Squats – From Sublime to Ridiculous


Someone send me this last week: “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.” I think this is a sad commentary on the strength and conditioning community. What will it be next, I am not interested in creating controversy or getting in a pissing contest, but at least be consistent? Ten years ago it was the front squat that was it nothing but the front squat, now it is this. For me it is not about selling the latest DVD (I don’t have any- nor will I anytime soon) it is about educating. Regardless of the exercise there is no one way. A comprehensive strength training program includes squatting movements, pulling movements, pushing movements and bracing movements. Squatting is a fundamental human movement. Gait is fundamental to human movement. Gait occurs of off one foot onto to another foot that is my simple rationale for including single leg (Single leg squats) and reciprocal leg exercises (lunges and step-ups) in a good sound strength training program. This has been my rationale for years; it dictates the selection of lower extremity and total body exercise on my exercise menu. Resistance should progress from bodyweight to appropriate external load based on the chronological and training age of the athlete and the sport. This is not Strength Coach Version 4.159, it is just sound training methodology that I learned at UCSB in Dr. Button’s Foundations of Conditioning class in 1969. By the way one of the textbooks in that class was Pat O’Shea’s book Scientific Methods and Principles of Strength Fitness, a classic work everyone should read. Once again I implore all of you to get beyond the hype, marketing, bravado and THINK! Sound training methodology and best practice dictates that your exercise selection fit the demands of the sport and above all does no harm.
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Vern Gambetta

Vern Gambetta

Director at Gambetta Sports Training Systems
Vern is the Director of Gambetta Sports Training Systems. He has been the a conditioning coach for several MLS teams as well as the conditioning consultant to the US Men's World Cup Soccer team. Vern is the former Director of Conditioning for the Chicago White Sox and New York Mets. He has lectured and conducted clinics in Canada, Japan, Australia and Europe and has authored six books and over one hundred articles related to coaching and sport performance in a variety of sports. He has a BA in teaching with a coaching minor and an MA in Education with an emphasis in physical education from Stanford University.
Vern Gambetta


Athletic Development Coach & Consultant. Founder of GAIN Network. Proud dad. Love to read everything.
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Vern Gambetta

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