How To Grow A Runner: Pistol Squats

This challenging exercise demands balance and strength to execute properly.

What do carnival rides have to do with your running goals?

For both you need to be “tall enough” to make it to the starting line.

Being “tall enough” can mean a lot of things. It can mean that you have to do the right training, you have to build up slowly and patiently to tackle your desired distance and, specific to today’s discussion, you have to be strong, mobile, coordinated and athletic enough to handle all the the physical challenges that running throws your way.

So why do you continue to get hurt while others are cruising pain-free? Why do you struggle with increasing your mileage or reaching a new PR while others effortlessly accomplish these goals? And why do your efforts to run further or faster result in frustration and injury? Chances are you’re missing something in your training!

Fortunately, we’ve been discussing common running injuries and how to prevent them throughout this video series. So far we’ve hit banded side-steps for strong hips, glutes, and knees. We’ve broken down squatting and lunging to develop coordination and improve leg strength. Then we challenged you with greater range of motion and balance in a high box step up, giving you the single-leg strength to run faster without the IT Band wobbles.

RELATED: How To Grow A Runner: Step Ups

These exercises come together nicely as each exercise progresses in skill, mobility and strength from the previous one. Further, we’re reinforcing an athletic skill set that goes way beyond just running!

Which brings us to the single leg pistol squat, demonstrated in the above video. Do you have the strength, mobility, balance and coordination to handle the volume, hills, intensity and training it takes to achieve your goals without breaking down? The pistol squat will let you know!

In other words, are you tall enough to get on this ride? The pistol represents the ultimate combination of everything we’ve done so far to grow you into a happy, strong, sustainable runner. Give it a try!


About The Author:

Nate Helming coaches strength and mobility for national and international-level road cyclists, mountain bikers, triathletes and ultrarunners at San Francisco CrossFit, as well as elite-level amateur runners and triathletes outside the gym. You can follow him on Instagram and Twitter and check out his videos on The Run Experience YouTube channel.

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