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This study examined the acute effects of the 'Slingshot' on bench-press performance, prime-mover surface electromyographic (sEMG) amplitude, and barbell velocity during maximal and submaximal bench-pressing in competitive male powerlifters. Fifteen male powerlifters (mean ± SD age: 27.05 ± 5.94 years; mass: 94.15kg; 1RM bench-press: 139.7 ± 16.79kg) participated in the study. Bench-press strength, average barbell velocity, and sEMG amplitude of the prime mover muscles (triceps brachii, pectoralis major and anterior deltoid) were measured during two conditions; 'Raw' (without use of any assistance) and 'Slingshot' [using the 'Slingshot' to perform both the weight achieved during 'Raw' 1RM testing (Raw max/SS), and absolute 1RM using the 'Slingshot' (SS)]. The results showed that the 'Slingshot' significantly increased bench press 1RM performance by a mean ± SD of 20.67kg ± 3.4kg. Barbell velocity and stick point analysis indicate that this improvement is likely driven by an increase in peak and pre-stick barbell velocity as triceps RMS was lower throughout all rep max phases with the 'Slingshot'. The 'Slingshot' also caused reductions in RMS, specifically of the triceps at all rep ranges but barbell velocity was better maintained in the last reps of all sets. These data indicate that the 'Slingshot' specifically de-loaded the triceps muscle throughout all rep ranges and provide assistance to maintaining barbell velocity under fatigue during later repetitions of multiple-repetition sets. The 'Slingshot' training aid could therefore be used in de-load phases of bench press training or as an over-reaching and velocity training aid.
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INFLUENCE OF THE “SLINGSHOT”BENCH PRESS
TRAINING AID ON BENCH PRESS KINEMATICS AND
NEUROMUSCULAR ACTIVITY IN COMPETITIVE
POWERLIFTERS
JAMES H. DUGDALE,ANGUS M. HUNTER,THOMAS G. DIVIRGILIO,LEWIS J. MACGREGOR,AND
D. LEE HAMILTON
Physiology, Exercise and Nutrition Research Group, Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport, University of Stirling, Stirling,
United Kingdom
ABSTRACT
Dugdale, JH, Hunter, AM, Di Virgilio, TG, Macgregor, LJ, and
Hamilton, DL. Influence of the “Slingshot” bench press training
aid on bench press kinematics and neuromuscular activity in
competitive powerlifters. J Strength Cond Res 33(2): 327–
336, 2019—This study examined the acute effects of the
“Slingshot” (SS) on bench press performance, prime mover
surface electromyographic (sEMG) amplitude, and barbell
velocity during maximal and submaximal bench pressing in
competitive male powerlifters. Fifteen male powerlifters
(mean 6SD; age: 27.05 65.94 years; mass: 94.15 6
13.43 kg; 1 repetition maximum [1RM] bench press: 139.7
616.79 kg) participated in the study. Bench press strength,
average barbell velocity, and sEMG amplitude of the prime
mover muscles (triceps brachii, pectoralis major, and anterior
deltoid) were measured during 2 conditions; “Raw” (without
use of any assistance) and “SS” (using the “Slingshot” to per-
form both the weight achieved during “Raw” 1RM testing
[Raw max/SS], and absolute 1RM using the “SS”). The re-
sults showed that the “SS” significantly increased bench
press 1RM performance by a mean 6SD of 20.67 63.4
kg. Barbell velocity and stick point analysis indicate that this
improvementislikelydrivenbyanincreaseinpeakandpres-
tick barbell velocity as triceps root mean square (RMS) was
lower throughout all rep max phases with the “SS.” The “SS”
also caused reductions in RMS, specifically of the triceps at
all rep ranges but barbell velocity was better maintained in
the last reps of all sets. These data indicate that the “SS”
specifically deloaded the triceps muscle throughout all rep
ranges and provide assistance to maintaining barbell velocity
under fatigue during later repetitions of multiple repetition
sets. The “SS” training aid could therefore be used in deload
phases of bench press training or as an overreaching and
velocity training aid.
KEY WORDS stick point, stick period, powerlifting
INTRODUCTION
The bench press is one of the most used exercises
within strength and conditioning practice and pro-
gramming (22). Similar to other free weight resis-
tance exercises, the bench press is used for
developing maximal strength, power, and hypertrophy (31).
The bench press is also one of the 3 competition lifts within
the sport of powerlifting (IPF, 2015). However, the popularity
of the bench press is because of its ability to develop the
strength, power, and hypertrophy of the prime movers: the
pectoralis major, anterior deltoid, and triceps brachii
(13,21,24,26). Several studies demonstrate the transfer of
bench press strength to improvements in motor unit recruit-
ment through various planes of the shoulder (13,14), and
more importantly for athletic performance, strength in the
bench press is an indicator of performance in strength and
power sports (10,11,23). Therefore, developing strategies to
improve bench press performance has the potential to
improve performance across a range of sports including but
not limited to powerlifting, discus throwing (10), swimming
(11), and kayaking (23).
