vertical jump training

Manta Ray Squat Support Product Review

Written by Jack Woodrup for

The Manta Ray is one of the best value training aids you can buy. Let us explain why. For starters, lifting weights in an explosive manner can add loads of inches to just about anyone's vertical jump. One of the very best exercises for doing developing this explosive strength in your jumping muscles is the squat. Unfortunately many people avoid doing this great exercise for a number of reasons. The Manta Ray is such terrific value because it removes some of the biggest issues people have with squatting.

So Why Do People Still Not Squat?

Despite a proven track record of rapidly being able to develop an athletes muscular power and jumping capacity, squats are still the number one exercise that many people don?t like doing. It is after all a tough exercise to do that requires balance, flexibility, co-ordination and strength.

There are a number of reasons many people avoid doing squats but one of the more commonly cited ones is that the weight of the bar across your back and shoulders, even with padding, is quite frankly, pretty uncomfortable. On top of that, it seems to only get worse as the weights get heavier.

Another common problem is that there is a lot of confusion about where exactly you should be placing the bar across your back in the first place. Do you sit it high on your back near your neck (you absolutely shouldn?t by the way), or do you have it lower down?

Let Us Introduce the Manta Ray

The Manta Ray squat support is on the surface a pretty simple device. It is a piece of molded plastic in the shape of, well, a Manta Ray. It has a groovethrough the middle that clips onto the bar, and wings that spread out over your back and shoulders for support and stabilization. It is both incredibly simple to use, and highly effective.

To use it, you simply clip it onto the bar via a groverin the mold - see pictures. This puts the bar in an ideal position, and spreads the weight over a wider area across your back and shoulders thereby making the lift far more comfortable. Then you step underneath and rest it across your back.

Manta Ray squat support Manta Ray squat support

The company that manufactures the Manta Ray advertises the following benefits:

  • Your arms no longer have to support so much of the load to keep the bar from rolling off your back!
  • Finding the center of the bar on each set is no longer a problem. Once you center and snap it onto the bar you know your right in the middle, every set!
  • Repairing trauma from that shearing force crushing muscle and nerves against bone is no longer wasting part of your bodies limited ability to recuperate from a workout!
  • The bar no longer rests on the deltoids, or pulls the arms back. This eliminates much of the common squat related stress to the shoulder complex (which houses the injury prone Rotator Cuff Assembly)!
  • The MANTA RAY takes away that shearing pain in your neck so you can focus on the movement and watch your gains skyrocket!

Having used ours extensively we can attest that it does indeed do all of the above. If you aren?t doing squats for any reason, you are not only missing out on some seriously great gains in your vertical, but a whole host of other benefits - see squats and deadlifts.

More Manta Ray Training Advantages

Using it doesn't just have to be used for regular back squats. We find it to be absolutely perfect for doing other varieties of barbell exercises. For example, when using it you can add more weight to lunges and split squats.

Where it really comes into its own though is with barbell jump squats. This is one of the very best weighted exercises you can do for improving your vertical jump. However, it can also be a pain in the neck. Literally! The pain of bar bouncing up and down as you explode up and land has been known to turn quite a few trainers off this powerful exercise.

Using the Manta Ray makes this exercise infinitely more comfortable and safe as the spread out nature of the device makes it easier to control the barbell on your back throughout the jumping movement. Try it and you will be amazed with the results this has not only for this exercise, but also on your vertical.

Manta Ray Squat support in action


Given the amazing bang for your training buck that variations of squats, and in particular barbell jump squats, have on maximizing your vertical jump, it is absolutely in your best interests to find a way to get the most out of them. If for any reason you don't like squatting and aren't including them in your training, then you are missing out on a lot of potential gains.

Using the Manta Ray squat support will blow you away in how drastically this simple piece of molded plastic transforms the ability to perform this key exercise.

Look, we know we are speaking in rather gushing terms about this product. And we apologize for coming across as some sort of hyped up advertisement. But this product is very much at the top of the list as far as jump training aids go (along with the Lifeline Portable Power Jumper). The Manta Ray at only $39.95, for all the inches you will add to your jump by being able to really go hard on the squats, is flat out great value.

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