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.