Few exercises are as impressive as the pistol squat. This one move can work your strength, balance, and flexibility. “Any unilateral move, working one side or one leg at a time, helps you reach your full strength potential,” notes Megan Dahlman, C.S.C.S., owner of Dahlman Elite Training Systems in Aurora, OR. Pistol squats challenge the quads, but they also work the glutes, inner and outer thighs, and even the small ankle joint muscles; a strong core helps you put it all together, adds Dahlman.

A full pistol squat—in which one leg is forward and parallel to the floor—is great for advanced exercisers who have mastered the stability and balance elements. For the rest of us, a modified version done on a bench or plyo box will challenge you while you gain all the benefits of the full move.


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