T Nation

Sting Ray & Straps (2 Questions)

Firstly, has / does anyone here use a stingray for squatting? I don’t currently but the suppliment store near me has them and in theory they sound great, but I thought I’d double check.

Secondly, I was wondering about starting using straps for deadlifting / pullups as my grip strength is weak as hell, and I have small hands so hook-gripping is hard to do. Is there any major down side to this that I’m unaware of?

I’m not planning on neglecting grip strength and will be working with grippers / rope exercises [see Waterbury’s current article] to bring it up to par. Its just I’d rather deadlift 500 then pull 300 and be unable to grip it, but have heaps left in my legs.

The sting ray is for front squats and in my mind is a solid investment along with the manta ray(back squats) and the top squat by Dave Draper. The thing about the manta I like is that it forces you to keep a more up right torso, the sting ray makes the front squat more comfortable through load distrubition and makes it less likely to lose the bar forward. Lastly the top squat is almost like a safety squat bar you can take anywhere and you can move it up and down the back and I love it for max efforts.

As for straps, I try not to use anything that might become a crutch(I also find them unconfortable). I will use the mix grip/chalk combo and this is good enough for me. I switch the hand spacing each set or when Im really hammering it, I will change them every rep. I hear that those new hooks are pretty good though, the ones that face toward the hands and not the ones that are inside the bar.

Don’t know about the Stingray as I’ve never used one.

I use straps for a couple of exercises - deads and shrugs. Like you, I have fairly small hands and a relatively weak grip. My grip has been coming up nicely and I don’t use straps unless I’m working with weight that I can’t hold otherwise. So the first couple of sets are often without straps and I switch to them when my grip fails.

Using straps also lets me concentrate on form and not on whether my grip is going to last another rep. And if you don’t wrap the straps too tightly, you can still let your grip do most of the work.

I’m simply not willing to let my grip limit my lifts. I’m not a powerlifter and as long as I continue to develop my grip, I don’t particularly care whether I have to use straps to go heavy.

[quote]waltny wrote:
The sting ray is for front squats and in my mind is a solid investment along with the manta ray(back squats) and the top squat by Dave Draper. The thing about the manta I like is that it forces you to keep a more up right torso, the sting ray makes the front squat more comfortable through load distrubition and makes it less likely to lose the bar forward. Lastly the top squat is almost like a safety squat bar you can take anywhere and you can move it up and down the back and I love it for max efforts.

As for straps, I try not to use anything that might become a crutch(I also find them unconfortable). I will use the mix grip/chalk combo and this is good enough for me. I switch the hand spacing each set or when Im really hammering it, I will change them every rep. I hear that those new hooks are pretty good though, the ones that face toward the hands and not the ones that are inside the bar.[/quote]

Sorry, I actually meant Manta Ray, thanks for distinguishing between them, and for a good review too.

As for the straps I’ve never used them before for the same reasons you mention, but I’ve noticed of late that my legs feel like I’m just warming up and I’m at a point where i can barely grip the bar [even with mixed grip switching it up every set] - That said I’ve always had really strong legs, and a weak grip. I might try switching grip every rep, see how that goes.

I wish I would have known about the Sting Ray and Manta Ray sooner, I dropped 135lbs on my arm (trying to catch the weights with my arm)doing front squats last week. The Manta Ray would save that little part of the spine the bar rests on and irritates everytime I do squats. Do you have to order them online? If so is there a link??

I use both for clients. The Manta Ray requires that you use a round bar. A hexagonal type bar won’t fit in it. The Sting Ray definately makes front squats more comfortable for beginners. They were both worthwhile purchases. As far as straps go, if you’re doing MMA Powerlifting, or anything where grip is an issue then I wouldn’t use them. Otherwise, I think straps have their place. I occasionally use them. My favorite are called Power Grips.

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You mentioned that you ment manta ray not sting ray, if that is the case it is very usefull if you want to do specific work with the bar higher so that it leans over more so. The straps I would really not use in Dead Lifting ifyou keep pounding your grib will get stronger, also I don’t know who told you to change your grip every set or what ever don’t…

Get your grip as comfortable as you can and always use that you will get used to it and get stronger. Also squeeze the shit out of the bar alot of times when people say they have week grip is because they just hold the bar and it rolls or forces all the weight on your fingers squeeze it hard and your grip will also start to improve.

Thanks for all the responses guys.

[quote]sob440 wrote:
The straps I would really not use in Dead Lifting ifyou keep pounding your grib will get stronger, also I don’t know who told you to change your grip every set or what ever don’t…[/quote]

I change my grip to stop from developing a major strength imbalance [like almost everyone I know of, I use a mixed grip - 1 overhand, 1 underhand and changing which is over and which is under is the only way to stop ending up with massively unbalanced strengths].

[quote]WantAbs wrote:
The Manta Ray would save that little part of the spine the bar rests on and irritates everytime I do squats.[/quote]

Have you tried bringing your shoulders and traps up? Rest the bar on them, and not on the spine. I know exactly what you mean cos I had a nagging pain at the base of my neck until I figured out that traps are not just for foxes.

[quote]pushharder wrote:
I like the Top Squat for both front and back squats.[/quote]

That my friend is…
BRILLIANT!
I never though of using it for front squats, but in the back of my head I keep thinking how far out in the front your hands would be might make you rotate forward a little. Im not sure really, I left my topsquat back in states and wont get to train with it till around September, so I will definately try it then.

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[quote]pushharder wrote:
On front squats I grip the handles (“choke up”) closer to the bar for better stability. The net result is a superior way to do front squats, IMO, because the balancing act is much easier and I can focus on the squatting not on perching the bar on my front delts.[/quote]

It took me a good many weeks, but after mastering (I hope!) the O-style front squat, I can now concentrate on the weight, and not on the balancing.

I think it’s worth investing the time in learning how to do it correctly, rather than using a gizmo as a crutch.