CrossFit Pistol

Pistol Progression Part 2 of 3 – Cherry Hill CrossFit

Pistol Progression Part 2 of 3 – Cherry Hill CrossFit

As promised, here is the second installment to our pistol progression. If you were able to successfully perform all the movements in part 1, then you are ready to tackle these next steps!


With just a basic box or bench, we need to set an item up for us to sit down to and stand back up from. Now, what a lot of people don’t realize is that it’s ok to have a displaced center of mass (aka chest forward as we stand from squat position) when we are doing body-weight/gymnastics movements. In fact, it’s completely normal! It’s when we are under heavy load, say in a front or back squat, that we need to focus more on keeping the chest tall and knees out, lessening that displacement.

To start, set up your box or bench and simply squat down to a full seated position on the box. When ready, stand back up! It’s a very simple concept, but allow your chest to come forward as you rise and descend. Send your hips back. This exaggerated movement is key to success with our pistol.

CrossFit Pistol Squat ProgressionCrossFit Pistol Squat Progression Philadelphia PA

How do I maintain a vertical shin while squatting? The answer is simple…..Knees out! Understanding squatting mechanics is essential for our pistol, so by pushing the knees out, our shin becomes perpendicular to the ground, allowing us access to the hip.

CrossFit Pistol Squat Progression Philadelphia

CrossFit Pistol Squat Progression Philadelphia

Find a box that is a decent height for you to step onto. Once on top of the box, start standing tall, arms out, and send one foot back so that it drops off of the box. From here, bend forward and begin to step all the way down to the floor. Slide all the way down the box until your foot reaches the floor.

CrossFit Pistol Squat Progression PhiladelphiaCrossFit Pistol Squat Progression Philadelphia

Your finish position should be with your foot flat on the floor and your hip crease below your knee.

CrossFit Pistol Squat Progression Philadelphia

Now we need to stand back up! To do this, I want you to do exactly what you just did to step down, but in reverse order. IMPORTANT: The back foot is not pushing! There is no jump or drive from the foot that is on the floor. Make sure you are loading your weight onto your front foot (foot on the box) by leaning your chest forward (as we practiced in step 1) and driving through that foot!

Practice these 3 simple steps and you are that much closer to getting through our pistol progression! Part 3 is just around the corner so keep your eyes peeled!