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Is the SlingShot Useful for Improving Raw Benching?

Answers probably yes (maybe to what degree though?) but I was having a look at it today and there wasn’t really much of an explanation to be found aide from overloading but I dunno what that even really means.

I’m thinking maybe the benefit is in handling heavier weights or more work overall with heavier weights so like improving set up and tightness and maintaining that which will carry over to the comp lift.

How useful is the slingshot in your guys opinion? Why is it useful or not?

I never found it to help much until I got to the point where my triceps were limiting me and I was failing close to lockout. If that’s not your situation then it probably won’t do a whole lot, but especially close to a meet it can help to feel some heavy weight in your hands and actually going through the whole ROM may have some benefits over partials.

A lot of people seem to like it just because they can bench more with it, like you have a 270 bench and now you can bench 315.

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I think this is typically why people would use the SlingShot, or if you have some shoulder problems I think it can provide some relief as well. It provides the most assistance at the bottom, and lessens as you progress through the range of motion.
I suppose it would be similar to using reverse bands (?).

Right now my triceps are my weak point for bench, so my coach has me using some board press along with some SlingShot work.

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I’ve owned both a reactive slingshot and a metal catapult, and honestly couldn’t ever get into using them for barbell benching. The path that they would force me to take on bench was pretty different than the path I’d go without it, and I just couldn’t replicate the form I wanted.

I did like it for dumbbell benching, and dumbbell incline. And the Mrs likes using it for push ups.


Throw it in as a variation, log how your bench responds to it.

I prefer bands myself. I don’t like the feeling while wearing a slingshot and I find it annoying putting it on (damn these enormous guns of mine).

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I’ve heard it can be helpful if you have an injury that impacts you when the bar is on your chest or around a one to two board height. Then it can allow you to continue training.

Apart from that I haven’t found it useful myself.

That was how I felt at first, like it was making me tuck my elbows way more than usual. Eventually I got over it. I mostly use it for close grip benching or for an overload with regular grip.

In general with any specialized equipment, you need to pinpoint a key area of improvement in the main lift and then decide if the specialized equipment (in this case, the Slingshot) addresses this. Some things I would, and have used a Slingshot for…

-Adding in more weekly bench volume without overworking the shoulders. You’re most likely to get “beat up” from benching due to heavy loading when the bar is at your chest. Lots of tension on the pecs and shoulders, and they’re not in a very strong position to begin with. If benching 2-3 days a week leaves you with aches and pains, throw the Slingshot on for one of the days. The reduced loading at the bottom of the movement while still getting some lifting in might actually help with blood flow and week to week recovery.

-Dynamic effort method work is much easier to do with the Slingshot, as opposed to chains and bands. Without getting too far down the Conjugate rabbit hole, the DE method is centered on moving submaximal weights with maximal speed, which leads to maximal force production from the muscles. Accommodating resistance (bands, chains, slingshot, etc…) is ideal for this since it allows the load to be heaviest at the (generally) strongest point of the lift (lockout) and lightest at the weakest point (chest), so when pressing the weight as fast as you can you have a nice, constant bar speed rather than a continually accelerating speed. So for DE method work, a Slingshot is basically just a convenience over chains or bands.

-As you mentioned, overload work is a great use for the Slingshot. Overload, in practice is putting over 100% of your 1RM on the bar and either statically holding the weight at the top, or moving it through some reduced range of motion. It’s a great tool for notice and intermediate lifters, and definitely has a place with advanced lifters. The primary benefit of overload is forcing the lifter to develop full body tension (maximal muscle recruitment) in the lift. If your max bench is 300 lbs, and I put 400 lbs on the bar and have you unrack and hold it for 10 seconds (with safeties, of course) you will, without realizing it, contract far more muscle throughout your whole body during those 10 seconds than if you were holding 300 lbs for 10 seconds. Now, if you practice that regularly and learn what that whole body tension feels like, then you can start creating the same tension during the rest of your benching. More muscle recruitment = stronger bench. The Slingshot accomplishes this by supporting your body in the weakest part of the lift, allowing you to “feel” weights above your 1RM.

