By Nick Hollander, Instructor
Have you ever encountered a difficult stand while climbing? You know the routine. Your leg isn’t able to push anymore, so you have to push on your leg with your arm.
I see this move in the gym all the time, especially on slab routes. A climber will have one foot really high and then try to rock over and stand up on a single leg. Halfway through the stand-up motion the climber’s leg runs out of power, and they have to push on their knee with their hand to finish the move.
While climbing, you often find yourself with only one option – pushing with one leg. This requires balance, core tension, and of course, power from the leg. Therefore, being able to squat with one leg is an incredibly important skill.
Pistol squats can feel very challenging, or even impossible, to someone who is new to them. As with any exercise, the key is modifying the difficulty of the motion to progress toward your goals. I have found a few ways to build up to a pistol squat – first, by reducing the distance your body must travel, then, by adding assistance from a workout band.