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To date, there have been two studies that have looked at the effects of the Slingshot and it’s effects on strength and hypertrophy. I’ll link both below.
“Influence of the “Slingshot” Bench Press Training Aid on Bench Press Kinematics and Neuromuscular Activity in Competitive Powerlifters”
The first study examined the acute effects of the Slingshot on bench press performance, muscle activation of the pecs, deltoids & triceps, and barbell speed during both maximal and sub-maximal bench pressing in competitive male powerlifters.
The study compared 1RM performance in the bench press with and without the Slingshot with a 1-2 week interval between attempts. All participants were subject to IPF command cues for the performance of the bench and found their 1RM within 3-5 attempts.
- everybody benefited from the Slingshot, moving an average of 20kg or 44lbs more weight with the Slingshot
- The heavier the participant, the more they gained from using a slingshot
- When lifting their unassisted 1RM weight with a slingshot, the average velocity was 3 times faster.
- Using a slingshot reduced triceps activation across all phases of the lift
- Pec & deltoid activation remained the same with a Slingshot
- when multiple reps were performed, the last rep with the Slingshot was faster than without. – suggesting the slingshot may reduce fatigue
The researchers proposed two factors explaining the increase in performance:
- momentum from the elastic energy
- better body mechanics by keeping the elbows tucked and more efficient forces during the lift
“The ‘Slingshot’ can enhance volume-loads during performance of bench press using unaided maximal loads”
The second study wanted to see if the Slingshot would allow participants to bench press there raw 1RM weights for multiple reps with a Slingshot. Unsurprisingly, all 9 participants were able to bench press their raw 1RM anywhere from 2-5 reps.
The shortcomings with both studies are that it didn’t look at a longer term training effect from using a slingshot, rather compared single day performances. There isn’t a study that compared two groups training for a couple of months one using a slingshot and one without and seeing who makes better gains.
Another consideration is to not rely solely on the slingshot for all of your bench pressing, if that’s important to you, since strength in specific, there may be form deterioration if the skill of raw bench pressing is ignored for long periods.
So what does this practically mean for your lifting?
Here are the 9 main benefits to using a Slingshot.
- bench the same weight for more reps
- bench more weight for same reps
- increase weekly bench frequency
- bench same weight & less reps
- bench with more stable bar velocity for more reps
- Feel how a heavier weight feels in your hands
- Have an external cue to keep your elbows tucked and shoulders locked in
- train with elbow pain
- train with shoulder pain
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