Pistols (one-legged squats).
Description: Lower yourself to the floor and back up using one leg.
Motions trained: Dropping and raising.
Main muscles used: Legs -- all of them.
Other muscles: Abs, lower back
How to do it:
The simple explanation is you put your hands in front of
you, pick up one foot off the floor and lower yourself until your hamstring and calf
are resting on each other, then reverse the motion. That is not sufficient and these
are one of the most challenging (and best) exercises you are apt to meet.
You must be sure that the down leg always keeps the shin perpendicular to
the ground, so that the feeling is like sitting down in a chair. If the knee tracks forward
you will grind on the kneecap and give yourself knee pain. I have a reconstructed knee
(yeah, one more part of me I busted...) and every other type of squat gives me bad
knee pain and swelling. Not so with these.
How to work up to it: Start with double pistols.
All the tips on how to work up to those hold for single-legged version too.
Ramping it up: Grab some weights. Stick with a fairly smaller one.
Do's and don'ts: Don't rock forward to come up and use control
on the way down.
Comments: Do some math. Most people pile weights on a machine to do squats.
They should actually divide this amount by half to see what each leg is doing. In my case,
I weight 175 lbs. and so am doing the equivalent of a 350 lb squat. Well, more actually, since
I am getting my abs and back in there too. If you are going to grab a weight, remember
this calculation, since even a seeming small addition makes quite a difference. For instance,
if I grab a 25 lb. weight, this makes my equivalent squat jump to 400 lbs.