How to do sit-ups on one leg?

sit-ups on one leg

Sit-ups on one leg

Want to pump up the hips and buttocks, but after work there is not enough strength and time to go to the gym? It can be done at home. To do this, you should regularly perform squats on one leg. “Pistol”, as it is also called, has the same effect on the muscles of the buttocks and legs as a squat with a bar. Significant differences between these exercises will be the lack of additional weight-load, work only with your own body, the possibility of training in any convenient place. On how to do sit-ups on one leg, we’ll tell you today.

sit-ups on one leg
Sit-ups on one leg

Benefits, features and benefits

Like any exercise, squats on one leg has pros and cons. Negative moments from training and contraindications to it will be described further in the text. Now we want to describe the advantages and benefits that the athlete who performs this element receives.

Squats on one leg gives the following advantages:

  • increased coordination of movements, stability, flexibility, endurance, concentration of attention, neuromuscular communication improves;
  • muscles and ligaments that are not involved in other exercises are worked out;
  • the load on the muscles of the back decreases, since the main “blow” falls on the legs;
  • The main load falls on quadricycles;
  • strengthens the ligaments, increases the strength and volume of the muscles of the legs, especially the hip.

An additional advantage of this exercise will be its versatility. If you successfully crouch without the use of supports, you can perform it in the hall, at home, on the street, in the subway, even standing at a stop.

What muscles work during the exercise?

One of the most powerful exercises for pumping the muscles of the legs in the hall and at home is just squats on one leg. Exercise pistol helps to work the muscles of the lower body. When working with your own weight, standing on one leg, many muscle groups are involved.

Groups of muscles Muscles that are involved
The main “shock” group Quadriceps
Synergists Large, large and large gluteal
Stabilizers of movement Calf, hamstrings, semimembranous, semitendinous
Stabilizers in vertical position Medium and small gluteal muscles, muscles of the press and backs
Stabilizers in the squat Quadriceps, wrinkled, comb, ilio-lumbar, tensor of the broad fascia of the thigh

Technique of execution

It is not possible to reproduce the ideal technique from the first time, without preliminary preparation and additional support, even in a person with developed flexibility and coordination of movements. To learn how to properly perform the exercise, we will describe auxiliary techniques below. With their help you can learn to perform squats on one leg correctly.

So, the ideal execution of the pistol exercises is as follows:

  1. Stand directly in the free rack, feet shoulder width apart.
  2. Hands raise to the level of the shoulders and hold them straight.
  3. Select the supporting leg and slide the entire weight onto it.
  4. Lift your free leg forward, do not bend in the knee.
  5. Slowly on inspiration, drop down on the working leg.
  6. The free straight leg gradually rises, simultaneously with the squat.
  7. The pelvis is pushed back to hold the balance.
  8. The case slightly tilts forward so as not to fall.
  9. Keep your back straight.
  10. At the lowest point, you should feel the touch of the back of the thigh with the calf muscle.
  11. At the lowest point, the free leg should be parallel to the floor.
  12. The back and knee of the non-working leg should be straight.
  13. In the squat, the knee of the working leg should extend beyond the foot.
  14. Push the heel of the working foot off the floor.
  15. Lifting is carried out using the maximum tension of the buttocks and thighs.
  16. It is necessary to climb slowly and smoothly.
  17. “Pull yourself up” until the support leg aligns, and you will return to the starting position.
  18. You can put your free foot on the floor.


sit-ups on one leg
Sit-ups on one leg – first position

Be prepared for the bottom point – the most dangerous moment in the exercise. Because the working leg is located at an unusual angle. The most difficult is lifting. Without support or support it is difficult to climb smoothly, without staggering or wriggling the body. Since this exercise is quite difficult to perform, it is necessary to work on it regularly and at the maximum of possibilities. Repeat it is necessary on each leg, increasing its performance. If you manage to do 10 squats on each leg, you have an excellent training of the muscles of the legs and the entire lower body.

Auxiliary exercises

In order to more easily learn the technique of performing squats on one leg, we offer additional “tricks” with which it is easier to learn the exercise and get used to such loads.

Warm-up exercises for the study of “pistol”:

  • Balance on one leg. One leg lifts in front of you until it becomes parallel to the floor. You need to hold out in such a rack on one leg as long as possible. Then change your leg.
  • Squats “foot under him” with support. You need a solid support (wall, drawer, cabinet, ladder), for which you will hold. Just lift one leg off the floor. Squat on the second leg. When climbing, stand on both feet.
  • Squats near the door. First make sure that the door is held tightly, otherwise the “pistol” will end with a door “lid” over the head. Open the door a little. Become one step away from her. Grasp the handles on both sides. Put one foot forward and start squatting. In the squat, the door will be between the legs. Do the exercise by holding the handles.
  • Exercise, touching the shoulder support. Again, use a vertical support. Stand next to the wall or other solid support. Take the starting position – the legs are shoulder width apart, hands in front of you, one leg is raised above the floor. Squat, if necessary, with a shoulder on the support. This exercise gives more moral help than physical.

