More about the Manta

The Swedish Murder Machine said:

how does the manta ray work out for you, other than it being fun? do you need to adjust your technique in any major way?

Fat and Skeptical said:

My gym has one of those gimmicks. I’ve never tried it. What’s the advantage?

Queersp said:

I kinda lump everybody who uses the manta ray and/or MaxiPad into the same category. Does it have an actual purpose (besides making you look like a girly man)?

All right, listen.  Here’s three things about the manta ray:

1. It makes the bar sit about 2 inches higher than it would when you do a high bar squat.  So if low bar squat is the most “good-morning”-ish, and high bar is a little more upright, then with manta ray your torso will be the most upright, sort of like a front squat.  Why would someone want this?  Well if you do high-bar squats and you like them, then you will also like the manta-ray, either for the variation, or to work on your form with a little less weight.  Like I can use about 30-40 lbs less than my best high bar squat with the manta ray, though I expect the gap to lessen.  If you are a dedicated low bar fanatic, well Louie Simmons also has his guys use it (for box squats but whatever).

2. It is more comfortable than squatting with the bar across your back/traps/rear delts.  A lot of reviews on Amazon stress this point.  I would argue that if this is the sole reason you bought the thing (unless you have some physical ailment) then you need to either toughen up, grow upper back musculature, or learn to squat correctly (or all three).  Seriously though, I do a lot of regular squats, and let’s face it, I don’t exactly enjoy getting under the bar for my 20th set of the day.  I have raw red abraded skin and/or callused strips across my upper back.  Yes, I deal with it, it’s fine.  But I look at the comfort factor as a pleasant side effect rather than the device’s raison d’être.

It is not like the so-called “puss-pad” (foam cylinder).  The puss-pad just lets you continue to place your small squat weight on your neck and pretend that everything is fine while at the same time making the bar more unstable.

However if you are a masochist, I can reassure you that there will be a new minor stabbing pain in your traps from the front overhang of the two flaps.  (Whatever, I’m not a technical writer).  Take your index finger and jab it annoyingly into the front of your traps.  That’s what it feels like.  Now my traps are red and scratched looking too.

3. It blasts and shocks your quads.  Yeah.  They’re sore for the first time in years.

Is there a carryover to regular squats?  Well I guess we’ll find out.


Manta Ray Squat: 45×4, 135×3, 225×2, 280, 320, 340, 355, 365, 375, 385; 290,295x1p, 300,305,310,315,320×1, 295×3

Partial Squat: #9 405, 495, 565, 600; #10 495, 545, 570

I know fatman would not approve, but I kind of hate partial squats because I picture everyone else thinking “He thinks he’s hot shit but he’s not even going close to parallel.  Show off.”

Light Stuff:

Military Press: 45×10, 95×5, 135×5, 145×5

DB Bench: 40,45,50,55 x 20+

Pushups: 1 set

Tri Pushdowns: 4 sets

Band Tri Pushdowns: 4 sets

Band Shoulder Pulls: 2 sets

Chinups or Pullups: 2 sets

DB Row: 50,60 x 10

RDL: 135×3, 205×2, 275×1, 345×1; 295×1,5

Today I just wasn’t feeling like heavy RDLs okay? this was the best I could do. leave me alone.

 

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3 thoughts on “More about the Manta

  1. “So if low bar squat is the most “good-morning”-ish, and high bar is a little more upright, then with manta ray your torso will be the most upright, sort of like a front squat.”

    Tried them out tonight and came to the very same conclusion. Like an extreme high bar squat. I normally set the bar on the top of my traps in a HB squat. With this thing the bar is level with the base of my neck and if I squatmorning even slightly I feel like it’ll throw me all the way forward.

    “It is more comfortable than squatting with the bar across your back/traps/rear delts.”

    This I do not agree with at all. Basically the bar is sitting atop a piece of plastic perched on top of your traps. Dunno if it depends on the model, but more comfortable isn’t what I’d call it.

    “I picture everyone else thinking “He thinks he’s hot shit but he’s not even going close to parallel. Show off.””

    They’re probably more like “whoa, that guy’s going so deep bro, and so much weight”.

  2. Affirmative on RDL’s. Been doing those a lot lately. Need ’em even more, but still…

    Also, I’d imagine you’d only really get much carry-over to your normal squatting if your quads were your weak point. Which I supposed is entirely possible with you. (Not for me. My quads being too strong IS my weak point.)

    • my quads _are_ a weak point. but the main reason i train a lot of high bar squats because when i squatted low bar every day it made my back sore (though I did hit a 15 lb pr first). I work on the partials, box squats and bottom-position squats to stay in the low-bar groove. We’ll see what happens.

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