What kid of depth do you look for in a Single Leg Squat?
Is any lumbar flexion allowed? Like in a pistol.
Should we just allow a range of motion where they can keep a neutral spine and then just keep working lower?
1. 1-leg Squat to a box, 1-leg Box Squat, 1-leg Squat hanging, or a legit pistol, I think you should be progressing to parallel. That is the goal.
Is there a benefit for going lower? I am not at all sure as we all see incredibly strong and well moving individuals that never go much past parallel in these moves.
I also don’t think it’s a problem if you are nailing the depth with perfect form through the foot, knee, hip, etc.
2. Go as low as you can with a neutral spine. This is just that simple.
Indeed we see lots of pistols that look like they are executed with a very flexed spine. For those that look ugly, they are on a borrowed base and should be avoided.
This is more just sensible conjecture on my part, but with the off foot not grounded to the floor, I suspect that spinal loads are much different that a loaded squat or deadlift.
I might also suggest that the load in the goblet position, where it usually is racked, is outside of the body’s base of support, thus lessening (not negating) spinal loads.
3. When you don’t worry about the Pistol, it is much simpler to keep the spine in the same neutral or centrated position that is significant of other lifts that we all do.
I have been working on my Pistol for the last few months for nothing more than being able to play in those pissing contests.
My best executions have been barefoot 1-leg squat to a 12″ box on each side.
I will say that I 100% feel like these are max effort lifts, just as Pavel suggests in Naked Warrior.
These 2 short videos from Dr. Mark Cheng may help answer some challenges in these questions if the Pistol is how you want to float your boat.
Using the TRX to assist into the Pistol
Linking the ASLR to the Pistol Progression