Thursday, January 1, 2009

Re-Enginerring My Pistols

I've run into a number of people in the past who were trying to 'wing it' with pistols. I already knew this was a bad idea, and now I have an even better conception of just what a bad idea it is.
Strength is a skill. That is drilled into you by Pavel's books and during the RKC, but most people don't get it. Too often athleticism is treated by those for whom it is not a priority in their lives as something less than an intellectual pursuit. This is why people are so cavalier about their strength training programs, and never bother to learn proper form in bench press, squat, etc.
More than a few times I've heaard someone laugh and say "I don't need someone to show me how to exercise."
Like I said, no respect is given to the pursuit, and so they never make any real progress, and often encounter injury and disappointment.
After my failed 40 kg. pistol I returned to the Naked Warrior to sharpen up the intellectual aspect of my strength skill. I really don't believe that my strength is the problem, the strength is there. I just need the right key to unlock it.
Last night I probably knocked off dozens of sub-maximal pistols as I read and re-examined my form and my practice of this strength-skill. These are things I found.
1. I was trying to sit up too straight. It isn't necessary. It's okay to round forward so long as it is not excessive.
2. As suggested by Steve Cotter performing a motion similar to a one-legged Janda sit up via 'clawing' the floor is hugely beneficial and causes me to engage more.
3. I flat out need more hamstring flexibility.
There's much more of course, but those are the main things I was missing that were really cutting into my ability to properly perform.
Making the necessary corrections has me doing pistols on my left leg again, problem seemingly solved. I'll get the 40 kg. in the next 30 days. Mark it on your calendar.


  1. agreed for sure: strength is a skill and a skill takes practice practice practice - in this case the rewards of that practice are quickly measurable, too.


  2. Thanks for checking in MC. I've been doing KJ's program training the press, pistol, and pull up, and have seen massive improvements in all three just by virtue of the 'practice' and staying on task.

  3. Nice work. I saw that you started doing pistols with bells in the rack. You will be amazed how easy it feels when you bring it back out in front of you. Just the other day I was doing double 24kg pistols for doubles and finished with a set of 12 per leg with one 24kg bell held out in front. Keep it up, you are going to own that 40kg very soon.
    Did you go to a cotter seminar?

  4. I went to one of Steve's GS workshops back in 2007, right before he started up the IKFF. It was pretty good and gave me a good foundation in GS concepts and techniques.
    I can definitely feel it will be easier going back to single bells after doubles in the rack.