With Squatober in full swing and debate raging within the strength and conditioning community about the merits, or otherwise, of such a programme (squat 6 days per week for the month of October maxing out at the end of the month), it seemed only fitting to write a blog post questioning whether we should even be squatting at all if our goal is to improve athletic performance.
The Argument Against Squatting
The biggest proponent of this argument is the legendary, and given this viewpoint unsurprisingly controversial, strength and conditioning coach Mike Boyle who states:
‘The concept of relying primarily on unilateral training for the lower body is based on one simple thought (we run and jump on one leg most of the time) and one not-so simple thought, something known as the bilateral strength deficit’ 
The Bilateral Strength Deficit
Let’s explore this statement further by beginning with the not-so simple thought, that is, the existence of a bilateral strength deficit. So what exactly is the bilateral strength deficit?
‘The bilateral limb deficit (BLD) phenomenon is the difference in maximal or near maximal force generating capacity of muscles when they are contracted alone or in combination with the contralateral muscles. A deficit occurs when the summed unilateral force is greater than the bilateral force.’ 
In layman’s terms, this statement is telling us that an athlete can, on one leg, squat more than half of what they can squat on two legs. Coach Boyle’s athletes are testament to this fact – every athlete he trains can do a rear-foot elevated split squat with significantly more than half of what they can back squat .
The exact mechanisms behind the bilateral strength deficit remain unclear despite numerous studies: some contend that it is a neural phenomenon, some that it is a issue of stability and others that it is due to the Read more