Top Squat by Dave Draper
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The Top Squat was developed for the athlete who loves to squat, realizes the important role it plays in strength and muscle building and would like an alternative method for holding the bar in place across the back. Shoulder problems are no rarity among athletes, especially strength and muscle-building athletes, and securing the bar with outstretched arms can be distressing if not impossible. The Bomber Top Squat is a powerful apparatus which positions a pair of rugged handles sensibly in front of the shoulders for comfort, safety and control.
The concept of the Top Squat was conceived in my late 50s when I overloaded my upper back and shoulder cage while pursuing some aggressive squat and dead lift training.
Humbled and healing, I realized I could no longer squat as my shoulder rotation was limited by the painful and damaging injuries I sustained. Positioning my hands to control the bar or extending my arms the length of the bar for support was impossible.
That I could not squat cuz my shoulders were limited in range seemed unacceptable. If only I could balance the bar from a comfortable and powerful placement of the hands and arms before me, like two handles protruding from the front of the bar itself.
Hefty enough for gorillas and designed for all levels of fitness advancement, the unit makes squatting possible again when it once was retired to the heap of bittersweet memories.
Training without squatting is like lightning without thunder. The bright instantaneous dance of light is captivating, but you've got to feel the earth move under your feet and hear the great rumbling down the length of your back.
The action of the squat remains true. It is not altered unless you choose to for lower back safety, maximum thigh power or improved thigh recruitment.
Within a few sets of thoughtful squatting I think you'll agree the Top Squat builds strong legs while protecting the shoulders and back. If your shoulders are troublesome, you'll jump up and down like we do when we have a spectacular workout. If your shoulders are healthy, unimpaired and without pain, you must be young, invincible or new at the sport. Swell. The chances of you damaging your rotation cuff will be reduced considerably, as supporting the bar in the conventional manner while squatting is a tremendous stress on the vulnerable and overworked shoulder region.
Put squats back in your workouts and start climbing those once-impossible mountains again. Zoom zoom... The Bomber... DD
"All of my trainees found the Top Squat very easy to use, convenient and comfortable, even while using weights in excess of four hundred pounds. The handles made control of the bar a non-issue. For those with shoulder problems and an inability to externally rotate the arm, the Top Squat is an extremely useful piece of equipment."Dr. Ken Leistner
The Top Squat is as simple as squatting, agreeably not the easiest exercise in the lifter's repertoire, but possibly the most effective. You center the unit on your 1 1/16th" bar and press it into place. Secure the beast to the bar with the pair of nylon and Velcro safety straps provided and you're ready for action. After a few hardy workouts you'll probably forego the safety straps as the unit remains sufficiently in place by pressure.
Here is where the lifter does his thing, comfortably locating his or her body in relation to the apparatus. Stand close to the bar and grasp the handles near the curve and duck under the bar as is your customary approach. Maneuver yourself feet position, body erectness, shoulder-trap placement, etc and unrack the bar adequately loaded to achieve a groove but not to set any world records. To begin I find that the handles in a 45-degree downward position are just right for comfort and the functional upward rotation. Testing: one, two, three. Be attentive, be confident.
Once in position, balanced and solid, move the handles up and down to become familiar with their range, sureness and advantage. As you raise the handles (parallel or above) the bar will follow the Top Squat's rotation and position the bar backward for ultimate squatting efficiency and performance, AKA the powerful and perfect squat. The erectness of the back can be determined by the raising or lowering of the handles, an added attraction I had not foreseen in the inception of the Top Squat and have come to appreciate.