Mark Bell's "Slingshot"

Midwest Viking's picture

Just wanted to bring this to light, don't know if it has been covered before.
Mark Bell is the inventor of the "Slingshot" training aid. I first saw this thing on youtube a few weeks back and wasn't sure what to think. Well, when I went to the Arnold this past weekend, I met Mark Bell, his wife, and Stan Efferding. I was talking to Stan for a little bit about how exactly the "slingshot" works, and what exactly it is supposed to do.
I won't go into all the details here, but to sum it up, it helps secure your elbows, and adds support to the elbows, shoulders, etc. which will also help improve bench press form.
I immediately was worried that it would be very similar to a bench shirt, and asked Stan if I started using this thing, would my raw bench suffer? He then told me that equipped powerlifters use it, but so do raw powerlifters, and bodybuilders. He claims that it was training with this device that finally broke his plateau on bench. He was able to bring his raw competition bench press from 550, up to 606 in the 275lbs class.
I asked if I could try it, and they told me to go for it. So I got into their booth, got on the bench they had set up, put on the "Slingshot", and gave it a go.
135x5, slow controlled and paused felt great.
225x5, slow, controlled, paused. Amazing.
275x5, slow, controlled, paused. Awesome.
The "Slingshot" did not constrict me or my form. It was not binding up and making it hard to touch the weight. It was very easy to use, and felt very similar to benching raw, accept I had absolutely NO PAIN in my shoulders, elbows, etc.
After trying it, I took it off, and immediately bought one.

For any of you who have not seen it, I will attach a few videos. This thing looks so stupid, and simple, and unimpressive, I know. I am telling you though, it will lead to the most pain free bench pressing you have ever done.

Todd Wilson's picture

I'll allow the assumption

I'll allow the assumption that this thing may be beneficial for bench pressing, but only to point out that for pain reduction.... It's a temporary solution at best. If you have pain in your shoulders, pecs, or elbows, it does nothing to correct any underlying causes for said pain, it merely alleviates stress on those joints/muscles to a degree, until the problem persists and it no longer is able to alleviate enough stress to prevent pain.

It's sort of like the guy who starts having shoulder pain while overhead or incline pressing.... They don't have it in the bench press so they assume the bench is fine, until 6-12 weeks later when they can't do it pain free anymore either.

Working around poor programming is never a solution if improvement is a goal.

Midwest Viking's picture

"In April I benched a

"In April I benched a personal best of 550 lbs raw, then I trained with Mark Bell and the Sling Shot and 5 months later I benched 606 lbs raw! Tendonitis was preventing me from training heavy. Mark had me use the Sling Shot for my bench press and I was able to train pain free and increase my bench at the same time."
-Stan Efferding-

"I got my Sling Shot yesterday and I really like this thing! I have a pain in my lower position in bench press, but with the Sling Shot it went away! I did 480 lbs for 5 reps with my close grip. You cannot bench close grip in a bench shirt and I don't really like wearing a bench shirt, but I will use the Sling Shot in my bench program for many different things... most importantly in my recovery from chest and shoulder injuries."
-Konstantins Konstantinovs-

Yeah, I guess those aren't good examples, being that they are such inexperienced and weak "no names".
You should probably give them a call and tell them they are wrong.

wlewisj's picture

Mark is a powerlifter. I

Mark is a powerlifter. I think the main intent was to allow you to train heavier than raw similar to your shirted bench but not having to use the shirt.

Willis Lewis, Jr.
"The man that dreams success is already successful"

Todd Wilson's picture

Or you could re-read and

Or you could re-read and understand my post Mr. Viking.

Midwest Viking's picture

I understand all of your

I understand all of your post MR. WILSON
I just have a hard time taking most of them seriously.

My first thought from the

My first thought from the original post was:

"It shouldn't HURT when you bench."

But I didn't bother to post, because it seemed too much like a statement of what Basil Fawlty once referred to as 'the bleedin' obvious'.

Gym exercises, when performed properly, should not hurt. If they do, then there's either a problem with the execution of the exercise or a problem from elsewhere. That problem needs to be fixed.

My 0.02


Midwest Viking's picture

I completely agree, Nick.

I completely agree, Nick.
Though, since I am a mechanic, and I also enjoy analogies, I will say this;
An engine is meant to run. A perfectly built, well oiled engine is meant to run very well and efficiently. Though, over time, due to running too long, too frequently, or just plain old high miles, the engine starts to wear, and doesn't run as smooth, efficient, or problem free as before.
It seems that in the world of lifting, eventually, you will encounter some sort of pain. Especially when you are pushing your body, which was designed for day to day function, to suddenly perform at superhuman levels. It's like trying to turn your grocery getter into a race car. Sure, it can be done, but it takes time, money, patience, and you will encounter a few pains along the way.

The average person cannot (sadly) bench press their own body weight. That is a fact. So although it is obviously possible to tune your body and build it to do a lot of amazing things, such as bench pressing 2 or even 3 times it's own weight, it is very unlikely that this can be done, let alone done often, and be completely risk or injury free, no matter how careful you are, or how perfect your form.

Mechanics exist because eventually, everything breaks. No matter how well built, it will break at one point or another.
Doctors exist for the same reason. Because no matter how well you take care of yourself, eventually, you will break. It cannot be avoided.

just my 2cents

Todd Wilson's picture

I understand all of your

I understand all of your post MR. WILSON

### It certainly doesn't appear that way.

I just have a hard time taking most of them seriously.

### Feel free not to.

I like it. I have used it

I like it. I have used it with many athletes. I am a big fan of simple innovations that can help in the gym. It is very useful for being able to continue benching and performing exercises like push ups while recovering from shoulder or elbow injury (when applicable and safe of course). It is kind of like doing a reverse band bench. The device itself encourages the elbows to travel in so pec strong bodybuilders who bench with elbows flared out have trouble at first but it helps them follow a better path.

It is a tool like anything else which should be used like bands or chains or a belt. Use it for brief periods in training to change the dynamic of the bench press. Also great for women who have trouble with pushups or bench press.