You can choose from four different types of Slingshots depending on how much tension you desire. The Original Slingshot is my advice for most folks who wish to overload the bench press. When you use the ORIGINAL SLINGSHOT, you can expect to lift 10-15% more weight.
I’ll go over everything you need to know about getting started with the Slingshot in this guide. I’ll go over how much weight does slingshot add to bench, as well as the many varieties of slingshots and how to include them into your training.
What is the Function of a Slingshot in Bench Press?
Mark Bell, a powerlifter with a 545lb raw bench and an 854lb loaded bench, designed the Slingshot. He first designed it as a tool to help lifters safely and painlessly press more weight.
The slingshot is an upper-body gear that wraps around your elbows and allows you to bench press 10-15 percent more weight.
To put it another way, the Slingshot is an overloading tool. Unlike other bench press overloading methods, such as using boards, the Slingshot allows you to move the weight across the whole range of motion.
The Slingshot provides elastic stress on your chest as you lower the barbell during the bench press, allowing you to use more weight for the same amount of reps than you would ordinarily.
The Slingshot can also lessen the amount of stress on the shoulders and elbows while the bar is on your chest because the bar load is partially supported by elastic tension.
However, if you find that your shoulders and elbows get abused over the year, the Slingshot can be a wonderful tool to use to alleviate some of the joint-level stressors while benching.
The Slingshot and Muscle Activation
The slingshot was found to lower tricep muscle activation across all rep ranges in a study by Dugdale et al. (2019). This is due to the fact that the triceps do not exhaust as soon as the bench press.
The slingshot, in essence, is doing the work that the triceps would otherwise accomplish. So, technically, you should be able to do more reps before your triceps become fatigued.
However, training to fatigue is not always possible, so if you wanted to overload your triceps for your lock-out, you might use boards as a training tool.
The researchers determined that utilizing the Slingshot considerably boosted 1 rep max strength – participants were able to lift 17-24kg more than they could with their raw bench press.
This was due to participants’ ability to accelerate the bar through their natural sticking places. So, if you’re seeking to gain some practice managing higher weights, the Slingshot is a great option.
There isn’t enough research to say whether raising your 1 rep max Slingshot strength will lead to increased 1 rep max raw bench strength.
The Slingshot and Biomechanics
Another intriguing finding from the study was that using the Slingshot improved motor patterns.
The biomechanics of persons who used the Slingshot vs those who used a regular bench press were compared. They discovered that the Slingshot group’s elbow position was more mechanically favorable in driving the bar through the sticking spot.
Because the Slingshot requires you to tuck your elbows as you bring the bar to your chest, I believe this occurs. When performing the bench press, keep your elbows either squarely in line with the barbell or slightly in front of it. Back behind the bar, you don’t want your elbows flaring.
As a result, the Slingshot could be a useful external cue to ‘tuck the elbows,’ allowing lifters to practice the proper motor pattern.
The Slingshot and Muscle Hypertrophy
There is a link between volume and hypertrophy, according to study (muscle growth).
When compared to raw benchers, Niblock & Steele (2017) found that using the Slingshot in training allows individuals to complete a greater amount of volume with the same or more weight.
To put it another way, you can handle a same number of sets and reps with more weight, or you can use the same weight for more sets and reps.
If an athlete is able to handle more volume, greater hypertrophy adaptations may be possible. However, this link has yet to be confirmed with sufficient data, and more research is needed.
Slingshots come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
Original, Reactive, Full Boar, and Maddog are the four types of Slingshot.
The majority of the differences between these Slingshots are in the amount of strain you’ll feel while benching.
Slingshot from the beginning
The Original Slingshot sizing guide and current Amazon pricing may be found here. This is my first choice. The Original Slingshot is the best option if you have more than two years of bench press experience or can bench press more than 300 pounds.
The Original Slingshot is made for folks who want to lift 10-15% more weight than they can with their raw bench press. In your bench press workout, it will be an excellent overloading tool.
Because the bar path will feel similar to someone’s raw bench press, it will suit most individuals easily and won’t have a steep learning curve.
The Best Slingshot for Beginners is the Reactive Slingshot.
Rogue Fitness’ Reactive Slingshot sizing chart and current pricing can be found here. The Reactive Slingshot is best suited to novice lifters with less than two years of bench press expertise or a bench press of less than 300 pounds.
The Reactive Slingshot is a little more forgiving and adaptable. Because you’re not fighting as much tension as you bring the bar down, it’s easier to put on and use.
The majority of ladies would use this slingshot since it would give enough tension for any bench press under 300 pounds.
Slingshot for Big Arms: Full Boar Slingshot
Rogue Fitness has a full sizing guide and current pricing for the Full Boar.
The Full Boar Slingshot is for folks who are slightly heavier, have longer arms, or bench press more than 300 pounds.
It’s designed with a more ‘angled sleeve,’ which will be beneficial for folks with a wide range of motion or a lower touch on their chest (on or below the sternum).
The Full Board Slingshot also adds a little additional strain, with some lifters experiencing up to a 20% increase in overload.
The Benefits of Using a Slingshot For Bench Press
The following are six advantages to using the Slingshot:
- The Slingshot is a useful tool for overloading: The slingshot can be used to overload a lift, allowing you to lift more weight for the same or more reps. This allows you to gradually increase your workout volume.
- The Slingshot can help you mentally prepare for heavier loads: Before you bench press a weight for the first time, you get a chance to feel it in your hands.
- You can safely increase your bench press frequency with the Slingshot: If you wish to bench press multiple times per week, the Slingshot makes it easier by lowering joint stress.
- You can use the Slingshot to cue good elbow position: The slingshot is a device that forces you to maintain proper elbow posture during the lift if you need a reminder to ‘tuck your elbows.’
- You can produce greater force through your sticking point with the Slingshot because you can accelerate the barbell faster through your sticking point, which teaches you to apply maximal force throughout the range of motion.
- Certain forms of injuries may be able to be trained through with the Slingshot: Because the Slingshot relieves part of the strain on your shoulder and elbow joints, you may discover that you can bench press even if you have nagging discomfort or injuries, which is one of the main reasons the Slingshot was created.
How To Bench Press With A Slingshot
The Slingshot glides up each arm with relative ease and rests just above the elbow. It should be snug and comfortable to wear, but not too tight.
Slingshot is a good place to start.
If you’re going to use the slingshot for bench press training, I wouldn’t start with the larger weights. Instead, I’d choose a set and rep range with a bar load that you’d normally do raw and execute it with the Slingshot.
There are two reasons for this.
By establishing a single reference point for a similar set/rep/load process, you can get a sense of how much support you’re getting from the slingshot.
Before putting on weight that you wouldn’t normally be able to handle, you should practice using the slingshot.
First, you’ll notice that touching the bar to your chest is more difficult. This is because the slingshot will be accumulating elastic energy as you bring the bar to your chest. You may feel compelled to ‘pull’ the bar down, which will demand you to employ more of your upper back muscle than in a raw bench press.
Second, while the barbell is on your chest, make sure you tuck your elbows so that they are slightly in front of the barbell.
You’ll discover that tucking your elbows allows you to create more tension in the Slingshot. Last but not least, make sure you’re contacting your chest in the same location on each rep.
During this is also necessary to do while raw benching, utilizing the Slingshot may make it more difficult to maintain consistency with your touch point.
This is because when benching with a Slingshot, you need to keep your upper back and lat muscles significantly tighter, and if you don’t obtain enough tightness, it will be difficult to stabilize and control the bar on your chest.
Using the Slingshot to overload
You can start experimenting with overloads once you’ve mastered the technique and have a few workouts where you’re using the same loads as your raw bench press. This would entail utilizing 15-20 percent heavier weight for the same amount of reps than your raw bench press.
It’s critical that you have a spotter when you begin overloading on the bench press.
Because you’re handling loads you wouldn’t ordinarily be able to use when benching raw, you can feel overconfident. However, this is precisely why you’ll need a spotter, especially in the early stages of learning how to use the Slingshot.
Slingshot Techniques Training Protocols
The following are three slingshot bench press protocols:
Begin with a bare bench and complete your typical amount of sets and reps. A workout like 5 X 5 @ 70% could be used.
Do 2-3 more sets of 5 with the Slingshot once you’re done. For instance, do 1 X 5 at 75%, 1 X 5 at 80%, and if that feels okay, do 1 set of 5 at 85%.
Sets with a Burnout
Begin with a raw bench, as before, and complete your typical number of sets and reps.
Let’s continue with the same 5 X 5 example at 70%. After that, switch to the Slingshot and do as many reps as you can with the same weight. Rep till you’re exhausted.
Most people should be able to complete nearly twice as many reps, which will tire your triceps while not overworking your shoulders.
Overloading in Intensity
Lower repetitions at higher intensities will help you get adapted to larger loads in general.
Let’s assume you did two sets of two reps at 90% raw. You could then complete two more doubles at 95% and 100%. If that feels nice, you can on to 105 percent and 110 percent singles.
You should be more comfortable handling larger weights in your raw bench press after feeling this supra-maximal load in your palms.
How much weight does slingshot add to bench: Review
I recently added a slingshot to my bench routine (which was handed to me). According to some research, it can help you gain 40 pounds on your bench. I eventually benched 400 pounds with confidence in the gym, but it didn’t transition to the competition platform.
At the very least, it allowed me to train with more weight for greater volume, but it did not carry over to my competition, as I benched 386 pounds, certainly had 392 in me, but fell short of my 402 pound try. Those, on the other hand, are weights I’ve done before.
I’d say the jury is still out, but getting one won’t hurt anything other than your wallet. Two of the people I work with saw a slight improvement in their competition benches.
On the competition platform, both had around 7lb PRs. So maybe it did assist them? An 181-pound opponent hit a 308 on the bench, while a 51-year-old 198-pound competitor hit a 314 on the bench.
The Slingshot is a great way to overload your bench press.
I recommend using the Original Slingshot because it will deliver 10-15% more load than a standard bench press. It will also fit most people comfortably and has a low learning curve, unlike other of the more resistant Slingshots.
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