Some of these exercises are considered squatting options without the use of one leg.

Exercise Options

Many believe that this exercise has only one form of execution. This opinion is erroneous. We want to offer you the following options for sit-ups.

sit-ups on one leg
Group sit-ups on one leg


Incomplete sit-ups, suitable for training

To perform this exercise, additional support under the “fifth” point of support in the form of a chair, a wooden box in height of 30-35 cm, bench, medbola or other ball. The squat is performed until the moment when the buttocks touch the surface of the support. The use of balls helps to “depreciate” the body in a vertical position.

With support, the leg underneath

As a support, use any hard surface or a Swedish wall. Stand face to support or sideways. Hold on to the support and crouch with your hands. You lift the unearned leg slightly from the floor in the squat. On the rise, you can step on it.

With the support

  • The support is located in front of you.  In such cases, use an open door or a door frame. Stand in a step from the support, facing her. Keep the door on both sides by the handles. Hold the frame with both hands at the level of the lower ribs. Start crouching. This is how the squats are performed on one leg with the support between the legs.
  • Support from the side. Support – a wall, a crossbar of the Swedish ladder, a rack of a training apparatus, a curbstone. Become sideways to it. The working leg is located closer to the support. Stick or hold your hand for it. You squat.
  • Support behind the back. The closet or wall will be the support. Become your back to her. Start crouching, sliding back on the support.

On a wooden box or box

Become a working foot a few centimeters from the edge of the box / box. A free leg hangs over the floor. Squat, lifting a non-working leg.

Without support

Perfect execution. Standing on the floor, without any supports, perform deep squats.

With a slight burden in the hands

With dumbbells it is easier to perform the exercise. in this case the hands will be located along the body.

The projectile in front of you on extended arms is also quite a difficult exercise. In this exercise, we use dumbbells, bodybuilding, fitball, vulture. When performing squats, it is forbidden that the hands are at different levels or the shell is unsteady.

With a barbell

There are two variants of squats on one leg with a barbell: the barbell on the shoulders and the bar above the head. Each of them is sufficient in execution. In addition to its weight, it is necessary to keep additional weight on the shoulders or on extended arms over oneself. With two hands, hold the bar and very cautiously squat with it. A simplified version of squats with a barbell on the shoulders is performed in the Smith simulator.

With weight

Working inventory will be a weight of light weight. Keep it in front of you so that it does not hang over your free foot.

On the dumbbell

You need to choose shoes that will not slide on such a surface. If you manage to keep the balance on this projectile, start crouching, remembering to keep the non-working leg straight.

On a weight with weighting

Extrasyllable task – you need to squat on the dumbbell, holding in your hands another weight or holding a bar on your shoulders.

Precautionary measures

When starting the exercises on one leg, the following recommendations should be considered, which will protect you from injuries or falls during the exercise:

  • be sure to do the warm-up with the strengthened exercises for warming up and stretching the muscles of the legs;
  • smoothly move. You do not need to make sharp falls or rapid rises – so you are injured;
  • breathe smoothly and calmly;
  • gently it is necessary to perform the exercise in the presence of excess weight, since in this case the load on the joints considerably increases;
  • it is necessary to rise from the back, as if “pulling” it up, after that to rise on the leg;
  • use the heel as the center of gravity. If the support goes to the fingers, you fall.
  • keep your back straight and look in front of you.

People with a “sedentary” lifestyle or poor physical fitness, such an exercise is contraindicated. To perform it, you need to learn how to perform ordinary squats, keep balance on one leg for a long time. After that, you can try to squat on one leg with a support, gradually complicating the task.

sit-ups on one leg
Sit-ups on one leg (pistol exercise)

Completely contraindicated exercise

A special prohibition concerns injuries to the knees. These joints are subjected to maximum load and with any damage, to aggravate the problem is not worth it. Replace this exercise with others. There is a sad example of the surrender of the standard “pistol” with the old knee injury, which, due to the limitation period, was forgotten. If you once had a fall to your knees, which was accompanied by pain in the joint and the appearance of bruises, you need to be very careful when doing this exercise. There were cases when, after an old injury, performing a “pistol”, people ripped off their knee menisci. This is due to the fact that there is a need for deep squatting – the knee is an acute angle between the gastrocnemius and femoral muscles.

The first signs of losing a part of the meniscus – a terrible pain in the knee, because of which it is impossible to straighten the leg, it is impossible to step on it.

After that, we had to operate the knee to remove the fragments of cartilage. After recovery, women are not allowed to wear heels higher than 5-7 cm. This is fraught with the fact that the knee in the place of injury can jam and will have to operate again. Athletes with a meniscus injury are advised to be very careful when performing any sit-ups and it is not recommended to run on the track in the gym.