When training for an increase in strength, several
training methods and strategies can be adopted. With
regard to specificity and technical practice, it is important
to perform the full movement itself; however, there is
a growing trend to use supplementary or assistance training
to develop the muscles, movement patterns, or weak points
within a given exercise (29,30,35). A recent survey of com-
petitive powerlifters demonstrated that more than 50% are
using resistance bands in their bench press training, more
so than alternative supplementary training methods such as
the use of chains (30).
Address correspondence to D. Lee Hamilton, d.l.hamilton@stir.ac.uk.
33(2)/327–336
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Elastic resistance training primarily involves the use of elastic
bands of varied thicknesses to challenge a movement pattern
and align with the force capability of the musculature
throughout the range of motion of many movement tasks
(29,35). Several studies demonstrate that the use of combined
elastic resistance training in the bench press improves the devel-
opment of upper-body strength (1,8,13,18), and in addition,
a recent meta-analysis supports the efficacy of variable resis-
tance training methods (use of bands and chains) to improve
measures of maximal strength (28). Despite the increased pop-
ularity and evidence for the use of elastic resistance training, far
less attention has been focused on elastic assistance training.
Elastic assistance training uses an assistance or an over-
speed approach during the performance of athletic and
strength training movements, allowing an athlete to run faster,
jump higher, or lift more weight than they could do without
the assistance (7,32). Several studies demonstrate that elastic
assistance acutely improves jump height (32) and sprinting
performance (7), whereas chronic jump training with elastic
assistance for 4 weeks significantly improved jump perfor-
mance compared with training without assistance (3). Relative
to research on elastic resistance devices, much less attention
has been given to the implementation of elastic assistance
devices for upper-body strength performance.
A recent study examined the acute effects of implementing
a supportive assistance device called the “Slingshot (SS),” on 1
repetition maximum (1RM) bench press performance in 19
resistance trained male participants (36). The study observed
the effect of the “SS” in comparison with traditional “Raw”
bench press performance, and report significant increases to
1RM and barbell velocity associated with trends for decreased
electromyographic (EMG) amplitude for both the pectoralis
major and triceps brachii. They reported that all participants
showed an increase in absolute 1RM performance by an aver-
age of ;16 kg while wearing the “SS,” and that participants
were able to execute their “Raw” 1RM weight at significantly
higher barbell velocity and power output when using the “SS.”
However, when the relative intensity was matched between
the absolute “Raw” vs. “SS,” 1RM average barbell velocity and
average power output were not statistically different and there
was a trend for the prime mover normalized EMG amplitude
to be lower while wearing the “SS” despite the heavier load.
These data indicate that the “SS” was assisting participants to
lift either heavier loads or equal loads at a greater velocity,
whereas the trends for decreased EMG amplitude suggest
potential deloading in the prime movers.
We therefore assessed bench press kinematics and neuro-
muscular activation during maximal and submaximal bench
pressing with or without the “SS” in trained powerlifters.
Our aim was to use stick point analysis (9,33) in conjunction
with EMG assessments to try to understand the mechanism
by which the “SS” improves 1RM, and the influence it may
have on matched intensity submaximal sets. We hypothe-
sized that the improvement in 1RM with the “SS” would be
because of either (a) an increased normalized surface EMG
(sEMG) amplitude of the prime movers during or after the
stick period of the bench press or (b) that the improvement
would be because of a greater peak and average velocity in
the early phases of the bench press as a result of the elastic
assistance provided by the “SS.” As a secondary hypothesis,
we also theorized that the “SS” would maintain barbell
velocity during sets with multiple repetitions.
METHODS
Experimental Approach to the Problem
This study used a within-subjects design to examine the
effects of Mark Bell’s original “SS” on maximal and submax-
imal bench press kinematics and neuromuscular activity. The
study was designed to assess how using the elastic assistance
device, the “SS,” altered neuromuscular recruitment patterns
of the prime movers and the kinematics of the bench press
during maximal and submaximal efforts. These measure-
ments will allow us to determine the mechanism by which
the “SS” may be working and illustrate what affect it may
have on muscle recruitment.
Subjects
The methods and procedures implemented within this study
were approved by the University of Stirling, School of Sport
Research Ethics Committee, and all participants provided
written informed consent on recruitment selection. All
testing took place at the Gannochy Sports Center—Athlete
Performance Laboratory, at the University of Stirling, United
Kingdom. Fifteen male competitive powerlifters (Table 1;
subject characteristics) voluntarily participated in this study.
Participants were contacted through word of mouth, social
media, and through study advertisement from 2 drug-tested
TABLE 1. Participant characteristics.* Subject characteristics were measured as mean 6SD
Age
(y)
Mass
(kg)
Height
(cm)
Bench press
1RM (kg)
Training
age (y)
Training
sessions/wk (d)
N= 15 27.05 65.94 94.15 613.43 177.38 64.33 139.73 616.79 5.93 65.67 4.2 60.53
*All participants were recruited from UK drug tested power lifting federations and had at least 2 years of powerlifting-based
strength training experience.
Impact of the Slingshot on Bench Press Performance
328
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powerlifting federations within the United Kingdom. Partic-
ipants were selected based on having $2 years of
powerlifting-based strength training. All participants were
considered healthy and injury-free based on their responses
to a Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire and under-
stood no reason as to why their ability to exert maximal
bench press force would be limited in any way.
Procedures
The study consisted of 2 laboratory-based trials of ;1.5 hours
each. Trials were scheduled between 7 to 14 days apart and
were completed at the same time of day to account for circa-
dian variation (4). During each
trial, participants’ 1RM bench
press was measured, followed
by a predicted 3RM (3Rep) at
87.5% of achieved 1RM and
3 submaximal sets of 8 repeti-
tions (8Rep) at 70% of achieved
1RM (2). All participants com-
pleted the “Raw” trial first
(without the use of the SS),
followed by the “SS” trial.
All bench press attempts were
completedonasolidleather
competition height bench
secured in position inside
aFT700PowerCage(Fit-
ness Technology, Melbourne,
Australia), and using an IPF
specification Eleiko PL competition barbell (Eleiko,
Halmstad, Sweden), Eleiko WL colored training disks (Eleiko),
and Eleiko Olympic WL competition collars (Eleiko).
Before commencing the initial trial, participants were pro-
vided with a 3-day training and food diary, and asked to
complete both diaries in the 2 days leading up to, and day of
testing. Participants were advised to maintain their normal diet
and training habits and to avoid completing the bench press
exercise 48 hours before testing. Before the second trial,
participants were provided with their original diaries and
advised to replicate their activities to the upmost of their ability.
On arrival to the laboratory, participants provided anthro-
pometric measurements comprising their age (years), body
mass (kilograms), and height (centimeters), along with
a competition-style bench press 1RM (kilograms) predicted
to the best of their ability. Participants were also allowed to
select their preferred rack height, and demonstrated their
bench press grip width, which was measured and recorded
(centimeters) and marked for reference on the barbell using
masking tape.
Before commencing any warm-up activities, participants
were familiarized with the testing protocol and require-
ments, and allowed to ask any questions or for any further
information, if required. During the initial phase of the
warm-up, all participants were required to familiarize
themselves with the sEMG normalization procedure by
completing controlled and consistent bench press repetitions
using the empty barbell to a metronome set at 30 b$min
21
,
before loading. During this familiarization, a clearly audible
metronome was played through a pair of speakers, and par-
ticipants were required to complete a full competition style
set-up, unrack the barbell, and perform as many repetitions
as they deemed necessary until they felt confident executing
the bench press movement to the rhythm of the metronome.
Each time the metronome sounded indicated a change of
phase (eccentric:concentric), requiring a controlled time
period of 2 seconds per phase.
Figure 2. Electrode placement and positioning of the “Slingshot (SS).”
Participants were instructed to wear the “SS” with the crease centered
at the elbow. Electrodes were placed as described in the methods to
ensure that the “SS” did not disrupt the electrodes during bench
pressing.
Figure 1. “Slingshot” placement during a representative repetition. Subjects were instructed to perform the “SS”
repetitions to the same International Powerlifting Federation (IPF) standards as in the previous “Raw” trials.
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After the metronome familiarization, the barbell was
loaded for participants and they performed repetitions at
various increments of their choosing. Number of sets,
repetitions, and loadings were recorded on a data collection
sheet for replication in the subsequent trial and rest intervals
of 2 minutes were provided throughout the warm-up. For
normalization purposes, participants were recorded per-
forming 1 set of 5 repetitions at 70% of predicted 1RM to
the 30 b$min
21
metronome, following the criteria high-
lighted above (6). After the single normalization set, partic-
ipants continued with their own self-selected warm-up.
