining how to start lifting correctly, so if you need more advice on how to get started, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In comparison to the military press ladders, I recommend setting yourself up with both a weighted and unweighted pistol squat program. This will ensure that you not only have the right amount of strength dialed in, but also that you have the right kind of movement patterning dialed in as well. Remember, the pistol is just as much about mobility and stability as it is strength. Practicing both weighted and body weight pistols will ensure your success.
Here is a sample program for a brand new pistol enthusiast.
Basic Pistol Program
Monday: 2 reps weighted L and 2 reps weighted R x 3 sets
Tuesday: 5 reps unweighted L and 5 reps unweighted R x 3 sets
Thursday: 5 Reps unweighted L and 5 Reps unweighted R x 3 sets
Friday: 2 reps unweighted L and 2 reps unweighted R x 3 sets
Instructor Note: Over the course of 3 weeks you will increase the number of reps on weighted pistols only. You will do 3 reps each leg in week two and 4 reps of each weighted pistol each leg in week three. On week four, retest a 1 rep maximum weight at either 5 or 10 pounds higher than where you started. The rest of the week you should de-load off of both body weight and weighted pistols. You will begin the cycle with 2 reps loaded again with the new max weight. Please also note that once you reach a sizable weight, the rep scheme must change. I recommend that once women reach a 16-20kg weight and men a 24-28kg weight that you program your rep schemes at a 1 rep minimum, working towards a 3 rep max. That means that you will lift a heavy weight for 1 rep each leg for 3 sets week one, 2 reps each leg for 3 sets in week 2, and a MAXIMUM or 3 reps each leg in week three. Keep body weight pistols maxed at 5 reps and no more. If you are unable to start with 5 solid body weight pistols per leg, start with 2 or 3 per leg and work up to 5 within 3-4 weeks. We want to enhance our strength and joint mobility, not hinder it.
I have been practicing pistols for nearly 4 years now. I began my pistol squat practice with just a 12kg kettlebell and have dialed in my movement and strength year after year after year. With patience, persistence, and a solid belief that you can do that which seems impossible, I can assure you that you will be on your way to some impressive feats of strength yourself. I never thought I would ever pistol something heavier than a 26kg kettlebell, but last week, my ultimate lifetime goal of doing a pistol squat with the 32kg kettlebell came to life. Sometimes, all you need is a little bit of time to make your dreams a reality 😉
Thanks for following us along here this week on the blog folks! We hope this series helped you all in your quest for ultimate pistol perfection! If you’re looking to train your pistol from the experts here in Pittsburgh, please email us at email@example.com. We offer calisthenic training and kettlebell courses to help you become stronger than you ever thought possible! Feel free to email us or call to schedule a consultation today!
Have a great weekend everyone! Until next time. . .
Master your instincts!
This 3 part blog series is dedicated to our friends, Primal Kitchen, for their support and encouragement over the past year. Thank you so much for the opportunity to share this information with you all and thank you for spreading the word about what we do at Primal Fitness Pittsburgh!