4 Steps to Master the Weighted Pistol Squat

Guest post by Paul Vandyken

Do you think The Kettlebell Pistol Squat is difficult? Do you think it’s reserved for the pros?

Well, you’re not alone. After all, it requires power, flexibility, balance, coordination, and core strength.

Since it’s one of the favorite bodyweight exercises of professional bodyweight trainers, it is important that you learn it too. In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to do the kettlebell pistol squat in just four easy steps!


The Essentials:

  • A kettlebell is the ideal complementary workout equipment for pistol squats. A kettlebell allows you to fire up your glutes and biceps as you enhance your quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves.
  • Sufficient space to perform squats properly is necessary. Find a spot that’s wide enough to maximize the workout.

For practice sessions, you can use a firmly positioned bench. It’ll help you familiarize with the exercise, as well as help you find your balance. When using a bench, place one foot on the ground as you extend the other in front of you. Then, hold the kettlebell with your arms forward.

Workout Tutorial: The Kettlebell Pistol Squat in 4 Easy Steps!

You can perform the kettlebell squat by following these simple instructions. You can view these pictures as a guide.

Its best to have fun while squatting. Strongfigure Team Member, Tori Ruckman, helps demo the correct start position for the pistol squat.
Its best to have fun while squatting. Strongfigure Team Member, Tori Ruckman, helps demo the correct start position for the pistol squat.

Step 1: Beginning the Exercise

Be ready with a kettlebell beside you as you get into a standing position. For starters, it’s advisable to use a light kettlebell. Begin by picking up the kettlebell with both hands. Hold on to it firmly, making sure that you grip on the horns.

As you find your balance, make sure you’re standing comfortably. If you think one side of your body exerts more pressure while you’re holding the equipment, adjust your stance. Once you find your balance, gently bring your arms forward.

Step 2: Flexing the Knee

From the standing position with a kettlebell in front of you, lift one leg off the ground. Then, squat down gently on the opposite leg. Be mindful of your back by making sure it remains straight as you move your legs.

As you’re squatting down with one leg, remember to flex your knee and sit back with the hips. This helps improve your flexibility, as well as the bending ability of your knee. Make sure you’re still maintaining a balanced stance as you continue to hold on to the kettlebell firmly.

Strongfigure Team Member Maria Hayden shows the bottom of the pistol position: lines are straight, head and neck are in a neutral position.
Strongfigure Team Member Maria Hayden shows the bottom of the pistol position: lines are straight, head and neck are in a neutral position.

Step 3: Holding Your Head High

For a second or two, remain in your position. Doing so strengthens your core and improves your balance. This allows you to work out your glutes, too!

Then, reverse your position gently. If you’re squatting down on the right leg with the left leg on the ground, switch their places by squatting down on the left leg with the right leg on the ground. If you’re a well-coordinated individual, this is an effortless task.

Remember to keep your head held high and your chest up during this step. This can be a great confidence-booster!

Step 4: The Repetition

Remember the previous steps and repeat the process. To maximize the workout’s effects, make sure to do the kettlebell pistol squats daily. This exercise greatly improves your muscular power, strength, and endurance.

As you progress, you may make modifications according to your fitness preference. For example, you can modify the period of retaining a position (as detailed in Step 3). Instead of remaining in place for only a second, you could lengthen the time to 5 seconds. Either that or increase the weight of your kettlebell.

Performing a series of the kettlebell pistol squats can be exhausting. Allow yourself to rest in between shifts. For basic bodyweight training, 5-10 repetitions will suffice. For intense bodyweight training, 30-50 kettlebell pistol squats is best.

The Kettlebell Pistol Squat: Final Thoughts

If you think the pistol squats are intimidating, think again. The workouts may seem challenging initially, but once you try them, you’ll surprise yourself at how easy they are!

A fascinating feature of the exercise is that it’s quite simple–once you master it, and it doesn’t require fancy gym equipment or even complex moves. With a kettlebell and a workout area as the main essentials, you’re up for a satisfying workout!

And the best part of the pistol squat is that it’s perfect for all levels: from beginners to professional athletes, anyone can use it to enhance his or her current level of fitness. Start with squatting to a bench or advance by holding a barbell overhead. There’s no limit to what you can do and as long as you practice great technique, you can only strengthen yourself as you move forward!


  • http://www.bodybuilding.com/exercises/detail/view/name/kettlebell-pistol-squat
  • http://www.alkavadlo.com/body-weight-exercises/pistol-squat-tutorial/

Paul Vandyken is a personal trainer and nutrition coach. His website, RigorFitness.com, contains articles, videos, and pictures with tips and tricks about fitness, nutrition, and healthy lifestyles. If you are on the journey to your healthy and happy lifestyle, visiting his blog might help you enhance your process.

Feature Images

Featured in the images are Tori and Maria, who are both not only on Team Strong Figure, but they are also online Strong Figure coaches. We will be sharing more information about our coaching programs soon! If you don’t want to miss out on that information, then make sure you sign up to be on our email list.

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