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View Full Version : Mike Boyle says no to squats.



Fuzzy
12-06-2009, 03:05 AM
Video: http://www.functionalstrengthcoach3.com/squats.html

http://www.tmuscle.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance/the_squat_good_exercise_gone_bad

I personally think this is stupid. Not a leg excersise!??! I can't even get my thoughts in order!

My quads right now beg to differ.

So, he used alot of freshmen to test his theory. Judging from what he said I dont think a single one of those athletes was hitting a full depth atg squat. Maybe for inflexible kids that are squatting with bad technique, this makes sense. But to make a statement as bold as that when my legs, anf the legs of many others beg to differ seems more like a cheap publicity stunt to set him apart from the other trainers.


Thoughts?


Imma go do some squats right now.

Isaac Wilkins
12-06-2009, 06:26 AM
I'll preface this by saying that I absolutely respect Mike Boyle and think that he's one of the great minds of our field.

Now I get to disagree. :) I can see where he's coming from when it comes to a risk/reward standpoint on squats. Remember that he trains athletes, not power/weightlifters, and not bodybuilders. His only goal is to make his athletes better on the field (or ice, for most of them). So he doesn't care about squatting in and of itself. Squatting is merely a means of stimulating the organism. Period. He believes that it causes more issues than its worth. Maybe he's right.

I know that for a lot of my people I end up doing more front squatting than back squatting (although he's apparently given up on front squatting now, too). We do a lot of back box squats, though.

To me the benefits of squatting (front, back, or overhead) are:

-Mental edge: Athletes just seem to respond when they're getting ready to do a heavy 3-rep squat. Nobody does a "heavy 3" with a unilateral movement. If they do... NOW we're debating risk/reward!

-Overall driving power: Again, this is born from weight on the bar. Even though athletes spend most of their time in unilateral positions, big squats seem to really develop that transfer of power (from any position) from the lower body through the upper body.

-It's a natural motion. I'm sorry, it is. Squatting is part of humanity's hard-wired movement patterns. When you see somebody with a messed-up squat, even with weight, then it's starting to point out something flawed with their athletic movement patterns. That gives you something to work on to improve them as an athlete. Should 7-footers be doing ATG squats? Probably not, but they can still do some sort of squatting movement.

DMedley
12-06-2009, 07:29 AM
I dont think a single one of those athletes was hitting a full depth atg squat. Maybe for inflexible kids that are squatting with bad technique, this makes sense.

I would have to agree with you "I don't think one of them was doing an atg squat". I know I would find it very hard to do a one legged squat Arse to grass.

dammstrate
12-06-2009, 07:50 AM
What a bunch of crap. Just another gimmick to be provacative so as to
SELL SOMETHING. You notice these kind of guys are NEVER at a big time
organization position: college, pro, olympic, etc. Always a free-lancer.

"We do rear-elevated split squats, unsupported single-leg squats, trap bar deadlifts and single-leg straight-leg deadlifts. We hit it hard, so don't think we're slacking."

Sorry, by definition you are.

OK, you take the sport athalete who needs explosion, speed and power, I will take the one who has been squatting and deadlifting. EVERY TIME.

Dingus
12-06-2009, 07:58 AM
What a bunch of crap. Just another gimmick to be provacative so as to
SELL SOMETHING. You notice these kind of guys are NEVER at a big time
organization position: college, pro, olympic, etc. Always a free-lancer.

"We do rear-elevated split squats, unsupported single-leg squats, trap bar deadlifts and single-leg straight-leg deadlifts. We hit it hard, so don't think we're slacking."

Sorry, by definition you are.

OK, you take the sport athalete who needs explosion, speed and power, I will take the one who has been squatting and deadlifting. EVERY TIME.

He is the strength coach at Boston University, I'm not defending the guy I think hes a terd but a lot of guys even in those positions don't have a clue.

chris mason
12-06-2009, 08:08 AM
He's simply looking for a differentiator as already suggested and it IS possible he believes what he is saying.

A couple of problems:

1) Yes, the lower back is involved in squatting to varying degrees. So what? Should his athletes not have strong lower backs?

2) He talks about using a greater relative load on a totally different exercise as though you are really somehow doubling the stress on the involved musculature. That is simply stupid... Different movement, different load pattern, hence the ability to use a relatively higher load.

