By Mike Campbell


Welcome to the third and final part in this article series on Bodyweight Training. The progressions provided here

follow on from part 2 in this article series. To read part 1, click here.


The pistol squat 


The pistol squat is a brilliant lower body test of strength that doesn’t require equipment. In essence you lift one foot off the ground then squat down to the ground on the other leg and stand back up. May sound easy, but it’s far from it. So we’re going to learn a regression roll up.


Pistol squat roll up 


Lying on your back decide which leg you’re going to squat on to and lift the other leg off slightly, keeping it straight. Using your bodyweight and momentum, throw yourself forward and up placing your plant foot on the ground and popping your body off the ground so that you are now holding the bottom of a pistol squat. This is the first movement to master. From here you can attempt to stand up. Alternatively if this is too hard, try starting from standing, squat down to the bottom, then roll down onto your back and repeat the above roll up (see video via link below).


The front lever This needn’t be solely for elite gymnasts. We can break this down into its parts and work the movement and the muscles involved with this tough yet effective regression.


Eccentric tucked front lever Grip the bar overhand and simultaneously lift your knees to your chest and pull your hips towards your hands - with straight arms - so that you’re in a tucked position with your hips high in the air (you may need a spot to get to the top).


Next, slowly lower yourself to the ground, starting with a five-second eccentric.


Ensure that you are engaging through your lower abs by tucking your knees close, while your lats pull, and then slowly lower your body.


As you progress you can do more reps and/or extend your knees out from your body slightly. The end goal is to have straight legs (i.e., a full front lever) – see video here: (note: footage for this article starts at 1 minute, 25 seconds).