Pistol Squats and One-Armed Pushups: What Worked, What Didn't
No, I'm not recommending these movements to others. And I don't consider them to be the summum bonum of bodyweight strength-skills. But I am immensely proud of having accomplished them and thought some of you might be interested in learning what didn't work for me and what did work for me.
What didn't work for the pistol squat: attempting to squat to lower and lower objects, which is probably the standard recommendation. Some say this approach instills a false sense of confidence. For me, it didn't address the primal fear of what happens when I go all the way down with my existing knee condition.
What did work: several workouts of negatives. Slow, controlled descent. Yielding to the carpet to begin with. Eventually holding for a bit at the bottom. Then, for a few more workouts I used a doorframe for assistance, only lightly tapping the doorframe with fingertips to maintain balance as I went down into the hole and came back up again.
What didn't work for the one-armed pushups: Convict Conditioning. There are an interminable number of progressions to go through and I wasn't willing to wait that long.
What did work: as with the pistol, several workouts of negatives. I had the notion that at which point I could manage ten slow negatives, in a contiguous set, I'd be ready for the real thing. It only took five on my right side and six on the left before I was popping right back up! Now, granted, it's not as easy as just doing a pushup and taking away one arm. I did studying up a bit on the 'corkscrew' technique ahead of time.
Take away: whereas I had putzed around aimlessly for months, these techniques enabled me to really get down to business and nail the moves in a few weeks time.