Once participants exceeded 90% predicted 1RM, all
attempts were considered “1RM attempts” and were com-
pleted between 5-minute rest intervals and to correct referee
commands and competition rules (IPF, 2015). Participants
proceeded with 1RM attempts in increments of their choos-
ing and in agreement with the primary investigator until they
reached muscular or technical failure. In all instances, 1RM
was achieved between 3 and 5 attempts. Attempts were dis-
qualified if the participant failed to successfully perform the
repetition or if they failed to meet all competition require-
ments for successful bench press performance (IPF, 2015)
(Figure 1). Once participants had established a 1RM, they
performed 3 consecutive paused repetitions at 87.5% 1RM to
demonstrate execution of a predicted 3 repetition maximum
(3Rep) with consideration to fatigue accumulated following
the 1RM protocol (2). Participants finally completed 3 sets of
8 continuous and dynamic repetitions (8Rep) using 70%
1RM (2). Multiple repetition sets were also separated by
a 5-minute rest interval and assistance racking and unracking
the barbell was provided at the participants’ choosing.
Following the 7- to 14-day interval, participants returned
to the laboratory and completed the SS trial. Participants
were provided with an introduction to the SS, and, identical
to trial 1, participants’ anthropometric characteristics were
taken and a refamiliarization to the procedures was provided
before commencing the warm-up. Several different size se-
lections were provided for the “SS” device, and were fitted to
each participant according to the manufacturer’s instruc-
tions. The same warm-up protocol was followed, and an
identical rack height and grip width was implemented. All
warm-up before, and including normalization repetitions
were taken without the use of the “SS,” and all repetitions
performed following the 70% normalization were completed
using the “SS.” The “SS” was worn across the elbow joint as
recommended by the product manufacturers, and to avoid
Figure 3. Defining the phases of maximal bench press attempts. Figure 3 illustrates a representative trace of acceleration, velocity and displacement during a 1
repetition maximum (1RM) attempt. The beginning of the prestick period (phase 1) was identified as the point at which velocity was 0 m$sec
21
at the end of the
eccentric phase. The stick point and the beginning of the stick period (phase 2), was identified as the point of peak velocity during the concentric phase. The
poststick period (phase 3) began when acceleration again crossed 0 m$sec
22
. The poststick period ended when velocity reached 0 m$sec
21
at the end of the
concentric phase.
Impact of the Slingshot on Bench Press Performance
330
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disruption to EMG signals on the triceps and pec place-
ments (Figure 2). The achieved Raw 1RM weight was per-
formed as one of the “SS” 1RM attempts (Raw max/SS),
participants then proceeded to add weight and follow the
same protocol as the “Raw” trial until a separate “SS” 1RM
was achieved. Participants’ 3Rep and 8Rep weight were es-
tablished using 87.5% and 70% of the achieved “SS” 1RM,
respectively, and were performed in the same manner
described for the “Raw” trial.
All attempts throughout both
trials were performed to the
nearest 1 kg.
Surface EMG amplitude was
collected by skin surface elec-
trodes (SilveRest, Vermed, VT)
from the pectoralis major, ante-
rior deltoid, and triceps brachii
of the participants’ dominant
side during all repetitions using
a BioPac MP100 (BioPac Sys-
tems, Inc., Santa Barbara, CA,
USA). Reference signals were
provided via skin surface elec-
trodes placed on the clavicularis
and patella. Before applying the
electrodes, the skin surface was
prepared for collection by shav-
ing, slightly abrading using
sandpaper, and wiped with
alcohol swabs (PDI Healthcare,
Orangeburg, NJ, USA), in line
with SENIAM guidelines (16).
A small amount of SignaGel
electrode gel (Parker Laborato-
ries, Fairfield, NJ, USA) was
used on the center of each elec-
trode to aid signal quality. Elec-
trodes were applied to the skin
surface ;2 cm apart and
secured to the skin surface with
masking tape, if necessary.
Because of the nature and
placement of the “SS,” electro-
des for the pectoralis major
were placed using medial and
central clavicularis placements
as suggested by Krol et al., (19)
(Figure 2). Electrode placement
for both the anterior deltoid
and triceps brachii were in line
with recommendation by Perot-
to and Delagi (25). As partici-
pants performed bench press
repetitions, the EMG amplitude
of the pectoralis major, anterior
deltoid, and triceps brachii (root mean square; RMS) was
collected using the Acqknowledge software for Windows
(BioPac Systems, Inc.) and saved for offline analysis.
