Sling Shot: For Raw Bench Pressers
Sling Shot is not just for equipped powerlifters! This contraption is advertised as a supportive mechanism for the upper body that allows you to handle more weight while bench pressing. Believe it or not, it can actually do much more!
The Sling Shot can allow a lifter to handle an additional 10% on the bench press; so if you can bench 300 pounds, you can now do 330 pounds.
The sling shot is designed to mimic the natural muscle movement by lengthening and shortening the muscles. This gives support on the negative and the positive phases of the bench press.
Juxtaposed to a bench shirt, the sling shot does not change the groove of a bench press; meaning you can overload the same movement you are trying to overload. Forget a steep learning curve, just throw that bad boy on and go.
Many folks are surprised to learn I have used the sling shot with elite raw bench pressers like Robert Wilkerson and “Big” Al Davis. Think about it, stress is reduced on the chest, shoulders and elbows, while overload is placed on the triceps. Not to mention you can bench over your true max.
Here is a video of Tim Domanski hitting a 405 close grip in a sling shot; five weeks later he hit a 405-raw paused bench press sans sling shot. Handling heavy weights was a game changer for Tim.
Reduced stress on the chest sounds contrary to the fitness fatigue model and maximizing bottom end power. Your bread and butter is still the raw bench press sans sling shot. Power off the chest is the name of the game for the bench presser. Regardless of the magnitude of bottom end power you possess, you still need to lockout the weight.
From a muscular stand point, the idea is to reduce stress on the chest and shoulders and to overload the triceps. Because of the monstrous loads being used and the reduction of chest and shoulder contribution, the triceps receive a synergistic overload, resulting in some big ol’ back arms!!
Here are four of my favorite ways for the raw bench presser to use the sling shot:
1) With Close Grips on a secondary bench day (reduces chest/shoulder stress, heavier weights can be handled)
2) As a max effort movement (start the bench press workout off with a sling shot before proceeding to “regular” bench work)
3) Heavy Weighted Dips
4) Football/Swiss Close Grip Bench Presses
Bottom line: You can handle beyond maximum weights and further increase triceps overload with Sling Shot. I have even had a 400-pound client that did push-ups wearing a sling shot, allowing us to work around his shoulder pain and yield satisfactory results.
The sling shot is not essential to bench pressing huge weights raw. As your raw bench press quest advances, this can serve as one more plateau-busting strategy in your repertoire.
Big Al Davis performing weighted dips with a sling shot: