Squatting for strength has been a mainstay in programs for decades.
Squatting is a natural pattern and strengthens powerful muscles for human performance.
Back squats are the most popular, but are losing favor with some accomplished trainers.
The back squat is where the bar is placed on the shoulder behind the neck.
The front squat places the bar on the collar bones up front.
Mike Boyle wrote an article stating that he was not using back squat ever again, and the hardcore community had an uproar.
The point was that he was having injuries with the back squats despite strict form and the first rule is to do no harm.
The back squat allows for heavier weight, but at the risk of low back injury.
Journal articles have shown the front squat recruits as much muscle as the back squat.
The whole debate loses focus on the point of training. The goal is to increase performance without injuring the player by training movement patterns with resistance.
The squat is a knee dominant exercise, so any exercise that is knee dominant will work this pattern.
This means it is the variables, such as reps, sets and intensity, that determines the training effect; the actual exercise is the medium that these variables are expressed.
This opens the door to unlimited possibilities and thus allows for training to be more accessible.
People with back injuries can hold dumbbells in their hands opposed to back squats or even body weight single leg squats.
Boyle’s argument was reinforced by his use of single leg squats and the fact that he found people could squat more weight with less spinal stress.
Single leg squats allow for you to perform them with body weight, which allows you to perform them anywhere.
The Russian strength trainers knew this decades ago with step ups. Once their back squat got heavy they switched to heavy dumbbell steps ups to increase the resistance but reduce the spinal load.
Do not let the arguments of exercise selection cloud your programming, let the exercise be a means to an end and use the best for your situation.