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Old 01-29-2008, 05:30 PM   #1
del brinson
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manta ray thin for squats

I know i'm gonna take a beating on this, but has anyone tried the plastic ''manta ray'' thingie for squats?
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Old 01-29-2008, 06:01 PM   #2
Christian Salas
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Re: manta ray thin for squats

Yes I have. It's ok, but personally I've found squating to be just as comfortable without it. I don't really see the point. But I think I have relatively flexible shoulders and thick traps, both of which alleviate the need for a device like this.
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Old 01-29-2008, 06:23 PM   #3
Franklin Shogie
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Re: manta ray thin for squats

I have inflexible shoulders and ectomorph traps...

following Coach Rip's protocol in Starting Strength I have found that I have no need for "manta ray" or bar sponges.
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Old 01-29-2008, 07:26 PM   #4
Paul LaDuke
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Re: manta ray thin for squats

I have some Manta Rays and a few bar pads for squatting in our HS weightroom that I coach at. I put them on the bar just to see how it feels and immediately didn't like it personally. I have rather thick traps and the Manta Ray didn't fit right at all. The Manta Ray raised the bar by about an inch or more which raises the center of gravity/center of mass of the lifter and bar thereby making the squat more difficult. Think of it as being a very high bar squat rather than a low bar squat. The bar pads that were purchased are even worse. Very few of my serious squatters use them. I do think the Manta Ray is a quality product and does pad the neck/traps from the bar, but if the bar isn't very painful, I wouldn't bother with one.
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Old 01-29-2008, 07:44 PM   #5
Chris Drewry
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Re: manta ray thin for squats

Originally Posted by Franklin Shogie View Post
I have inflexible shoulders and ectomorph traps...

following Coach Rip's protocol in Starting Strength I have found that I have no need for "manta ray" or bar sponges.

same here. Fantastic book.
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Old 01-29-2008, 09:38 PM   #6
Tim Donahey
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Re: manta ray thin for squats

Originally Posted by SS FAQ,

Question - Can I use a manta ray when squatting?

If you have had shoulder problems, the manta ray can be a pretty useful piece of equipment. It's use is certainly not advised unless absolutely necessary, because it lengthens the lever arm between the weight and the rotation point (i.e. the barbell and the hips), which can cause problems with the lower back. It can also "wobble around" atop the shoulders causing a load shift affect, which also can cause problems with the lower back.

However, if you are experienced enough with the weights to know you NEED a manta ray, then by all means, it is better to squat with one than to NOT squat without one.

If, however, you simply want to use a manta ray for comfort's sake, then don't bother squatting at all. The amount of pain tolerance from a hard, heavy set of squats will be too much for you if you can't take a little bar sitting across your shoulders. Perhaps you should take up a different hobby...knitting, for example.

Question - Can I use a safety squat bar or a buffalo bar while squatting?

Assuming you have had an injury of some sort, or you have shoulder joint flexibility problems for whatever reason, then absolutely. The buffalo bar and safety squat bar both are outstanding pieces of equipment, especially for the lifter who has had shoulder problems *raises hand and points to self*. They certainly can create a different training affect than squatting with a conventional bar setup, but the training affect can be quite beneficial, especially for those with shoulder injuries who cannot squat otherwise.

Understand, however, that the novice trainee should NOT choose these devices over the basic barbell back squat. Their use should be limited to those who have injuries and cannot perform a barbell squat.

EDITOR'S NOTE - Both the buffalo bar and the Safety Squat bar are used by knowledgeable powerlifters as assistance lifting devices. Obviously my statements do not apply to them, as they would have no reason to read a "novice training program description" for anything other than mild curiosity's sake.

Question - Can I use a back pad while squatting?


No. Don't use the "puss pad".

If your back hurts excessively while squatting, then chances are good you aren't flexing your upper back muscles sufficiently to "pad" your skeleton. When you grip the bar, you must keep your hands in toward the body as closely as possible while gripping the bar BEFORE you unrack the bar and start squatting.

In other words, get under the bar, bring your hands in as closely as possible along the bar, grip the bar with a thumbless grip, lift your elbows back and up, and step under the weight. By keeping your hands close and your elbows back and up, the muscles of your entire shoulder girdle, as well as your trapezius muscles, will all "bunch/hunch up", which will provide significant padding for the bar. Ensure the bar is kept in the "low bar position" at the lower-rear portion of your traps and rear deltoids, and you should be fine.

The main problem with the pad, in addition to making you look like a wuss, is that it tends to throw the center of gravity off. For an experienced trainee, this won't be a problem, they can compensate (and they probably wouldn't ask to use a pad anyway). For a novice trainee, this can be VERY detrimental to proper technique and balance development inherent in the learning process of the squat. So, all joking aside, the pad might help your upper shoulders "feel better" while squatting, but once you get to heavy weight, that little pad won't do jack squat, except for throw off your technique! If you have a shoulder injury, then the pad won't help at all. Look into using a Buffalo Bar, a Safety Squat Bar, or a Manta Ray
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Old 01-30-2008, 02:58 PM   #7
Kris Warner
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Re: manta ray thin for squats

My sister squatted 245 ATG at 110lb bw without one or a pad. I laugh at people when I see them use such devices.
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