Strength:

Split Jerk–attempt AMRAP at 1 rep max from beginning of cycle for time.

WOD:

15 kettlebell sumo deadlift high pulls (53/35)

2 pistols

12 kettlebell sumo deadlift high pulls

4 pistols

9 kettlebell sumo deadlift high pulls

6 pistols

6 kettlebell sumo deadlift high pulls

8 pistols

3 kettlebell sumo deadlift high pulls

10 pistols

Pistols (aka single-leg squats) help to improve overall balance and proprioception by strengthening some of the smaller stabilizing muscles in the hips and pelvis. Out of the list of physical skills that CrossFit nurtures and develops, the pistol tests four out of those ten skills: strength, balance, flexibility, and coordination. What separates the pistol from the standard 2-legged air squat is that the pistol practices and develops unilateral loading of one leg. Through this unilateral loading, one can diagnose any differences in leg strength, balance, or flexibility between the right and left legs.

Modifications for the pistol, in case you are not there yet, are as follows:

  1. Weighted back squats to full depth: If you already have the strength to move through the complete range of motion of a back squat, working toward a pistol will be much easier. Remember to focus on solid technique before going up in weight.
  2. Modified single leg step ups with bodyweight shifted forward over the top leg and a dorsiflexed foot with the bottom leg: This is harder than it seems, because you have to resist the urge to use your bottom foot/leg for assistance.
  3. Pistol squats onto a box starting with a high box and gradually moving on to a shorter box: No need to sit fully on the box; keep your weight over your bent leg and just touch your butt lightly to the box before standing. As your range of motion increases, continue to lower the box height.
  4. Assisted full range of motion pistols using a door way, bands, or a counter-weight: Stay focused on your technique, as the assist can give you a false sense of stability, especially at the bottom of the pistol.
  5. Deck pistols using a back and forward roll to generate momentum into the pistol:Practice rolling back and standing up with two legs before you work on standing up with one leg. This is still challenging, but the extra momentum will help you stand up.

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