3) The biggest and strongest legs ever have been developed using squats. They work. They are efficient at stimulating a lot of musculature, and efficiency should be a prime target for any resistance training relative to supporting athletic activities. Resistance training for athletics has only two real uses, increased force production capability and or increased total body mass. Sport specific activities should be the majority of one's training and only enough resistance training to get the job done should be employed, hence the importance of efficiency. Why? There is no sense wasting the body's recovery ability etc. via excessive resistance training with excessive being defined as more than that needed to get the job done with respect to supporting the sport related activities.

mikesbench
12-06-2009, 08:22 AM
Wow, after watching that I'm speachless! If I was in that seminar I'd just be twitching in my seat cause of all the problems I had with what he was saying. ESPECIALLY comparing breaking the 4 minute mile to some weak kid trying to squat 2 plates! How sheltered are his athletes if they didn't think it was possible to load 2 or more plates on the bar?!

BigTallOx
12-06-2009, 08:27 AM
Well, I have no idea who Mike Boyle is, but he looks like just another guy who doesn't squat telling me not to squat. It's clear what squatting has done for my body and strength, I'll never not squat, ever, no matter what any "expert" says.

MarcusWild
12-06-2009, 10:13 AM
I'll agree that most beginners lack the lower back strength to squat. That doesn't mean the squat should be avoided. It means the lower back must be strengthened. I'd be very curious how much lower back training he does with athletes and how many lower back injuries they get. He sounds like one of those guys that'll have his athletes do tons of ab training, no lower back training, then wonder why the athletes get injured.

C-Sobrino
12-06-2009, 10:33 AM
Jesus people! We all know Squats are bull****, I can do like 400 more pounds on the leg press than on squats! Thanks Coach Boyle for reinventing the wheel, as if squats were popular anyway...

JK1
12-06-2009, 10:37 AM
The problem is how many strength coaches actually teach their pupils the CORRECT way to squat? From the ones I know, not very many at all. (Its the same way with the bench press, but thats a whole different argument). If a coach is trying to train his athletes incorrectly, he's going to see less than stellar results.

The other thing to consider is the population of individuals who's being trained. All athletes need to improve their strength, but face it, a powerlifter is not an olympic lifter is not a football player is not a baseball player is not a hockeyplayer. A good coach is going to develop a training system that maximizes the strengths of his athletes for the sport at hand and from there is going to individualize that program for the individual strengths and weaknesses of the individual athletes. Unilateral training has its benefits, but the biggest problem is its going to set an athlete up for injury if there is a major strength difference from one side to the other. He's also pretty much ignoring the unilateral advantage phenomenon (as was stated in the T-nation article) and other things with the way he's presenting his information.

Bottom line? He's more or less stating an opinion. Opinions are like *******s, they are generally little things that everyone has that at some point every day are generally full of ****. I don't really care, he's not my strength coach and he doesn't own my gym. We've all seen the article and online discussion about the journal article that came out recently that suggested that the use of resistance bands will improve your bench press. WOW now thats a revelation.

JK1
12-06-2009, 10:40 AM
I'll agree that most beginners lack the lower back strength to squat. That doesn't mean the squat should be avoided. It means the lower back must be strengthened. I'd be very curious how much lower back training he does with athletes and how many lower back injuries they get. He sounds like one of those guys that'll have his athletes do tons of ab training, no lower back training, then wonder why the athletes get injured.

Is it lower back strength or is it general balance? I've wondered this for a while. You have beginners with relatively strong lower back strength demonstrated by deadlifts/stiff deadlifts, etc, but still aren't good squatters. Squatting is somewhat weird to me becuase its a "natural" movement, but it really seems as if there is a fundamental degree of balance that has to be acquired before someone becomes a good squatter.

nickp8
12-06-2009, 11:07 AM
As an athlete myself playing football up to and currently at a high level I can definately say that full back squats gave me more on the field than any other type of squat. I have trained at some of the best places for football players to train in the country (Parisi's and Defranco's) and like I said out of all the different types of squats nothing was better than the normal back squat. So take it for what it's worth I squat and am still a high level athlete that gets more out of squats than anything else. As far as people not having strong enough lower backs or balance issues or whatever else it may be, everyone starts somewhere but you need to do it you can't work around it.

