The Only Leg Strength Exercise You’ll Ever Need: The One Leg Squat AKA Pistol

If It’s good enough to be favoured by the Russian Special Forces, then it’s good enough for you tough guy.

The One Leg Squat also known as the Pistol is a leg strength exercise that can be adapted to absolutely any skill level. A one rep max freak will get some serious benefits by practicing this exercise, but my 76 year old dad has no problem with the easier variation either.

I think the first time I tried to do a pistol I must have been 19. I rowed full-time competitive at the Ottawa Rowing Club often training 10 times a week. I was also no stranger to barbells squats because I was doing 225lb for reps once a week. But i was in for a shock, looking down at the Men’s Health magazine I saw the model at the bottom of the one leg squat squat and I thought, sure no problem, I can do that!


First of all just the act of extending my knee of my off knee gave me a painful sensation, and when I went down for my first rep… Well, I actually WENT DOWN and fell over. I never tried them again.

Until I watched The Naked Warrior DVD (link here). Pavel Tsatsouline is a former Soviet Special Forces physical training instructor, currently a subject matter expert to the US Navy SEALs and the US Secret Service. He taught me that strength is a skill. He also taught that bodyweight feats like this require practice not workouts often lasting less than 5 minutes. Suffice it to say, after following his advice I have developed some serious strength.



Despite not doing barbell squats for 12 months+. Last week I hit my friends basement gym. I’m officially a ass-to-heels 300lb squater. And its all thanks to the only leg strength exercise anyone will ever need: The One Leg Squat AKA Pistol.