-Similar to overload, the slingshot is useful for triceps targeting (strength and/or hypertrophy) since it assists the least during the lockout, where the triceps are doing the most work.

As with any assistance/accessory exercise, if you don’t have a very specific “why” for it’s existence in your program, then you’re basically rolling the dice on if it will actually lead to progress. Always start by finding the weak points in the competition lifts, then find the appropriate accessory movements to address these weak points. Programming doesn’t have to be super complex, but it should always be very intentional.

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I think mark bell also mentioned in one of his videos that another benefit is that it helps keep your arms and elbows in proper position throughout the movement. Not sure how true cause I’ve never used one. From the comments of the others above, it seems to be doing the opposite for them though

Not meaning to hijack the thread, but I have recently developed a strain (not a tear thankfully) in the tendon that attaches my left anterior delt to my clavicle. I can no longer do bench press due to aggravating the strain and causing pain. I have been able to find chest work that limits the involvement of my delt, but miss doing bench press. Would the slingshot be a viable aide to help me bench again without bothing my shoulder?

Maybe, try it and see. You could also do board presses or use bench blocks or other similar thing, some people use that to work around shoulder issues.

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I know a handful of 500 lb raw benchers that use it in rotation in their training mostly as overload and getting body prepared for heavier weight as well and benefits to training top of the lift. So, many benefits but it’s like anything else. Not the end all of training implementns but a good one imo regardless raw or geared.

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My understanding is that Mark Bell actually developed the Slingshot (at least partially) as a tool for training around injuries. You could improvise a test using a resistance band in place of a Slingshot. If that reduces the pain from benching, might be worth dropping the money to buy one.


I think there are better options for increasing your raw bench. If you are coming back from an injury I would say it is a good tool. Some people use it to overload and work on tightness, I would rather use reverse bands or just do eccentric only and go heavier than your max to work on staying tight. The only way you can know for sure it to use it.

After pushing through slight pain and definite tightness in both shoulders and having to lay off the bench, my trainer brought one into the gym a few weeks ago and I began working with it.

It’s certainly not going to heal an injury or anything like that, but it made a SUBSTANTIAL difference; I could bench practically pain free, with less tightness afterward. And the effect was immediate.

For me, it really isolated what should and shouldn’t be the primary working muscles during press work, and forced (some would say this is a bad thing) my form, which was pretty good to begin with, into a safe place, keeping my elbows closer to my sides and balancing out the load better.

Normally after a press day, the next day my shoulder is crazy sore. Guess what? Next day? No soreness.

I have a friend that at one point was a 500+Raw bencher and he used a slingshot regularly in training.

I’ve been using it regularly and finally benched 405 the other day. I’ve been benching twice a week, one day comp bench and the other with the slingshot, no other bench variations, just some assistance work and I’m making progress. But I wouldn’t have done so much with the slingshot if it wasn’t for the fact that I fail close to lockout.

I watched some videos of Malanichev benching and he fails at the top too and has a similar technique to me, the only bench assistance he does is slingshot bench, which is a regular part of his training, so I thought I would try it and see how it goes.


The guy I’m talking about (whose name is Chris as well) told me they kinda worked on all ranges of bench. And slingshot was how he focused on overload and top range. It’s like any other variation, if used for correct reason it works.

That’s awesome though on the 405 bench. Congrats on that. How’re the other lifts going?

The other lifts were going good, I squatted a fairly easy 550x3 last week. The problem is I just found out I have an umbilical hernia. It’s really small and doesn’t hurt, a doctor even told me that I could keep lifting and it’s too small to operate on, at least by the standards of public healthcare over here. The thing is I don’t want to fuck myself up real bad just for some mediocre lifts, I’m going to look at what options there are. If I could get it fixed before it becomes a major problem I would do that and keep lifting, but right now it looks like I’m going bench-only.

As far as the slingshot though, I kind of feel like it helps with speed off the chest too. The faster you move it off your chest the easier it is to lock it out, it’s sort of like heavy speed work in a way. You have to push close to failure (or close to a max for a single) to really make your triceps work, but when you’re straining with weights over you raw max then you are working your triceps harder than you can on just about anything else.