JPanella
12-06-2009, 11:38 AM
I could see having an athlete do lots of Goodmorning and the leg work he has talked about. I don't see how the squat is an end all exericise, but i am not sure if abandoning it completely is more of a like was said above, just trying to differentiate yoruself from the crowd for the single purpose of differentiating yourself from the crowd.

chris mason
12-06-2009, 11:51 AM
You can train without the squat (and get big and strong, or just strong etc.), but it really doesn't make sense for the aforementioned efficiency factor.

Hazerboy
12-06-2009, 01:50 PM
Well, I have no idea who Mike Boyle is, but he looks like just another guy who doesn't squat telling me not to squat. It's clear what squatting has done for my body and strength, I'll never not squat, ever, no matter what any "expert" says.

You're not his target audience. In fact, almost none of us here are -- he was speaking to athletes specifically looking to get better at their sport the fastest with the lowest risk.

To some extent, I agree with him. I think the squat is a great exercise but about everyone here has this mentality that if you don't squat, you're wasting your time. I was having a conversation with a kid on our track team abuot this (mind you, this is a kid whose around 189 and benches 345, squats 400+, and deadlifts 500+. I've seen it. He's mostly an olympic weightlifter though). He quotes LSU's combine they hold for the track team every year, where they test your 100M, 400M times, long jump, etc. and use things like your squat, your bench, verticle leap, etc. as "predictors." You know what was the number one predictor of your 400 M time was? Keep in mind they were able to get within tenths of a second of the actual time. It was your standing overhead medicine ball throw (for distance I believe). Not your squat or even your best power clean.

Now, I was always under the impression that the single best way to increase your speed/power/athletic performance or whatever, in the weight room (that is, besides just playing your sport!) is to increase your relative body weight to strength ratio - maximal effort development. Increase your squat/deadlift/bench numbers relative to your body weight,a nd everything else will follow.

Of course there is a law of diminishing returns on this. Once your squatting 3x your bodyweight or whatever, adding another 20 lbs isn't going to help your 40 time. But he was able to name NUMEROUS world record and olympic record holders with straight up AWFUL squat numbers, guys running world record times who could not squat more than 300 lbs at around 180.

So I can see where this guy is coming from. The squat is great, but following the philosophy of "everyone should squat, all the time, no matter the circumstance, its the only method to get you faster" is just narrow minded. There's more than one way to skin a cat, and if this guy believes squatting isn't in his repertoire, so be it.

that being said, I would still have my athletes squat XD

brdclck
12-06-2009, 02:44 PM
What a bunch of crap. Just another gimmick to be provacative so as to
SELL SOMETHING. You notice these kind of guys are NEVER at a big time
organization position: college, pro, olympic, etc. Always a free-lancer.


While I agree that the way he highlights this particular point in promotion for his DVD is a bit of sensationalist marketing, he is still one of the most reputable names in the field.

I can understand both sides of the argument. I can't think of many sports that would require an athlete to have a 500 lb back squat in order to be successful. Despite squatting religiously myself (a shock on the PL/Oly forum), I don't subscribe to the T-Nation-esque "squat or you're a pussy" mentality. However, as has been mentioned before, I think that the experience of grinding out a brutal 3RM squat can build immense mental toughness.

Then again, the fact that squatting works is pretty indisputable. There are many strength coaches who employ them and get great results. Joe Defranco, for example, has obviously had great success. That being said, the form shown in some of his videos can be a little cringe-worthy, and I'm not sure I'd let an 'expensive' athlete be push him/herself at the expense of form.

The bottom line is that not everyone is made to squat. Mike has a bias from training a lot of ****ed up hockey players, and thus, has gone to the extreme on this point. Contraindicating the exercise instead of the athlete is very short-sighted, but I understand that it comes down to risk vs. reward with these valuable athletes.

Time to go squat!

vdizenzo
12-06-2009, 03:27 PM
I could care less what Boyle says, unless he starts talking smack about benching. Then there will be a problem.

robchris
12-06-2009, 08:06 PM
Hmmm... Interesting vid. I'm glad fuzzy posted!