A Celesco PT5A-125-S47-UP-10K-M6 linear transducer
(Celesco, Toronto, ON, Canada), connected to a BioPac
MP100 data capture unit (BioPac Systems, Inc.), was secured
to the top of the power rack to measure participants’ average
barbell velocity (m$sec
21
) and bar displacement (centimeters)
Figure 4. The “Slingshot” (SS) increases the bench press 1 repetition maximum (1RM) in a manner correlated to
body mass. Fifteen trained powerlifters underwent rep max testing on 2 occasions separated by 7–14 days. The
“Raw” repetition maximum (1RM) was determined without any assistance and the SS repetition maximum was
determined while wearing the “SS.” After the 1RM testing, 3 repetitions (3Rep) were performed at 87.5% of the
achieved 1RM followed by 3 sets of 8 (8Rep) at 70% of the achieved 1RM. The mean weight lifted in each of
these conditions is plotted in (A) with the individual 1RM data plotted on the inset graph. The absolute gain from
wearing the “SS” (the difference between Raw and SS trials) was plotted against the Raw 1RM achieved (B) and
against the body mass of the individuals (C). The individual data for the Raw 1RM and the weight lifted on the
3Rep SS trial were plotted (D) with a linear regression of these variables plotted in (E). *Significantly different from
corresponding “Raw” condition (as assessed by paired t-test between respective “Raw” and “SS” conditions).
Significance was determined as p#0.05.
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during all bench press attempts. During both “Raw” and “SS”
trials, a Velcro strap attached to the transducer cable was
secured in a consistent, slightly off center placement on the
barbell. The position of the transducer was adjusted appro-
priately for each participant so that the cable ran vertically
during bench press execution. As participants performed
bench press repetitions, the velocity and displacement of
the barbell was recorded using the Acqknowledge software
for Windows (BioPac Systems, Inc.) and saved for offline
analysis.
All data were analyzed using the Acqknowledge software
for Windows (BioPac Systems, Inc.). Repetition phases were
defined in accordance with (9,34). Surface EMG signals for
the pectoralis major, anterior deltoid, and triceps brachii
were digitized individually at a sampling rate of 2,000 Hz
and recorded in volts. Surface EMG signals were RMS pro-
cessed based on previous recommendations for research
investigating neuromuscular activation levels (15). Average
RMS was calculated for a moving window 100-millisecond
time period across the entire waveform for each activity. The
sEMG signals were then normalized against corresponding
repetitions extracted from the set of 5 reps performed to
a metronome at 70% 1RM (6) as part of the participants’
warm-up.
Analysis of the transducer data was performed by
highlighting only the concentric phase of the repetitions.
Phases were defined in accordance with Van den Tillaar and
Ettema (34). For both maximal and submaximal repetitions,
the start of the concentric phase was identified as the first
point at which velocity reached 0 m$sec
21
, indicating
a change of direction. For maximal attempts, the phases of
the concentric portion of the bench press were defined as
per Van Den Tillaar and Ettema (34) (Figure 3 for represen-
tative trace). This involved defining the beginning of the
prestick period (phase 1) by identifying the point at which
velocity was 0 m$sec
21
at the end of the eccentric phase,
identifying the stick point and beginning of the stick period
(phase 2) as the point of peak velocity during the concentric
phase, and identifying the poststick period (phase 3) as the
point at which acceleration again crossed 0 m$sec
22
. The lift
ended when velocity reached 0 m$sec
21
at the end of the
concentric phase. Each phase and/or repetition was ana-
lyzed individually for total time (seconds), average bar speed
(m$sec
21
), and the stick point was identified (meters) com-
parative to the total displacement.
Statistical Analyses
All statistical analyses were carried out in GraphPad Prism
(GraphPad Software, La Jolla, CA, USA). Where 2 groups
were compared, a 2-tailed t-test was performed. Where more
than 2 groups were compared, a 1-way analysis of variance
(ANOVA) was used with a Tukey’s HSD test. Where multiple
comparisons were made across groups, a 2-way ANOVA was
performed with a Bonferroni’s multiple comparisons test.
Normality of data was tested using D’Agostinio-Pearson
omnibus normality test. Where data were not normally dis-
tributed, then the nonparametric 2-tailed t-tests were per-
formed. When multiple comparisons were made on
nonnormal data, then a Friedman test was used with a Dunn’s
multiple comparisons test. All data were reported as mean 6
SEM and significance was set as p#0.05. Correlations were
determined via a simple linear regression.
Figure 5. The “Slingshot” (SS) reduces surface electromyographic
(sEMG) amplitude of the triceps brachii at all intensities. The “Raw max/
SS” was performed during the warm-up of the SS trial day and consisted
of performing the previous session’s raw 1RM while wearing the “SS.”
