One Leg Squat is sometimes called Pistol Squat among body weight training enthusiasts. In figure skating the same technique is called Sit Spin.
Watch One Leg Squat Muscle Anatomy Animation
It is often believed that if one can do a one leg squat, they have strong legs. It is true the leg strength is a factor. However, for most athletes it's flexibility and awareness is the main culprit to the technique. This proved by the fact that many people who can squat and dead lift their own bodyweight (with free weights), can't do a Pistol Squat.
There are three major flexibility requirement for a Sit Spin.
1. Ankle Flexibility of the Standing Leg
The more flexible the ankle, the leg compensation must be done at the hip and spine. If the lower leg is very tight, the athlete will constantly fall backward.
2. Hip Flexibility of the Standing Leg
Any single leg exercise engages the abductors. In this case the glutes must stabilize and also extend. The lower the squat, the more flexible these muscles must be. If the deep six (especially the periformis is not flexible enough, the whole structure will be through out of alignment and than out of balance.) At the same time lower adductors need to be flexible especially in the lower positions.
3. Posterior Chain Flexibility of the Lifted Leg
Many athletes can do a one leg squat, if they are standing on something a foot or so above the ground. (Curb, aerobic step, etc) However the Sit Spin become impossible while on the ground. This is usually caused by the tight extensors of the lifted leg.
Take a quick look at the program contents:
This program demonstrates many different progressions, allowing you to customize exactly what you need to master the one leg squat fast. There are progression for lack in strength in various muscle groups. There are also progression focusing on various flexibility issues, as described above. Many people have mastered the one leg squat, just after a few sessions with this program.
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