Hey, the guys entitled to his opinion... As for us PL'ers, "Sqaut & DL heavy or go home!"
RC

RhodeHouse
12-08-2009, 01:18 PM
He's a dumb$hit. If anyone listens to this, you should really consider taking up a different hobby. He's a joke.

His kids can't squat because he can't teach it. That's why he has to come up with BS about why squatting isn't a lower body exercise, it's a low back exercise.

He's all that is wrong with the Strength and Conditioning field. It makes me sick that people actually listen to this and will stop squatting.

joey54
12-08-2009, 07:59 PM
He's a dumb$hit. If anyone listens to this, you should really consider taking up a different hobby. He's a joke.

His kids can't squat because he can't teach it. That's why he has to come up with BS about why squatting isn't a lower body exercise, it's a low back exercise.

He's all that is wrong with the Strength and Conditioning field. It makes me sick that people actually listen to this and will stop squatting.

Welcome back Matt.

joey54
12-08-2009, 08:00 PM
I could care less what Boyle says, unless he starts talking smack about benching. Then there will be a problem.

This is the exact answer I expected. Nice!

KarstenDD
12-08-2009, 08:29 PM
Mike Boyle can get ****ed.

skinny99
12-08-2009, 11:48 PM
See ya later! I will be the one squatting!

BodyByGamma
12-09-2009, 01:33 AM
He's a dumb$hit. If anyone listens to this, you should really consider taking up a different hobby. He's a joke.

His kids can't squat because he can't teach it. That's why he has to come up with BS about why squatting isn't a lower body exercise, it's a low back exercise.

He's all that is wrong with the Strength and Conditioning field. It makes me sick that people actually listen to this and will stop squatting.

Great post!

On a side note Squats cure cancer.

hairyback40k
12-09-2009, 04:49 AM
His atheletes could do 1 legs squats with 115lbs for 15 but not even 5 with 235.. how does that work exactly?

You use less muscle to do a 1 leg squat, mostly your butt and quads. Is that going to be useful for functional strength, or do you think MAYBE you want to work your hamstrings and torso as well?

intargc
12-09-2009, 11:18 AM
His atheletes could do 1 legs squats with 115lbs for 15 but not even 5 with 235.. how does that work exactly?

You use less muscle to do a 1 leg squat, mostly your butt and quads. Is that going to be useful for functional strength, or do you think MAYBE you want to work your hamstrings and torso as well?

He was saying that the lower back was the limiting factor in a squat. By reducing the load on the back, the legs were able to press more weight.

Think of it as a three part support system. (warning, this is a very loose example):

If you have two poles that can handle 200 lbs each. Then a pole attached to them at the top that can handle 200 lbs. How much weight can you put at the top of those poles before it fails? 200 lbs. Even though the two poles below can handle 400 lbs combined. The top pole is the limiting factor. So you're distributing only 200 lbs.

Take one of the bottom poles out of the equation. How much weight can you put on top of those poles now? 200 lbs. However, now only 1 bottom pole is handling 200 lbs total while before it was handling only roughly ~100lbs.

Also, he stated (or someone else in the article stated this) that when your body is focusing on a single limb as opposed to 2 limbs in a movement, more concentration and muscle fibers can be used to address that weight, which is 100% true. Therefore, you can increase the load on that single limb as well due to the added focused recruitment the body provides.

Boyle was talking about for athletes, not body builders or even power lifters. In the TMuscle article, you get a much more fair overview of the squat, in my opinion. The squat is not the end all, be all of leg exercises. You can have a very successful bodybuilding career and not squat a day in your life. It makes A LOT of sense for some people to not squat at all due to injuries or genetic issues. It makes A LOT of sense to have some people base their entire routine around the squat. However, it's not 100% necessary in all cases for all people. That's all...

Travis Bell
12-09-2009, 11:33 AM
It's even more stupid reasoning for athletes lol.

Go ahead and cut lower back training out of the squat and see what happens. Athletes must train their lower back.

I really disagree also that you're better able to focus on the muscle if you use one leg.

The truth is that you'll end up focusing more on balance rather than squatting.

Squat on both feet = legs grow and you get stronger.

