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Old 11-04-2011, 10:43 AM   #1
Matt Rexin
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Position of non working leg during single leg squat

Sorry if this question has already been asked, but what is the purpose of putting the leg in front of you during a single leg squat as opposed to holding the non working leg behind you or to the side?
The only difference I seem to find is balance with the leg in front is different than with the leg in another position. I suppose it depends on the person but I find it easier to balance with the leg behind me thus allowing me to load this movement (not that this should be loaded heavily).

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Old 11-04-2011, 11:48 AM   #2
Andrew N. Casey
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Re: Position of non working leg during single leg squat

well they are two different movements. just like front squat w/ a barbell and back squat w/ a barbell. do both.
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Old 11-04-2011, 12:56 PM   #3
Arturo Garcia
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Re: Position of non working leg during single leg squat

My thoughts are that they're two very different movements.

What do you mean you find it easier to balance with a leg behind you? Do you mean something like the so called Bulgarian Split Squat?

If so, here are my thoughts, I'm no expert but have done both of these, weighed as well.

In the BSS your other leg assists in getting up. Yes, you push with it, with it's hip flexors, wether you convince yourself you only have it back there "just for balance" or not. Once you weigh the movement, that leg helps in getting up. In this one it's also much easier to arch the lower back and I had to tighten my midsection hard to prevent this. It also works a lot of the glute-ham tie in... lots of hamstring in my experience. Not that much Quad to be honest. Glute/ham mostly. You can use a barbell or DB's for these, I prefer DB's.

In the Pistol, for whatever reason, I never felt my hamstrings doing much work. Maybe, just maybe, because the Leg in front makes the lower back round quite a lot, and just like some coaches explain for the back squat, when you round at the bottom the hamstrings can't engage very well, right? ... so Pistols are more Glute/Quad for me. And by Quad I mean specifically the VMO or tear drop or inner quad muscle. The leg that's in front, at first, nearly cramped my hip flexor from holding it straight in front. But eventually you can hold it there no problem. I weighed my pistols by holding dumbells or plates in the "rack" possition (like a goble squat or front squat). Yes, balance is an issue, but that's one the good things about the pistols, develops balance.

My two cents but keep in mind I'm not an expert and not qualified to give advise, but I was bored.
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Old 11-06-2011, 10:06 PM   #4
Blair Robert Lowe
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Re: Position of non working leg during single leg squat

Arturo, I think what Matt is talking about can be called the "Shrimp Squat" as done by Ido Portal. Google it, I was going to copy and paste the link but I lost the link because I hit copy instead of paste.

I have generally done my Loaded "Pistol" SLS with the free leg as near horizontal as I could in the eccentric and concentric phase. Probably 15 degrees below horizontal which is the best my active flexibility allows me. Recently I saw a video of someone do their BW added on themself as a Pistol but they let the free leg drop in the concentric phase. When you do that, you engage your PC to help you up whereas in proper pistol form I've heard it's more quad dependent (though a shrimp is supposed to be more so).

I've also done them with just the free leg hanging down when I do them on a height of some sort. For loading, I prefer this way and I generally introduce SLS as this progression at first.

To note it can get tricky doing weighted SLS off a height if you allow the free leg to hang and want to hit parallel. This is circumvented if you do them as a "pistol".

The Shrimp squat has some funky mechanics if you watch Ido demonstrating it. His first two version are somewhat similar to a box squat but have a weird movement path, IMO.

However, they are easier to load. I started playing with those back in 96 when I taught to squat since I would also do one leg leg presses. Ya, I know but oh well.
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