PROGRESSION 1: THE 2-LEG ROLL AND SQUAT
STAND TALL – and get ready to have a great time.
REACH YOUR ARMS FORWARD AND SQUAT LEGTO THE FLOOR – shoot your bum back and then bend your knees as you go down into the squat.
ROLL BACK (OR PERFORM A CANDLESTICK) – not too far, just enough that you can get some forward momentum on the way back up.
ROLL FORWARD, HEALS TO BUM, HEAD FORWARDS – initiate with your hips, then whip your heals to your bum and roll forwads into the squat.
STAND BACK UP – by pressing your heals hard into the floor, and standing up aggressively.
GLUTE-LOCK AT THE TOP – squeeze your bum and abs at the top to mark the end of the move. That’s one rep. Probably best do some more now.
PROGRESSION 2: THE ROLL TO STATIC 'ROCK-BOTTOM' HOLD
SIT — by squatting down as I elegantly described above
ROLL BACK — weeeeee!
ROLL FORWARD EXTENDING ONE LEG — Just before your heals hit the floor, extend one leg, lock out at the knee if you can, and make an earnest attempt to keep your foot just off the floor.
PLANT THE HEAL OF THE OTHER LEG — we want our foot flat on the ground, pointing straight ahead with the majority of weight through the heal.
STABALISE WITH YOUR HANDS — this leaves us in a rock-bottom single leg squat, hands down to take out any balance challenge.
STICK THE BOTTOM POSITION — stay here — ‘stick it’, for a few seconds. Enough time to correct any technique flaws (such as heal coming up, or having all the stress loaded through the knee or leaning back too much).
HOLD IT FOR TWO OR THREE SECONDS — focus on feeling the heal in control, the head forwards, the spine tall & the ‘loaded arse’ that we all crave. The longer you are here the less you should need to stabalise with the hands. Could you take them away do you think?
REPEAT! — 3 second hold. Then Roll and repeat. For reps.
PROGRESSION 3: STATIC HOLDS — NO HANDS MAMA
AS ABOVE — but if you’re ready for the progression..
WITH NO HANDS — rather than place your hands down as in the last progression, as you come out of the roll…
REACH! — reach your arms forward actively to counter balance and try to stop dead in the bottom of the Pistol Squat.
PROGRESSION 4: THE ROLL TO PISTOL
This time it’s the real deal. Nearly.
ROLL — as always
PLANT YOUR HEAL — close to your bum, carefully but with purpose
GET YOUR HEAD FORWARD — just past your foot
THEN HIT THE FLOOR WITH YOUR HANDS — you’re going to smack the floor hard, or at least give a little push to cheat through the bottom inch and assist the squat
APPLY FORCE — then stamp your way back up to standing…so we’ve rolled into a deep one leg squat and pushed all the way to the top.
GLUTE LOCK AT THE TOP — as always, bum and stomach tight at the top please to signal the top of the move and boost muscle activation.
PROGRESSION 5: THE ROLL TO PISTOL — NO HANDS MAMA!
Now we’re getting serious…
ROLL — as normal
REACH — your arms forward as you come out of the roll
STAMP AND APPLY FORCE — as soon as your foot hits the floor, push down hard through your heal and squat all the way up.
ECCENTEIC PISTOL ON THE WAY DOWN — for added marks, start learning to control the pistol squat on the way down. Shoot your arms and spare leg forwards, your butt back and control the squat as low as you can before you roll. The slower the better (well, 2 seconds is ideal).
BONUS TECNIQUE NOTE: The better you are, the slower you roll into the squat. If you’re strong enough, roll into the pistol, stop dead, then power your way to the top.
PROGRESSION 6 – ‘THE PISTOL’ ITSELF
For those who are ready, we can round off all this squat’n’roll with some actual Pistol Squats.
Bonus technique note, on all of these progressions you can squat down on two legs, but if you want to work your way back through again, perform an eccentric pistol squat on the way down to begin each rep. As soon as you hit the bottom position or (more likely for some!) as soon as you start to fall back, roll and move smoothly into whichever progression you are currently dominating. If your arse is taking too much of a pounding consider increasing protection (by way of an extra mat) or, take it as a subtle hint that you better stick to lowering with two legs for now!
WHICH PROGRESSION IS RIGHT FOR YOU?!
I like you to do ALL the progressions up to your current level for once each workout as a quick warm up and practice. Then follow your programme as normal from then.