Tuesday, December 15, 2009

On board with Boyle...Getting deep with Squats

I've referred to Michael Boyle before in this blog and I'm about to again. B/c a few weeks ago, he came out with a new DVD set, and one of the things he came out with was so preposterous that it shook the very ground work of the strength and conditioning realm.

Coach Boyle is preaching against doing conventional back squats. WHAT, WHAT, WHAT?!?! (intened to be said with rapid succession.)
In history this type of innovation would be either hailed as heroic or dispised as lunacy.

Seems some really don't like this very much. As is evident here.

I don't know though. I've not met Coach Boyle personally but he seems to always have validity behind what he says (meaning he doesn't talk out of his ass). I do think it's possible that the reason he is so highly regarded for his strength and conditioning practices is more due to his incredible ability to communicate than his ability to transform athletes, but that's part of it too, and I doubt neither. (can we stop and appreciate the terribleness of that sentence).....

Now all in all, I personally cannot remember the last time I did a conventional squat. So am I with Coach Boyle? Yes and No. It wouldn't be me to give such a clear cut answer would it?

I find his reasoning for the Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat without doubt to be ironclad. The weak point of a squat is the low back. It's the reason we cannot get maximal force output. So we switch to one leg and bang, we can do way more than half the weight of our max squat on a single leg.

I doubt I could squat 450lbs without a box under me, but I can do well over 225lbs on each leg for reps. See what I mean.

I also see safety as a benefit.
Crazy right? Well, a friend of mine was lifting the other day, sat back on the box and couldn't get back off. Along with that, the idiot didn't set the safety bars and could NOT drop it. He sat there for almost 5 minutes while some skinny little blonde lady tried to figure out how to move the safety bars so he could drop it. Nice huh?

Buuuuuuut.............. I do find good reason to still include box squats, other single leg squat variations, the use of bands and chains, along with variations of deadlifts.

One thing I will add to the pile is that I do quite honestly dislike single leg squats without the use of a box. Especially when performing them on ground level. Either sit back on a box (my preference 95% of the time, b/c you get more from the glutes and hamstrings, can load sooner, and don't get that ridiculous rounding of the back), or stand on the edge of the box.

I'll also add that I absolutely hate leg pressing. I think it's one of the biggest bullshit, panzy ass wastes of time. Go do something real. It's about as bad as a leg extension. I wouldn't be caught dead on a leg extension, ever.

All in all, I find pretty much everyone to be correct. Powerlifters have to practice squatting. Athletes need maximal force output from one leg at a time (you only run with one foot at a time, then the other), and both are trying to stay healthy enough to perform at their best. But I train athletes that need to be able to run, and they have NOT done any conventional squats for a very long time and wont be anytime soon. This is simply because there's too many other things they need that are going to help them excel.

Leave a comment. People are getting pretty ridic about this, so it'd be good to hear some opinions.


  1. What about strain on your knee?
    One may be able to lift more than half of what they would be able to squat with both legs, but it seems then you're putting more than half the strain on one knee. What do you think?

  2. I think you're going to have to wrap your head around some different and new ideas.

    The idea that squats are bad for your knees comes from panzies that want an excuse not to do them. This type of stress is good for your knee. And if I'm doing 450lbs with two legs and 225lbs with one, that's approximately the same weight on each leg with each lift.

    Get what I mean?

  3. Adam- for the mention. Nice to see some of us are using our heads.

  4. Well I can tell ya Coach Boyle knows his stuff. Great guy and keeps pushing the envelope. Not new information but people do listen to Boyle. So many variations and much less strain on the back. Squat 400 plus pds with 2 legs but can't single squat your body weight? Ah maybe more people will try to get better. Love single leg exercises and progressing people to do them.
    Coach B Orlando, FL

  5. Good stuff. How you liking the snow down there man?