Surface EMG amplitudes were recorded during all sets and reps as
described in the Methods. All data presented are root mean square
(RMS) processed and normalized to the 70% normalization set. A) The
sEMG amplitudes recorded during repetition maximum testing; (B)
sEMG amplitudes recorded during the set of 3 repetitions at 87.5%; and
(C) sEMG amplitudes recorded during the 3 sets of 8 repetitions at
70%. F= “Raw” is significantly different from both “Raw max/SS” and
“SS” (as assessed by multiple comparisons); a= significantly different
from “SS” (as assessed by multiple comparisons); § = significantly
different from “Raw” (as assessed by multiple comparisons); * =
significantly different from “raw” (assessed by paired t-test). Significance
was determined as p#0.05. Tricep = triceps brachii, pec = pectoralis
clavicularis, Delt = anterior deltoid, grouped = sEMG grouped for all 3
muscles assessed.
Impact of the Slingshot on Bench Press Performance
332
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RESULTS
All participants displayed an increase in absolute bench
press performance while using the “SS” from 139.7 64.34
kg “Raw” to 160.4 64.43 kg “SS” for an average increase of
;20 kg (Figure 4A). The absolute gain from the “SS” was
not related to the amount lifted (Figure 4B) but instead was
highly correlated to the individuals bodyweight (R
2
=
0.334), indicating that despite all participants wearing an
appropriately sized device, the
larger participants were able to
gain more from the “SS” (Figure
4C). The “Raw” 1RM corre-
sponded closely to the calcu-
lated “SS” 3Rep (Figure 4D).
These data were plotted and
correlated revealing that there
was a highly significant correla-
tion between participant’s
“Raw” 1RM and “SS” 3Rep
(R
2
= 0.954) (Figure 4E).
During maximal 1RM
bench press attempts, “Raw”
normalized triceps RMS
(169.64 615.26%) was signif-
icantly higher than both “Raw
max/SS” and “SS” conditions
(87.28 65.84% and 115.84 6
10.64%) (Figure 5A). Normal-
ized RMS for the pectoralis
was significantly lower in the
“Raw max/SS” condition com-
pared with the “SS” condition
(90.83 66.97% vs. 117.8 6
11.27%) during 1RM attempts
(Figure 5A). Normalized RMS
for all muscles (grouped) was
significantly reduced during
1RM performance for “Raw
max/SS” (95.58 65.47%) than
during the “Raw” condition
(138.82 69.42%) (Figure 5A).
Normalized triceps RMS was
also observed to be signifi-
cantly higher during the
“Raw” condition (126.02 6
9.19%) than the “SS” condi-
tion (83.12 69.97%) during
a set of 3 repetitions (Figure
5B), and during both set 1
(108.15 66.25% vs. 75.96 6
7.36%) and set 3 (115.35 6
7.48% vs. 84.37 68.45%) of
the multiple sets of 8 repeti-
tions (Figure 5C).
Average barbell velocity was significantly greater across
the whole concentric phase by ;3-fold for the “Raw max/
SS” condition (0.29 60.02 m$sec
21
) compared with the
“Raw” and “SS” conditions (0.11 60.01 m$sec
21
and
0.10 60.01 m$sec
21
) (Figure 6A). The peak velocity during
the maximal attempts was significantly higher in the “SS”
condition compared with the “Raw” condition (0.31 60.02
m$sec
21
vs. 0.27 60.02 m$sec
21
), as was the average veloc-
ity of phase 1 (Figure 6A). There is a trend for phase 3 to
Figure 6. The “Slingshot (SS)” improves peak barbell velocity on maximal efforts and maintains mean barbell velocity
in multiple repetition sets. Barbell velocity was tracked during all movements using a vertical transducer. The phases
of the bench press were determined by assessing the acceleration curves with the stick period defined as the period
between negative and positive barbell acceleration. A)Barbell velocity during rep max testing. B) Individual changes in
barbell velocity between “Raw” and “SS” trials assessed by phases of the maximal effort. C) Barbell displacement
during maximal efforts with the displacement at which the stick point occurs and also the displacement over which the
stick period lasts also plotted. D) The % of the total displacement at which the stick period begins (stick point) and the
% displacement over which the stick period lasts plotted as individual responses from the “Raw” to the “SS” trials. E)
Average barbell velocity for each repetition of the set of 3 reps at 87.5%. F) The % decrement in barbell velocity from
repetition 1 to repetition 3 on the “Raw” and “SS” trials. G) Average barbell velocity for the first and last rep of the first
and last set of the 3 sets of 8 repetitions at 70%. H) The % decrement in barbell velocity from repetition 1 to repetition
8 on the third set of the “Raw” and “SS” trials. F=“Raw” is significantly different from both “Raw max/SS” and “SS”;
a= significantly different from “Raw” (assessed by multiple comparisons); e= significant difference between 2 bars
(assessed by multiple comparisons); * = significantly different from “Raw” (assessed by paired ttest). Significance
was determi ned as p#0.05.
