Exercise Focus: Kettlebell Pistol Squat

With some simple regressions this advanced movement can be introduced to most clients’ training programs, says Dan Henderson.

The pistol squat is a brilliant exercise for lower body strength, balance and stability. It is a great unilateral movement that will test your clients’ mobility and strength and assist in identifying any asymmetries from side-to-side.

It is quite an advanced movement, but that doesn’t mean that it needs to be out of bounds for all but your most elite clientele. By using the following approach, you can safely progress most clients to the full movement. It involves two regressions:

  1. Start unloaded and decrease the range of movement: as your client progresses you can add more range and load
  2. Use the suspended fitness trainer to recruit assistance from the upper body. Clients should start with a full grip and then gradually reduce the amount of fingers used as they get stronger.

Programming some mobility exercises for the hips and ankles will also enhance your client’s ability to complete the movement through a larger range of motion.

Watch the full movement and the supported/regressed approach below:



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Dan Henderson, BA (Sport & Exercise Management) is the co-owner of The Australian Institute of Kettlebells (AIK). AIK educate trainers and coaches worldwide with accredited courses in kettlebells, battling ropes, powerbags, mobility and barbells. kettlebellinstitute.com.au