It's really not as over complicated as he's making it.

mchicia1
12-09-2009, 01:11 PM
Ill semi-agree with him on the first point he makes. He claims its a low back exercise and not a leg exercise. Obviously, the squat is a full body exercise so I dont agree with him saying its just for the back.. However, typically it is my back that gives out before my legs when I am doing high volume.

Travis Bell
12-09-2009, 03:06 PM
Not to pick on you man, but that probably is an indicator that your lower back is the weak link in your squat

The other thing to consider though is that your hamstrings have a huge effect on your back/posture. So when your hammies are exhausted, your lower back is going to feel a lot more tired because it's trying to hold itself up, because your legs are less able to help.

Mike Pelosi
12-09-2009, 05:01 PM
I've thought about this for a while. When I found out about this I was with Matt Rhodes and he wasn't happy about it.

I agree with Boyle in the sense that the lower back can limit people but it's not the only limiting factor. In my experience as a trainer, a ton of people-I mean ton of people can't hold an arch in there lower back and it is usually the first thing that breaks down and it turns into a good morning. But is this abs, lower back, flexibility...

We have quite a few effecient boxers and muay thai boxers at our gym, some who have never squatted with a barbell before. However, because of such good flexibility and the insane amount of ab work they do, as well as general body weight exercises with light loads, they are pretty good with the squat naturally. BUT the lower back on them is still the first thing to round. Even "strong" people who are able to actively utilize the abs in the squat still lose it at the back or the pelvis comes forward. So Boyle does have some validity in saying that the lower back is a factor.

But he takes alot of his training from a mobility/pre-hab perspective because thats what he believes will get his clients proficient at there sport-not there lifts. And, again, he has alot of validity in programming like that. Athletes take a beating on the field, or ice, or whatever...and post season may not be time for adressing maximal strength...it's usually to recover, maintain or regain strength levels, and then get faster and more effecient. It's also time to treat injuries. And weighted squatting with a barbell may not be the best for these athletes. If he isn't going to go heavy with the back squats (which Boyle doesn't believe in regardless) then loading up a single leg squat will still be worth something in the grand scheme of things. Will it get you as strong as possible? No...but is that necessary to be good at sport...absolutely not.

I don't know how many of you remember the Ross Enamait thing a few months back where someone challenged him that he could not deadlift 500lbs (or in the high 4's). Ross doesn't deadlift or as far as I know do heavy barbell squats. But he pulled five or in the high 4's. And we can't say that he isn't good at his sport.

So to get strong, squatting is not necessary but to have a big squat-and I mean powerlifting/strength athlete big-you have to squat. Now, with all the ahtletes I train, I have them squat. It's a core principle at our gym and of my philosophy that you have to squat. But we don't have pro athletes or high level college athletes coming in and out of the door. We get a lot of blooming, younger athletes who I feeld need to squat to get stronger. But, if I had a pro athelte who was constantly beat up, I can't say that I'd have him barbell squat.

-Mike

vdizenzo
12-09-2009, 08:36 PM
I love angry Rhodes.

chris mason
12-09-2009, 08:50 PM
Ok, a point missed by many here is that this Boyle fellow talks about how his athletes can't even squat 235 (or something like that) for 5 reps...

What kind of athletes are these?

Basic hip, leg, and lower back strength is important to nearly ALL sports. Lol this strength coach has putzes that can't squat ****.

Mike Pelosi
12-09-2009, 09:06 PM
Angry Rhodes turns an amazing deep shade of red





The fact that his athletes can't squat 235 says something but if they are performing at the level there compettition desires (collectively speaking) then Boyle doesn't care and the question is, should he? Just to play devils advocate, is the squat the only way we can guage a strength a coach and what his or her athletes are made of. the main problem here is that squatting is something dear and mainstay to 99 percent of us so I think its tough to see beyond that and rightfully so because it works so damn good but there is always something a bit more. Boyle's got a good resume on his side and whatever he is doing works on some level.

mchicia1
12-09-2009, 09:18 PM
Not to pick on you man, but that probably is an indicator that your lower back is the weak link in your squat

The other thing to consider though is that your hamstrings have a huge effect on your back/posture. So when your hammies are exhausted, your lower back is going to feel a lot more tired because it's trying to hold itself up, because your legs are less able to help.

