Pistol Squat Tutorial

pistol squat we won't be using sanskrit for this this is a pretty modern day pose but i included it in the 300 hour because it has a lot to teach us about mobility strength and flexibility we'll have gabo show the posture the transition excellent we'll get started at the wall [Music] [Music] [Music] [Music] as with our yogi squat in the yoga practice one of the big challenges for most students is being able to get the heel grounded down in a squat let's talk a little bit about why that might be the most basic reason for that would have to do with the tightness of the achilles tendon the big tendon that attaches the gastrocnemius the calf muscle and the soleus muscle onto the heel so when that is tight and doesn't uh have a lot of stretch in it it's going to prevent the heel from coming down and it's going to prevent also that type of dorsiflexion which you need of the foot so a super flexed foot basically so and if that sounds like you some areas to focus on is stretching the sole of your foot as well as the achilles tendon one of the drills we're going to start with is called a wall tap and i'll have gabo just demo one of them here and then i'll want to talk about this a little bit so you'll notice his knee goes way past his ankle that's great you can come on back and i just want to unpack this myth you've probably heard a lot in the yoga classroom about always having your knees stacked on top of your ankle and that we shouldn't allow the knee to go forward in truth that's a bit of a myth so but i like to kind of think about well why did that show up in the classroom and why are people teaching that it's not that it's wrong but that's really designed to help prevent people that might have any kind of knee injury in which going that far forward might further impact their injuries so it became kind of this generalized thing that we started to really emphasize on in our standing postures and such but if you think about it any kind of like will you just take yogi squat just bend your knees down there's no way to come into a pose like yogi squat without the knees passing the ankle at some point there's no way to do functional movement such as running without the knee passing the ankle so in fact being able to have this healthy range of motion where the knee does pass the ankle would be a great thing for you to develop so we'll start here with doing what's called wall taps gaba will face the wall he's about a hands distance or iphone's distance away from the wall there good and his back foot is just one or two feet away from the front and he begins to bend and he leans forward taps his knee and he'll continue on of course if you can't tap your knee out to the wall just go ahead and chill in a little bit closer you can have your hands there to anchor yourself at the wall and you could do some reps of these maybe 10 to 23 sets and he's basically just building up the mobility through the ankle joint and if we were to flip him upside down we could see then that his foot is in true dorsiflexion good beautiful thank you all right so we'll head back to the center of the room and continue to work on our pistol squat so building up this pose we'll talk a little bit about the strength in the legs so if you're lacking any kind of strength in the quadricep muscles or the hip flexors of the straight leg this is going to be a challenging posture right so we're breaking down some modifications that you can use to help build strength in this pose so if you have a chair or an ottoman or something at home you can use that we'll have gabo turn away from his prop and you're basically going to sit all the way down so you'll take your pistol squat he flexes his straight leg out in front of him he sits down and then he drives down through the standing foot to come up and we'll see that one more time goes all the way down notice his weight has to shift back through the hips and then he has to lean forward to push himself up so a couple of things we want to talk about in terms of alignment i'll have you face that way again is watch his knee so we have a tendency when we bend when we lack the strength for the knee to go inward so imagine you're pressing the knee to the outside that way you're both equally using your adductors and your outer external hip rotators to help stabilize the leg the other thing i'll have you do one more time you can switch sides if you want is let's just focus a little bit more on the balance of what has to happen he can't just sit straight down notice his shoulders come forward his hips go back he sits down to come up he has to shift that weight forward and then really drive down through the sole of the standing leg to come up so again in order to build strength into these postures it's more than just doing the pose and practicing them i really highly recommend with strength building to do reps and sets so do about 10 reps of those rest for about 30 seconds and then do that for three sets to really begin to build strength now you can of course as you start to build strength make your prop or whatever you're using be lower and lower you could use stairs at home prop up blocks whatever you want to use another thing that you could do right in the classroom if you were teaching this pose in the classroom is teach it through our chair pose so gaba i'll just have you come more to the front of the mat so you have space so you could take chair pose and then extend the right knee straight so that the leg is straight and he's kind of in like a half pistol squat and you could pulse this a little bit by standing up and then going down and then of course if you wanted to cue some of the students all the way down you have that option but that way some of the students have something to do if they're not able to go all the way down so we've talked about mobility strength let's move on to flexibility and also strength of that extended straight leg the extended through the knee joint so if you lack the flexibility or the strength to lift and flex the leg all the way forward it will be hard to bend all the way down because your foot will basically hit the floor so you just want to elevate the posture so we'll have gabo demo here and if you could even show what that student might look like who can't flex the leg all the way so if your leg more mirrors something like this now he has all that clearance as he bends down he can really work the um the standing leg we'll take that again and push back up excellent and come on down great so we'll show a couple more things here with our pistol squat so you can also use blocks to help assist and i really enjoy using blocks especially when i'm teaching in a real class because uh more people can access this pose so we'll have gabo uh prep here with the block so blocks are basically just raising the floor and providing you some stability and you move them around as needed so he can use them to bear weight and then also he can push down through his arms t

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