Everyday movement requires unilateral strength and coordination, think about walking upstairs or stepping out of the vehicle. Athletes use unilateral movements when they jump off one leg, land on one leg, and have a sharp change of direction. The third exercise in this series is a Single-Leg Squat off a Box, which can be seen a modification to the pistol squat. The reasoning behind this progression is the lack of hip flexor strength to maintain the free-standing leg off the floor when doing a pistol squat. By elevating the surface on which the movement is done, the individual can work on the full range of movement as well as develop hip flexor strength. Individuals may find a noticeable difference between left and right limbs when first adding this exercise into their program. Maintaining proper trunk position and ankle/knee alignment is a key focus when performing this exercise.


  • Develop coordination and stability while unilaterally strengthening the lower limbs in a full range of motion

Equipment Needed:

  • Box or bench
  • Optional: 2.5-5kg plate

Muscle Groups Targeted

  • Hip Extensors, Hip Flexors, Knee Extensors, Ankle Stabilizers

Starting Position

  • Standing upright on top of a box or bench with one foot off the side
  • Arms out stretched in front for balance


  • Keeping an upright, neutral spine position, break at the hips and knees
  • Squat down until your foot touches the ground or you reach your lowest comfortable point.
  • Ascend back to starting position

Recommended sets and repetitions

  • 4 sets of 5 reps per leg


  • To make it easier:
    • Decrease your range of motion
    • ADD a weight into your outstretched hands, this will help with your counterbalance
  • To increase the intensity, keep your free leg as straight and flexed at the hip as possible to mimic a pistol squat

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Check out Exercise #2

by Rachel Korpany

Rachel is a graduate from the University of Edinburgh with her Masters of Science in Strength and conditioning, she obtained her Bachelors of Physical Education graduate from the University of Alberta. She is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA with a strong background in Olympic Weightlifting.