How to Progress the Pistol Squat Using the Ultimate Sandbag

Welcome to back to our Wild Workout Wednesday link up! Each week I link up with Angelena Marie from  Angelena Marie: Happy, Healthy & Balanced , Michelle at Fruition Fitness  and Nicole from Fitful Focus to bring you workout ideas, motivation, inspiration and recipes to try.  Join us for a wild workout each week by reading along or grab the button and link up if you have a fitness or healthy living post to share!

It’s been a few very busy weeks but I am finally back to my regular posting schedule which means sharing ways that the DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Fitness System can take your training to the next level. Or in this case, problem solve and help progress! 

Let’s talk about the pistol squat.  It’s like the pull-up of leg exercises.  You dream of progressing to do one but at times it seems impossible to achieve.  Much like the pull-up though, the pistol squat is possible with the right progressions along with some problem solving techniques.  

How to Progress Pistol Squats Using the @UltimateSandbag

First and foremost, in order to even attempt a pistol squat you need to be able to do regular squats with proper form.  If you’re just starting out and need to work on perfecting your squat form, the DVRT System has a few drills for that too- the Bear Hug Squat and the Press Out Squat which you can learn more about by clicking the links. 

Once you’ve worked on two legged squats and can do them with proper form, you can begin to progress to one legged squats.  But why ever would someone want to do single leg squats, you ask? Well, for one, single leg work is important so you can strength asymmetrical imbalances, especially if you’re a runner.  

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I have talked the importance of single leg exercises in previous posts (Quick DVRT Strength Workout for Runners, DVRT Strength Workout for Runners: Taking It a Step Further) but to reiterate, one legged squats force each leg to develop and strengthen on their own and also works the knee stabilizers.  Independently strong legs + stable knees= stronger running and less injuries.  

Now that we understand why single leg work is so important, let’s talk about ways to progress the pistol squat! 

First thing to do is find yourself a pole or a TRX suspension trainer to grab on to while you practice.  Start with a two legged squat, hold at the bottom and stick one leg out and balance on the stable leg.  Once you feel comfortable, try it again but lift one leg before squatting down while holding on.  

Ready to ditch the pole? Move on to performing a pistol squat onto a box and decrease the height of the box as you progress.  

This is also where the Ultimate Sandbag Core Bag can come in.  I know what you’re thinking and while it seems a little counterintuitive to add weight before mastering it, the sandbag provides a counterbalance which actually helps to make it a little easier. 

It is usually recommended to use something like a barbell plate to give this a try but I prefer the Ultimate Sandbag Core Bag for a variety of reasons, one being that if you lose your balance and drop it, you won’t break your toe 😉 

The other reasons being that the bag is ergonomically designed with the outside handles shoulder width apart which helps to keep you in alignment, provides balance, encourages proper form and also seriously activates your core. 

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Once you feel comfortable enough, you can ditch the box and give it a try with just the bag.  

To perform a pistol squat with the core bag, place your hands on the outside handles and “pull” them apart and press the sandbag forward.  Lift one leg and begin to squat down while holding the bag out in front of you all the way down until your leg is parallel to the ground and the sandbag is parallel with your leg. 

As you can see in the video below, even though I am capable of doing a pistol squat solo, the Ultimate Sandbag Core Bag actually encourages proper form and allows me to take a pause at the bottom without falling over.  


Ready to give it a try! Grab a core bag and let me know how it goes :) 

Want to learn more tricks on how to take your training to the next level? Join me for a DVRT one day workshop at my brand spankin’ NEW STUDIO on May 15th! 

Have a workout, fitness find or healthy recipe to share? Linkup below! 

Remember to grab the button, link back and linkup if you have a workout to share! :)

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About me

Annmarie is a self proclaimed foodie, avid long distance runner and functional fitness coach. A DVRT Master Trainer, HKC Instructor and food allergy sufferer, she writes about strength training for runners as well as shares allergy friendly recipes for busy athletes.   She is also the owner of Strength In Motion Studio, mother of two sassy sisters and wife to a chronically busy chiropractor.   Subscribe by email for updates to get the latest workouts, advice and recipes straight to your inbox!


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