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Exercises Movements, technique & proper execution

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Old 07-06-2007, 02:46 PM   #1
Carl Henrik Laurell
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My first post...but don't be gentle...

Due to various practical reasons I decided to do some leg work at home yesterday. The euiqpment available was myself and a 22.5 kg dumbbell.

I decided to squat with one leg while keeping the other leg either tucked in backwards with toes facing down just above the ground or keeping it in a position similar to that of a two leg squat but a cm over the ground. These were not pistol squats.

The dumbbell I attempted to hold as if doing a regular two leg front squat. My torso was leaning forward much more though. If I got tired or unbalanced I was able to assist the return from bottom position with my hanging leg and do more reps.

I did 4 sets of 6-8 reps that just barely came down to parallel. It may seem a very light workout at first but I looked into the weight supported by the knee joint as:
70kg lifted bodyweight + 22.5 kg = 92.5kg per leg = 2*92.5kg per two legs = 185kg per two legs = 125kg barbell + 60kg lifted body weight per two legs.

So the stress over the knee joint was by this method of comparison (not a predictive method) equivalent to repetitions of approximately 125 kg two leg squat, which is more than I would do for back squats. The most effect I feel today is in the glutes though.

A few questions arose...

Are these one legged squats good movements?

In what ways would these be better or worse than the famed pistol squat? (Are pistol squats the popular onelegged just because they sound cool?)

As I did my first repetition a very loud "squishy" sound came from my knee, as if something was pulled out of slime that was sucking it back. What could that mean?

Thanks!
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Old 07-06-2007, 04:38 PM   #2
David Wood
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Hi Carl, welcome to CrossFit!

I'll take a shot at answering your questions, others may have better-informed opinions.

1) I think your math is generally correct, although you do have your BW as 70 kg in one place (the one-legged squat), and 60 kg in the other (the hypothetical two-legged barbell squat). If you correct that, the hypothetical barbell is only 115 kg . . . does that make it seem more realistic?

2) even if not, I'm still not sure that the conversion from one-leg to two-leg is entirely straightforward. You lift with your entire body, not *just* your legs. In particular, you have to support the barbell weight through your torso. It might be that yes, your *legs* are ready to do the hypothetical 115 or 125 kg barbell squat, but your back and torso are not.

3) I can't say whether these are "good" movements (although that squishy sound does not seem good). Offhand, they don't seem "bad". I think the "pistol squat" is popular partly for its name, and partly because that movement allows a very deep squat (generally deeper than the alternatives you describe), although you do have to be flexible. If you have nothing to load yourself with (no dumbbell), then the depth of the pistol adds some more training effect.

4) That "squishy" sound is not good if it keeps happening, but if it went away, and there's no pain, I wouldn't worry.
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Old 07-06-2007, 11:30 PM   #3
Blair Robert Lowe
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I've done these one legged squats since HS as just another squat. Not my bread and butter but another tool. I like'm. I never did them with DB much, but barbells just like doing standing calf work ( and one legged ) with barbells or DB.

I'd say the one leg squat can allow for one to get around parallel. Tuck that other leg's heel to the butt and get low. I figured good for balance and one legged pushing/jumping.
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Old 07-07-2007, 08:04 AM   #4
Craig Van De Walker
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I do pistols because I can get a lot lower than when I do one legged squats any other way.

You can use a high box or step and get the same ROM as a pistol though.

IMO pistols (or crane dips) require better balance than the other form of one leg squat

You can also see really easy if someone is cheating or assisting themselves with a pistol but if you are doing a one legged squat and your non-load foot is "close" to the ground you may use this foot to "help" yourself balance or get past sticking points. When this happens and I am doing pistols I fall down or am simply stuck in the hole
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Old 07-07-2007, 10:36 AM   #5
Scott Hagnas
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Carl-

What you are doing sounds like what is often called a single leg deadlift - even if you don't actually lift any external load. They are a good exercise, and you can do them balanced with regular pistols. The single leg deadlift, as you noticed, causes you to incline the torso a little more forward than a pistol. This makes it a more hip dominant movement, as it engages the muscles of the posterior chin strongly.

Good luck!

Scotty Hagnas
CrossFit Portland
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Old 07-07-2007, 04:37 PM   #6
Blair Robert Lowe
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Thanks, Scott. From what I've seen of single leg deadlifts, most people really hunch over. Nearly horizontal as far as their spine goes. I've always tried to keep that arch and chest out and thus why I called them a single leg squat version vs the single leg DL ( which from what I have seen vids of never impressed me much to bother doing ).

I do them very similar to this, except with the back leg not on a height so it's on one leg solely. I just remember trying them one day during weights in HS ( my intro to weightlifting ) since I would also do one legged leg press on the inverted leg press ( yeah, don't flame me - big fun more than anything else ).

W/F safe

http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/...plitSquat.html

Vs what I have seen as a single leg deadlift

http://www.tailored-fitness-home-wor...ndeadlift.html

http://www.t-nation.com/img/photos/0...g/image030.jpg


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Old 07-08-2007, 06:59 AM   #7
Carl Henrik Laurell
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Thank you all for your high quality responses.

I've read all and revised my perception of this movement as more of a deadlift. I think the shin is more vertical and the torso more horizontal than in a squat, meaning a decreased distance between knee and CoM, lessening knee load and increasing hip load. Of course a movement is what it is and there can never be a perfect comparison, however, I just wanted to see why this was hard.

Because the horizontal distances between joints and CoM are different, just weights is not a good foundation for comparing rotational forces. The idea with "60kg" and "70kg" above though was that I subtracted 10kg from my bw (just below 80) for every foot on the ground. Since distances are probably not the same as in a squat the above calculations are not very real.

I did a bit more and better math and found the hip load with a 22.5kg dumbbell was about similar to a 107.5kg deadlift. The ROM is much, much longer though (elbows maybe just 20cm from the ground in bottom position). With all the balancing going on and extreme extensions of the glutes, this should be as tough as it was...

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Old 07-10-2007, 10:35 AM   #8
Scott Hagnas
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Hi Blair-

Yes, they look more like the first, w/o the bench. The other two variants are really single leg stiff leg deadlifts.

You can still keep the back tight and arched on the single leg DLs, but it is commonly seen being done poorly. You'll see this exercise called King deadlifts periodically as well, named after Coach Ian King who popularized them.

Link w/f safe:
http://www.t-nation.com/readTopic.do?id=459868
Scroll about halfway down for the King DL.

Carl- Interesting info. Thanks!

Scotty Hagnas
CrossFit Portland
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Old 07-12-2007, 02:46 PM   #9
Derek Maffett
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T-nation W/F safe? I don't think so.
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