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have a lower velocity in the “SS” condition compared with
“Raw.” There is a high degree of variability between the “SS”
and “Raw” conditions when plotting these data as individual
responses, while during phase 1 there is a consistent increase
in phase 1 velocity (9 subjects increase) when wearing the
“SS” (Figure 6B).
The displacement data demonstrates that there was no
effect of wearing the “SS” on total displacement indicating
that hand position was replicated accurately between trials
and that the “SS” did not affect the range of motion (Figure
6C). However, the “SS” significantly altered the displacement
at which the stick point occurred (Figure 6C). The effect was
small, ;1 cm higher in the concentric phase, but very consis-
tent with 12 of 15 subjects demonstrating an upward shift in
the start of the stick point (Figures 6C, D). The sticking period
tended to occupy a greater proportion of the concentric phase
while wearing the “SS”; however, this did not reach signifi-
cance. While not significant, when the individual data were
plotted as percentage of the total displacement, there was
a similar trend but a high degree of intersubject variability,
with 7 subjects demonstrating an increase and 8 subjects dem-
onstrated a decrease in the stick period length while wearing
the “SS” (Figure 6D).
No significant differences were found for average barbell
velocity (m$sec
21
) during reps 1 and 2 of the 3Rep; how-
ever, the average barbell velocity was significantly faster for
the “SS” condition than the “Raw” condition (0.21 60.02
m$sec
21
vs. 0.18 60.02 m$sec
21
) during rep 3 of the 3Rep
(Figure 6E). Similarly, the change in barbell velocity (%)
between reps 1 and 3 of the 3Rep were significantly lower
in the “SS” than the “Raw” condition (215.72 65.36% vs.
225.57 69.4%) (Figure 6F). Average barbell velocity was
significantly faster during the “SS” than the “Raw” condition
for both set 1 rep 8 (0.35 60.04 m$sec
21
vs. 0.30 6
0.04 m$sec
21
) and set 3 rep 8 (0.34 60.07 m$sec
21
vs.
0.26 60.03 m$sec
21
) during the multiple sets of 8 repeti-
tions (Figure 6G). Similarly, the change in barbell velocity
(m$sec
21
) between reps 1 and 8 of the multiple sets of 8 were
significantly lower in the “SS” than the “Raw” condition
(219.38 64.4% vs. 231.18 64.82%) (Figure 6H).
To determine the mechanism behind the improved 1RM
performance while wearing the “SS,” we split the analysis of
the prime mover RMS over the 3 phases of the bench press;
prestick period [1], stick period [2], and poststick period [3].
These data revealed that there was no effect of the “SS” on
pectoralis (Figure 7B) or deltoid (Figure 7C) RMS activation.
However, the triceps RMS was significantly lower during the
stick [2] and poststick [3] periods (Figure 7A).
DISCUSSION
This is the first study to assess the impact of the “SS” bench
press training aid on bench press kinematics and neuromus-
cular activity in comptetitive powerlifters across a range of
intensities. The “SS” was found to be an effective elastic
assistance device for enhancing 1RM bench press perfor-
mance in all participants, on average producing a fixed abso-
lute increase of ;20 kg. This elastic assistance allowed the
“Raw” 1RM to be lifted with an average velocity ;33faster
than the “Raw” 1RM performed unassisted. The increased
velocity while wearing the “SS” occurred despite signifi-
cantly reduced RMS in the triceps brachii. Furthermore,
when intensity was matched (same relative %1RM with or
without the “SS”), the RMS of the triceps was reduced at all
intensities. During both the multiple repetition conditions
(3Rep/8Rep), the last rep was performed with a higher
velocity than the corresponding “Raw” condition. This
Figure 7. The “Slingshot (SS)” reduces surface electromyographic
(sEMG) amplitude of the triceps brachii during a maximal effort. Surface
EMG amplitudes were recorded during repetition maximum testing as
described in the Methods. All data presented are root mean square
(RMS) processed and normalized to the 70% normalization set. A)
sEMG amplitudes of the triceps brachii, (B) sEMG amplitudes of the
pectoralis clavicularus, and (C) sEMG amplitudes of the anterior
deltoids. a= significantly different from “SS” (as assessed by multiple
comparisons p#0.05).
Impact of the Slingshot on Bench Press Performance
334
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preservation of barbell velocity throughout a set may be
indicative of reduced fatigue (27), suggesting that despite
matching for relative intensity, the “SS” may effectively
reduce fatigue.
