here to buy a Top Squat
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.
There are two Top Squats to choose from:
1) The Thick-Line Padded Top Squat (seen above), $119
This 18¾", 11-gauge heat-treated steel tube coated with dense polyurethane
is customized to press onto your 1 1/16th" bar. The plastic-coated tubular section
offers a densely padded 3-inch diameter support with an indented, centrally located
vertebra relief for weight distribution and shoulder comfort. Two solid steel
one-inch handles extend outward 16 inches at agreeable angles and with slight
end-curves for universal functionality. The unit is slick and rugged at 15 pounds.
2) The Metal-Line Top Squat, $99
This version of the TS is for the lifter who prefers plain pain and the feel
of the steel. It is unpadded 1¾" steel tubing, 9-guage and heat treated
with the same handle configuration. Only a thin rubber sheeting provides resistance
from unwelcome bar movement.
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
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
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
Voila, the Top Squat. 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 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 standard 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
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.
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
Zoom zoom... The Bomber... DD
here to buy a Top Squat
others have to say about the Draper Top Squat
Ken Leistner, Summer 2003
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
Ferrara, Defensive End of the New York Giants
6'3", 295 pounds, working hard under the Top Squat
tightness in my back -- a lot more quad involvement; I go futher
down and I feel like I have better control." Lon
Baldridge, Physical Therapist
can keep my balance very well as I just raise the handles as
I go down. I have not been able to squat for years and I love
the Top Squat.... Wow." George Boedecker
It's everything I'd hope it would be. Aside from providing
relief to aging shoulders and cuff irritations, it acts as
a lever to control movement -- with attention and mindfulness." Ken
gym members and I are very impressed with the Top Squat; it's
an incredible device! It's helped me to teach the squat to
numerous people who ordinarily would have difficulty due to
shoulder problems." Jim Caruso, Canyon Gym
training should have one. It doesn't matter whether you are
nursing a shoulder injury or not-it's the only way to squat.
Once it's set up the bar is centered permanently and there's
no messing about with hand spacing, etc., so it's a much safer
way to squat, too. I wish that Dave had dreamt it up years
ago." Mike Payne
comfortable. It did not even feel like there was a bar on my
back. Squatting was as easy as pie. Nothing to it. No balance
problems at all. No pain in my shoulders, back, neck or anywhere.
Unbelievable." Karen Orsi
real squats yesterday for the first time in a long spell, and
no shoulder interaction at all." Will Taylor
about a different feeling. It feels very much like a front
squat without all the pain. Since it's a high bar position,
the quads sure get a lot of work too." Sam
This thing is great! The Top Squat lets me get deeper in the
hole than I've been able to in a long time. I'm very happy
with the product. I think it will be a real winner." Casey
Squat Video Clip
recently did a short video to demonstrate the use of the Top Squat,
and to explain the purpose and benefits of the device. To download
the Quicktime video, right-click (or control-click
on a Mac) on the link below. Select "Save Target as"
to download the video to your desktop. Depending on your internet
connection, this may take several minutes to download.
MPEG-4 Draper Top Squat Video
those of you with DSL or cable modems, here's the expanded version,
a 6-minute video:
only difference between these files is the size of the QuickTime
video window; larger's better if you have broadband.
you don't have Quicktime or need an upgrade to run an MPEG-4 video,
you can download it free by
here to buy a Top Squat