Friday, January 30, 2009

More on Torque, pistols

To make Pistols harder try holding the arms at the sides as demonstrated here by pistol master Steve Cotter:

rather than in front of the body as seen demonstrated here by Jim of Beastskills:

Another option is to do the pistol on a box or a ledge and let the non working leg hang down over the edge rather than straight forward.

Either of these variations makes the movement more challenging by reducing counterbalance and increasing the torque acting on the working joints.


  1. Um, wouldn't it just make you fall over if you couldn't keep your balance?

    I don't think torque is a good concept for this, that's something that comes into play with leverage, which is usually more of a single joint thing, like when doing lateral raises or supination/pronation stuff.

    I could maybe understand if the toes of the working leg were anchored underneath something to prevent from toppling backward, but otherwise, bringing your arms back forces you to shift your weight forward in some other way to avoid falling backwards.

    That's all I think it'd do.

    1. moving your arms back shifts your center of gravity further behind the working knee. you balance yourself by maintaining greater core stability. this effectively means that you have a narrower margin of error as to where your center of gravity is relative to your working foot, because you have to keep your weight above it in order to not fall. because of this narrower margin of error, your weight is necessarily more directly over the working leg, and that combined with the greater core tension, makes the exercise substantially harder. from what i see, the hardest variation would be as follows:

      1. put your hands behind your lower back, rotating your arms outward. by rotating your arms outward, you are ensuring that your shoulders are pulled back, further decreasing the margin of error and shifting your weight back. i would do this by interlacing my fingers behind my back, then turning them so that my palms are facing down. you will feel that this necessarily forces your shoulders back.

      2. ensure that your nonworking leg is completely stretched out and is parallel to the ground throughout the exercise. this further decreases the margin of error, as well as shifting your weight back.

      of course, this would make it incredibly difficult to balance, but the rule of thumb with the pistol is the harder it is to balance, the more strength is required to perform the exercise.