Mike Boyle’s RFESS (rear foot elevated split squat) has made some serious waves in the strength and conditioning community. I think that is important that he dares say no to back squat or front squat any more. My question now is with olympic lifts being bilateral, can the same be said with the back being a poor transducer (better stated as a coupling agent due to anatomical syntax) with cleans? If his guys were doing 300 pound front squats certainly 275 pound cleans would be a little bit risky, even if he is doing them with with a shallow catch. What can be said about his power numbers? Why are his hockey doing 225 for one leg for insane reps yet their verticals are not even close to being impressive? Certainly all of his hockey guys should be jumping 36 inches and have 10m bursts of 1.8? When the truth is the sport doesn’t have that same interaction that basketball and football have so that has to be taken into consideration, so you are not going to get the same caliber of athlete and hockey is a different beast. Still, where are the verticals to prove the superiority of the lift? If one leg is better than two why not drop the double leg plyos and test the case even more. The truth is the Death to the Squat is internet hype and way too much fuzzy math. This reminds me when everyone was following his 4 day split with knee and hip dominant leg days and linear and lateral speed days were done back to back. Then Jason Ferruggia, the prometheus of CNS training (coaches were doing it right 40 years earlier but Mike never picked it up in the book Training for Speed) enlightened him that perhaps you don’t want to do that much back to back and suggested a better split. Mike followed suit and the rest was history. Yet Jason doesn’t agree with the RFESS.
Furthermore, most single leg work is dangerous when done for low reps and will place far greater stress on your knees than the back squat will. A balls out, heavy triple on split squats is a hip flexor tear waiting to happen. A double on a step up seems a little risky to me. So out goes CNS stimulation and maximal strength work
So much for debate but I honestly think Mike can have his entire team use the RFESS and not miss a beat. With so much aspects he is including (being a well balanced program) he may not need a back squat. Plyos, great conditioning, and sound single leg strength things are good to go in hockey yet the name of the track game is maximum performance and back or front squats may be a necessary evil. With a good posterior core one should be fine on back squats and front squats.