A Comparison of the Effects of a Six-Week Traditional Squat and Suspended Load Squat Program in Collegiate Baseball Players on Measures of Athletic Performance

Samuel P. Thielen, Bryan K. Christensen, Colin W. Bond, Kyle J. Hackney, Jeremiah T. Moen


Background: Acute studies suggest that resistance training with an unstable load suspended from the barbell increases core muscle activation with negligible detrimental effects on phasic muscle activation and force production compared to traditional barbell loading, but the effect of a suspended load program on athletic performance is unclear. Objective: The purpose of this study was to assess the effect of a six-week program where the back-squat was performed with a suspended load (SL) on vertical jump (VJ), change of direction ability (COD), single-leg balance, and one repetition maximum squat load (1RM). Methods: Thirty-two collegiate baseball players (20.4 ± 1.4 y, 86.0 ± 11.0 kg, 1.82 ± .065 m) were assigned to perform the back-squat with SL or traditional loading (CON). Additional exercises were done with traditional loading. Athletes completed VJ, T-tests to measure COD, star excursion balance test (SEBT) to measure single-leg balance, and 1RM PRE and POST program. A MANOVA was used to assess the dependent variables. Significance was set to p < .05. Results: Effect of group × time (p = .152) and group (p = .095) were not significant, indicating CON and SL had similar performance. Effect of time (p < .0001) was significant, suggesting POST performance improved relative to PRE. When groups were pooled, 1RM (p < .0001) and T-test (p = .038) improved, but VJ (p = .255) and SEBT (p = .167) did not improve. Conclusion: Performing squats with SL does not appear to be detrimental to development during a six-week program.


Resistance Training; Athletes; Baseball; Exercise; Muscle Strength; Athletic Performance

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7575/aiac.ijkss.v.8n.4p51


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