Monday, July 21, 2014

How the Sling Shot Saved My Bench Press

In this post I am going to try and convince even the most natty, so RAW you capitalize it, so raw you’ve got salmonella poisoning, lifters that they should spend the $50 or whatever it costs for one of Mark Bell’s Sling Shot's.

Calling themselves raw like it's a fashion statement.

Before we get to all that, no, Mark isn’t paying me to write this. No I haven’t been sent any free shit from HowMuchYaBench.Net. Hell, the closest interaction I’ve had to the man himself is following him on twitter.

I’m also not one to shill products. Especially those I don’t believe in.

Now on to the testimonial.

Like many lifters I experienced a plateau on my bench. And it stayed there. For a long, long time. My plateau was at 275 pounds. And for three years or so it would hover around the 275 to 290 pound range. Some months it would be 290, the next month 275. “What the hell am I doing wrong?” I thought to myself.

After growing frustrated I tried many things. Benching from pins (bottom up press), bands, reverse bands, close grip only cycles, more overhead and incline work… damn near everything. And none of it really broke me through that plateau. Again and again my bench would get stuck in that shit-tier range.

295 on the bench will barely turn heads in a YMCA. I can’t be having that.

Biker bro can definitely rep 315. 

Then I bought myself a Sling Shot. I played with it a bit. But never took it seriously. I bought it cause I had the extra money and I figured, why not give it a shot? Well, after a few training sessions I put it away in my bag and reverted back to my retarded super natty, raw RAW, zealot status.

That was one of the stupidest mistakes I’ve ever made in my lifting career. For little did I know the one thing that would save my bench was collecting chalk dust in my gym bag.


Then in the fall of 2013 I was sick of my plateau. Granted, my bench had now at least reached the consistent level of 285 or so, but 300 was only happening on a day when all the planets were aligned, I had eaten my Wheaties, and found $20 on the gym floor. So out of frustration I started using my Sling Shot. I pulled it out of early retirement, because I was sick and tired of having my bench press be on vacation in Florida. 

My bench had moved so far south it was getting
weak & tan on Daytona Beach.

I trained it weekly. Mandatory one day per week Sling Shot work. At first it was just some overload sets after my raw bench work. That then turned into its own day- A day dedicated to training overload work with the Sling Shot.

And my bench began to move.

Then about a month later I got 295x2, paused

And the progress just kept coming. Along with using my Sling Shot every week I also moved to flat footed benching which greatly improved my ability to recruit leg drive. My Sling Shot mirrored exactly my raw bench programming, only differing in one way- the intensities were about 20-30 pounds greater.

Soon after incorporating it on a once per week basis my raw bench climbed to 300 with a clean pause. Then 305. Then that coveted 315 goal was achieved. Mission accomplished. Go home people. Show’s over.

Then I came out to Afghanistan. Training got harder. More focused. The Sling Shot was getting used like a Greek slave circa 480 BC. I’d train with it on Tuesdays and then raw bench on Saturdays.

Greek BDSM.
Much like powerlifting.

And my bench began to move so fast it was like I had morphed into Goro from Mortal Kombat. Throwing that bar with my four arms like I was a damn Italian pizza man.

305, 315, 325 for reps… raw, without the Sling Shot.

Meanwhile my Sling Shot bench was climbing just as fast. Hitting into the mid 300’s for reps. Nothing felt better, or built more confidence under the barbell, as holding 365 in my hands and repping it with my Sling Shot.

An actual photo of me after using the Sling Shot
consistently for a few months.

After months and months of avoiding testing my true bench max and just building it through repetition, both raw and with my Sling Shot, I decided it was time to test my max.

And just like that, I had benched 365 pounds. Just three or so pounds away from a two times bodyweight bench press. 

Plateau destroyed.

Mind you, I compete raw. I typically had trained raw. And like many raw lifters I saw using gear outside of the usual knee sleeves, wrist wraps, and belt, as abhorrent. I once was a raw dogmatist. Then I pulled my head out of my ass and realized that with the proper use and implementation, something like the Sling Shot can be a raw powerlifter’s secret weapon. It is my opinion that for the money, there’s no better piece of equipment a raw lifter can purchase.

I don't know who this guy is, but he's got a Sling Shot.
So he can probably bench more than you.

Thank you Sling Shot. You’re my best friend. 

Second installment here.


  1. I just got mine for Christmas, I have been stuck at 385-405 for over a year now. I repped out 385x6 405x4 and did 430x1 yesterday. I can normally do 225 18-22 times, I did it 30 and ran out of breath....thing is fucking awesome!

    Jeff- Lincoln NE

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  6. ya no thanks, if a 1900 strongman can press 300lb overhead I think I can program my bench past that without wasting 50 dollars.


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