Manta Ray?

Does anyone know if it’s good to use a Manta Ray for squats? Now that I am lean the bar like rubs against my vertebrae, and it hurts. Squatting is bad enough as it is! Will it help or ruin my form? A guy at my gym has one, and he squats a lot, but I don’t know if it’s related to the Manta Ray. Thanks!

Sometimes we forget that squats aren’t about putting our backs through pain and ripping the skin.

I definitely recommend a manta ray. It will help alot and you’ll really be able to just concentrate on the weight. Your form should actually improve and your poundages will soar.

damn, I just convinced myself. I think I’ll have to buy one of my own (I used one about a year ago for a while but it was a good buddy’s)

Princess, if it takes a Manta Ray to keep you in the squat cage, then by all means utilize it. They are an effective assistance to many, and have no bearing on how much weight one uses or your form, so feel free to be comfortable. I’d much rather see you squatting with a Manta Ray than not squatting whatsoever. The Manta Ray works very well.

OK, I am a little confused as to whether you guys are really trying to help me, or just like to see girls doing squats!!! I would never stop squatting, so it isnt like the Manta Ray is going to change my leg workout, but I think I need help with my form on deep squats. I am hoping the Manta Ray would help me stay in an upright position, or at least allow me focus all my concentration on form. I need to reread the Dave Tate article about squatting technique in the paper TMag, that should help me too.

Try not to use the Manta Ray. Try to get stronger in the traps and be comfortable with the bar up there. Raising the bar up (which the Manta Ray) is not ideal.

Yes, it’s better than not squatting. But if you do some incline shrugs you can build some trapezius muscle without getting that “block on the shoulders” look that is not very womanly.


do deadlifts

Have you tried it? Ask the guy at the gym if you can borrow his for a couple of sets and see if you like it. I had the same problem when I first started out, and I borrowed a friends, but it felt too unstable to me, so I never bought one. Instead I wore a thick sweatshirt with chalk across my upper shoulders, place the bar just below that lowest vertebrae bump and hold it against you like you are trying to bend the BB ends in towards you. you may have to bring your grip in a little to create a “shelf” to rest the bar on. You don’t have to do all of these methods any one may be enough for you to tolerate. Good luck!

I use a Manta Ray every time I squat, but mostly because I got used to it from my “bonier” days. As for bar placement, it should rest in the groove at the back of the shoulders when your hands are in the squatting position. If the bar is resting on vertebra, then you may have the bar too high. A Mant Ray will help with that, but you can still hold the bar too high with it. The biggest advantage of the Manta Ray is that it distributes the load over a larger area, increasing comfort somewhat. A Girl’s advice of trying it out first is well said. While this topic is being discussed, here’s another one to throw in: Have any of you tried the Sting Ray (for front squats)? Supposedly the same concept, but looks a little less thought out. Any input?

The Manta Ray does distribute the weight of the bar more evenly. It can however leave those pesky ‘strawberry’ marks along the top of the shoulders if I don’t put a towel under it or wear a fairly heavy sweatshirt.

I like that the Manta Ray makes it easier for me to control the bar. I’m often alone in the gym when I work out so added control is a big plus. A couple of times in regular squats I’ve had the bar start rolling down my back and had my arms and shoulders forced back before I could rack the weight. (Definitely not a good thing.)

Note that you will carry the bar higher when using a Manta Ray. This shifts your center of gravity a bit. As a result squatting with a Manta Ray feels rather awkward for several training sessions until you adjust to this. And if you stop using it, then you have a similar adjustment period.

Bottom line - I found it to be a worthwhile investment.

My traps are pretty big so the manta ray is a little uncomfortable for me. I only use it when i go really narrow and want to use a high bar position. When i go heavy the manta ray likes to move around on my back.

i’ve used the manta ray for about 3 years, and wouldn’t squat w/o it. i have a slight kyphosis and the bar alone kills my vertebrae even though i’m not particularly lean.
with the manta ray, i’m not so focused on the pain in my neck, and it helped my squat form, which was all over the place, but rarely correct.
i agree: ask dude at the gym to borrow his. if that’s not possible, advanced fitness has a money-back guarantee if you’re unhappy with it after a certain amount of time (30 days i believe).
go for it!

I bought one but only used it a few times. Sometimes its handy, I dont miss the money i spent on it. But if you’re really going heavy, you probably want the bar lower on your back.

Now I am just getting more and more confused by the stupid Manta Ray! I have well developed traps relative to the rest of my body, but my vertebrae come into contact with the bar. My main intent is to increase my squat going deep, and along with the pain in my neck, I have a problem keeping my torso upright. Will the Manta Ray help this, or will changing the bar position do anything? I guess I should be optimistic, and plan on needing the Manta Ray when my squat doubles, once I stop dieting. I will ask my freind to use the Manta Ray, but we do legs on different days. I have never seen anyone actually have the Sting Ray, but on a related note, why can I deep squat more with the front squat, than the back squat???


You probably don’t need a manta-ray.
Make sure you are keeping your head back (chin up) when you are squatting. This has the effect of not only keeping the chest upright, but also drawing the vertebrae below the surface of the traps so that the traps can make initial contact with the weight of the bar.

Thanks Joe. I did squats yesterday, and my vertebrae really hurt, and I made sure to keep my head up. I think I am just too lean at this point or something, to have the bar in a comfy spot.