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Given the mechanisms by which the Slingshot works, it can either increase or decrease muscle activation.
- If you bench the same weight with the Slingshot, you’ll be activating less muscles overall.
- You can increase muscle activation with the Slingshot by either lifting more weight or the same weight for more reps.
- From a speed perspective, given the same weight, the speed of the bench is able to stay more consistent for more reps.
Given what we know from research and how the Slingshot works. There are FIVE main categories we can use the slingshot for training.
- train with elbow pain
- train with shoulder pain
- 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 consistent 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
I wouldn’t recommend using the Slingshot year round, I think you should plug it into training programs strategically. Even if you are using it to bench through an injury, your ultimate goal should be to bench without pain and without a slingshot.
Overloading with the Slingshot is great fun in training. I like to use it in the second phase of a training macrocycle, which is a great time to introduce the Slingshot to introduce overload. Pick one of the three goals and focus on that for the 6-12 weeks of this macrocycle. To prevent over-stressing the bench press itself, incorporate other bench variants for your other bench days.
Deloading is easy with the Slingshot, simply use the same weights/reps you were using in the previous training block with the Slingshot and you’ll still expose your body to those training stimulus, without activating as much muscle.
For speed training, much like overload, the slingshot can be used during different phases to help with speed training. If you have access to bands or chains, you can cycle between all three over the course of the year to get a more varied training stimulus to training. The Slingshot can be used for your speed work in the bench, staying within 60-80% of your one rep max attempts, in order to ensure the bar is moving with maximum velocity – remember your goal is speed not weight.
From a technical perspective, I wouldn’t recommend the slingshot to teach a beginner how to bench. Rather, I would use it as a tool to help your body get accustomed to overloading weights.
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