I rescind my comment...I thought it was a fluke, but last week with 350 my legs failed and my back felt like I didnt even squat. I thought it was just a good day. Then today with 355, same thing happened...legs failed and back felt extremely strong. I guess for all those months my back was just playing catch up.

SELK
12-09-2009, 10:07 PM
I don't know how many of you remember the Ross Enamait thing a few months back where someone challenged him that he could not deadlift 500lbs (or in the high 4's). Ross doesn't deadlift or as far as I know do heavy barbell squats. But he pulled five or in the high 4's. And we can't say that he isn't good at his sport.


Was 405.

MarcusWild
12-09-2009, 11:31 PM
I'd love to see a NHL or NFL player (not counting kickers or punters) that can't squat 235 for some reps. Maybe he's talking about the golfers he trains...

C-Sobrino
12-10-2009, 06:26 AM
Well he said he was talking about his freshman class. These are 17 and 18 year old kids. With the state of physical education and activity today I know a lot of kids at that age who can't squat 235 for 5. But I do think from a general standpoint, he's confusing chemotherapy with cancer.

AdamBAG
12-10-2009, 07:53 AM
The guy is just trying to make a name for himself. The S&C field is full of guys trying to make their name. I'm sure most teams at the college and pro level are squatting.

For example, look at the places that athletes pay to train in order to get ready for things like the NFL combine. For example, Joe Defranco's gym or the Performance Training Center. They squat.

Top level athletes squat. I'm sure everyone remembers the Kobe Bryant commercial where he is squatting with chains.

A buddy of mine is in the S&C field and he believes most of the lifting is pretty basic. He says that the really good coaches are the ones that know how to manage lifting work, running work, rehab work, and position specific drills. Doing this type of thing during the season is even tougher. When he was with an NFL team the main thing in season is just trying not to get anybody hurt.

I guess my point is that this is one guy. A majority of the good coaches and teams are squatting. Why? Because it works.

chris mason
12-10-2009, 09:14 AM
Angry Rhodes turns an amazing deep shade of red





The fact that his athletes can't squat 235 says something but if they are performing at the level there compettition desires (collectively speaking) then Boyle doesn't care and the question is, should he? Just to play devils advocate, is the squat the only way we can guage a strength a coach and what his or her athletes are made of. the main problem here is that squatting is something dear and mainstay to 99 percent of us so I think its tough to see beyond that and rightfully so because it works so damn good but there is always something a bit more. Boyle's got a good resume on his side and whatever he is doing works on some level.


Depending on the sport, absolutely!

I don't think you understand. Any college level athlete involved in any kind of sport that involves running for short distances or jumping should be able to squat more than that even if they NEVER train with the movement.

If someone cannot, they are fundamentally weak in the lower, hips, and legs.

If the athlete is performing at a certain level that weak, they would be MUCH better if they improve their strength.

Mike Pelosi
12-10-2009, 10:28 AM
I agree with you Chris, most elite level athletes can squat that if they are elite. It's a relatively light weight regardless of skill, size, bodyweight etc. However, in the bigger picture, (which is what I was speaking about), if a trainer doesn't have his clients do traditional squatting with a barbell and they are excelling at there sport to a mutual satisfactory level is it necessary to squat. Boyle obviously sees things a little differently.

As I stated before I have 99 percent of my clients and athletes squat because it works, it builds a ton of confidence, and it gives use the most amount in the least amount of time.

A lot of it comes down to what you suck at as well. Boyle's athletes obviously are not that strong and he acknowledges this. But what he doesn't acknowledge is that you need to be super strong in order to play your sport well and with that I completely agree. At some point your squat gets better and you don't. And for people with spinal issues the belt squat, single leg squats-everything that doesn't load the spine up is great.

I completely see where Boyle is coming from even though I (like you) fundamentally disagree. My time that was necessary out of the weight room when I hurt my back from a car accident made me realize alot of things.

-Mike

MarcusWild
12-10-2009, 11:53 AM
If he's talking about efficiency, wouldn't the squat more more efficient? If you train one leg at a time, then it takes twice as long. You have to do the 15 reps with each leg (30 reps total) vs just 15 reps on the squat.

JK1
12-10-2009, 12:21 PM
I love angry Rhodes.

Me too.