Back Squatting Considerations for Pitchers

Should Pitchers Back Squat?

If you have been following my blog for some time you know that I am a huge advocate of compound lifts. The back squat is the king of all lower body lifts and is one of the best overall lifts an athlete can do. It is the ultimate measure of lower body strength and also mental toughness. The lower body is critical in baseball because you cannot achieve maximum performance without a strong and powerful lower half.

With that said, as much as I love back squats, I caution on the side of error when it comes to implementing it with advanced baseball players. I don’t see an issue with back squats for high school pitchers unless they have suffered from an elbow or shoulder injury. Most college and pro athletes are either at risk or have suffered from shoulder and elbow injuries and need to consider the risk vs. reward of back squats. Check out this study on shoulder injuries in experience baseball pitchers. The risk is that back squats force your shoulders into external rotation which can compound already existing shoulder problems. Strength training should help prevent muscular imbalances and bullet proof your body from injury.

What should advanced pitchers do?

The best solution is substituting a straight barbell for a safety squat bar or a cambered bar. The safety squat bar is the BEST option because it eliminates the problem all together. Using a cambered bar is also a good alternative. By using these bars you can still use the squat as a primary lift and still train it heavy.


If you don’t have access to a safety squat bar or a cambered bar you have a couple options. Goblet squats with a kettlebell or dumbbell is an alternative. Double kettlebell squats are another alternative that I like and they are much harder than goblet squats. While these exercises will not build the same strength as a barbell squat, they are still excellent assistance exercises and can be used when back squats are no longer an option. Sandbag squats are a variation of the squat that can be utilized instead of a barbell squat. It is especially good during the preseason phase as it translates weight room strength into sport specific strength. Please note that regardless of what type of squats your doing, unilateral leg training is imperative to pitchers.




Remember that the number one goal for all athletes is performance and health. If you aren’t healthy you cannot excel at your sport, it’s as simple as that. What you do in the gym should help you achieve maximum performance and help you bullet proof your body from injuries. These are the questions pitchers should consider when it comes to the back squat

  • Why you are doing a specific exercise.
  • Is the risk vs. the reward?
  • Are you training smart or just doing an exercise to do it?


Tags: , , , , , , ,

Leave A Reply (No comments so far)