I couldn’t believe it! At age 32 I grew out to a 37” waist after spending most of my life struggling to maintain a 32” waist. I remember those only a few years more senior than myself espousing how the body changes as you grow older. I guess I underestimated their claims.
For most of my life I actually struggled to add mass at 5’11” -175 lbs. All of the sudden I found myself deeply embedded in the corporate world sitting at a desk. Sure enough my body did change. I first started to notice that my clothes began to not fit properly. Somewhat amazed by the transformation I jumped on a scale to try and quantify what was going on. I was shocked to find out I was at a not so healthy 198lbs! Gone were the days of scarffing down huge quantities of food without consequence. Apparently my body’s metabolism was not what it used to be and I knew that it was time to make an adjustment.
I began by adopting a rigorous cardio routine, 45 minutes of cardio four to five days a week. The pounds began to drop. Sure enough I got back down to 175 lbs. in 10 weeks. Encouraged by the progress I decided to get back into weight training. I began lifting 3 days a week and noticed modest progress in just a few of months.
While researching various exercises and routines I came across various articles about gaining extra muscle mass by incorporating squats on a regular basis. Being new to the world of squatting I had no idea what an intense workout it gives to your entire body and not just your legs. While I did adjust to the exercise rather well I found the shoulder region to be consistently sore afterwards despite using the typical barbell pad that you see lying around the squat rack.
I decided to look online to see if I could pick up some more advice on how to minimize the discomfort. I came across a review on Amazon.com raving about a barbell pad known as the Squat Sponge. At first glance I didn’t see what all the hype was about. After all isn’t a barbell pad a barbell pad? I was surprised to read on and discover that this pad was thicker and had a notch molded into the center of the pad that sat perfectly across the spine.
I thought it was worth a chance and decided to order one. Looking back it was one of the best online purchases I ever made! I now enjoy doing squats with almost none of the shoulder soreness afterwards.
I am pleased to announce that I am rapidly approaching my goal of adding 20 lbs of muscle while maintaining a 32” waist. I am currently 5’11” – 190 lbs. I would not have been able to make such gains without doing squats and would certainly not been able to do squats without my squat sponge!
By Arthur Bradley "Author of Process of Elimination"(Virginia) -I was a little worried about buying the Squat Sponge, because there are a limited number of reviews, and most of those reviewers only reviewed this product. Still, it was down to four choices: a towel - kept falling off and not very good padding, a conventional foam pad - not enough padding, the manta ray - a plastic clip on assembly that spreads the weight over your shoulders, and the Squat Sponge.
I did plenty of homework on the various products, and finally opted to go with the Squat Sponge. Now after having used it for about a month, I think I made the right decision. The sponge is made of a soft dense foam, it easily slips around the bar, and is contoured to fit your neck. It definitely helps to make squats less painful. The only improvement I could suggest is that they make the sponge to fit the bar more snugly. As it fits now, it easily rolls around on the bar. It's not a big deal, since once you're in position, your weight presses it firmly against the bar - just an observation for their 2nd version should it ever be made.
Overall, the $40 seemed a bit high for the product. But it is comfortable and well made. So if you think $40 is worth paying to remove some of the upper neck/back pain from squats, I'd say get it.
Written by Arthur Bradley, author of "Process of Elimination" - a novel that pits a martial artist against a world-class sniper.
By G. Palmieri "Rhino Joe"(IE, California)I am a personal trainer, and am using the Squat Sponge myself and with my clients. It gets the bar in the right position and keeps it there, comfortably. I finally like doing squats again! I have to admit, after having tried other pads, I was not expecting a lot from the Squat Sponge, but thankfully, I was very pleasantly surprised. Get one! Your squats will never be the same!
By Stevie Squats-This by far the best product I used for squats. Other products I used do not even have half the cushion. Well worth the money, I also use this when going heavy on benching and military press to reduce the impact coming down.
By Clara Jennings-This is a remarkable product I love it. After mysecond child it was time to get back in to shape, easier said than done. Squats was a challenge for me, it felt like the bar was biting into my neck even with a barbell pad. However, with the squat sponge I feel the weight but the bit. Now my butt is perky andthighs are toned.
By C. Lynch II "Chelsea FC Fan"(Long Beach,CA) -I avoided doing my legs because the bar hurt my shoulders. I tried using my workout towel and it did little to help. But the Squat Sponge makes Squats comfortable allowing me to concentrate on my form and the workout at at hand. Go ahead and spend the $40, you'll own this thing forever and it will be worth it!
By S. Ali(Los Angeles, CA USA) -Very comfortable when loaded and the neck grove give you the feedback of the bar placement during the squating movement. Plus, this design lends itself well to use with other exercises. We've used the Squat Sponge with "Zercher" squats, lunges with the bar, even to help younger athletes with their benching technique.
By W. DeBardeleben-So far the squat sponge has been great. It easily covers my shoulders and is much thicker than any other barbell pad I could find on Amazon. It is a little pricey compared to other pads, but if squatting is a regular part of your exercise it's well worth it.
By Ross E. Benjamin-The squat sponge solved my squat barbell support problems. When I started weightlifting the barbell dug into my shoulder blades and protruding spine. I eliminated squats altogether, but then my knees started to hurt doing leg extensions and I needed to find a way to work my quadriceps. I decided to try squatting again, using two towels wrapped around the bar, and that worked for awhile. However, once I started lifting heavier weights I could not get the towels to equally distribute the weight on my shoulders and I was afraid of hurting my back. I decided to buy the more expensive squat sponge, after visiting the website and seeing the design. The Squat sponge has been the best thing for my squatting! The barbell is always evenly distributed on my shoulders and the recessed neck foam provides so much comfort I never feel pain in my neck! Best product I could have bought and I would recommend this product to anyone.
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