Componentsofthevelocitydatafromourstudyare
somewhat reminiscent of the velocity data obtained from
performing the bench press with chain weight (5). At the
beginning of the concentric phase, the assistance from the
device will likely be greatest, and like with chains, the force
required to move the bar off the chest will be lower with
the weight experienced increasing into lockout. Therefore,
increased velocity is an attractive theory for the mechanism
of how the “SS” may work. Despite the greater load, the
average barbell velocity of the maximal lift was the same
between conditions, with peak barbell velocity significantly
faster during a maximal attempt with the “SS.” Assessing
barbell velocity during the different pressing phases re-
vealed that during the prestick period [1], barbell velocity
was significantly faster while wearing the “Slingshot.” The
velocity data yield some insight into the mechanism by
which the “SS” may allow an individual to complete a full
lift with significantly more weight than their “Raw” 1RM.
We initially theorized that as the concentric phase pro-
gressed, the activation of the prime movers would increase
to compensate for the reducing assistance supplied by the
elastic device. To our surprise, the RMS of the pectoralis
and the deltoids was the same between the “Raw” and “SS”
conditions, whereas the RMS of the triceps was signifi-
cantly reduced in the “SS” trial. These data indicate that
despite ;20kgextraonthebar,thetricepsarehavingto
activate to a lesser extent to complete the lift, even during
the poststick [3] phase of the lift where the assistance from
thedevicewouldbeassumedtobeminimal.Wehypothe-
size that the ability to complete the repetition with a signif-
icantly greater load during the “SS” trial is driven by both
the increased peak velocity, and increased velocity
throughout the prestick [1] period imparting more
momentum to the barbell. However, it is unlikely that
increased velocity is the mechanism responsible for every
individual, as several individuals display a reduced velocity
during the prestick period [1]. As a result, we must explore
additional theories as to how the “SS” allows individuals to
lift significantly higher loads, despite similar, and in some
cases reduced, prime mover sEMG.
One possibility is that the “SS” may alter the mechanics of
the bench press by pulling the elbows into a more mechan-
ically advantageous position. Van den Tillaar and Ettema
(34) suggest that the stick period during the bench press is
partly because of the arm position transitioning into a less
mechanically advantageous position. It is possible that
because of the nature and placement of the “SS,” that it
may be maintaining the elbows in a position, which may
allow for a stronger press. Another possibility for how the
“SS” alters the bench press performance is that the “SS”
shifts the displacement at which the stick period begins.
While the shift in where the stick period begins was small,
;1 cm higher during “SS” vs “Raw,” we cannot rule out the
possibility that this small shift may have had a significant
effect on the ability to complete the lift.
The study by Ye et al., (36), similar to ours, found a fixed
increase in 1RM performance from wearing the “SS.” They
observed an increase in absolute 1RM performance from
114.6 to 132.1 kg and a fixed mean increase of 17.6 kg while
wearing the “SS.” Our findings, however, showed that the
“SS” improved mean 1RM bench press performance from
139.7 to 160.4 kg with a mean fixed increase of 20.67 kg.
Although largely similar, the slight differences in findings
between our study and those of Ye et al., (36) are possibly
due to the training status and technical competency of the
different sample groups. As in our study, they also found no
correlation between the 1RM and the gain from wearing the
“SS.” These data indicate that the weight lifted while wearing
the “SS” is not related to the amount of weight on the bar. We
find, however, that the mass of the individual is significantly
correlated to the gain from wearing the “SS.” The range in
gain from wearing the “SS” in our study was 15–27 kg with
the greatest gain achieved by the largest (by body mass) indi-
vidual in the study (124.1 kg). We theorize that this effect may
be driven by chest girth, i.e., greater chest girth creating
a greater stretch producing more elastic assistance. Future
studies should correlate more comprehensive anthropometric
measures to the gain from wearing the “SS,” thus allowing for
an individual to estimate the gain they will get from the device
by making a simple anthropometric measure.
PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS
Aside from suggesting how the “SS” works, our data also
suggest some potential uses for the device in training. Some
researchers have theorized that the benefit of elastic training
is that it allows for similar forces to be produced but at faster
velocities (20). The “SS” could be used as a speed training
device, as our data clearly demonstrate that velocity is sub-
stantially improved while wearing the “SS.” Therefore, it
may have some utility in velocity training for sports such
as the shotput. However, the sEMG data shows that the
triceps are very likely deloaded at all intensities with the
“SS.” These findings combined with the velocity data from
the multiple repetition sets suggest that the “SS” likely re-
duces fatigue and could also be used as a deloading tool. One
advantage of the “SS” over other deloading or speed training
tools, such as using bands and chains, is its ease of use.
Furthermore, unlike other commonly used deloading tools,
the “SS” allows for a full range of motion to be performed as
demonstrated by total barbell displacement during both
“Raw” and “SS” trials. It should be noted that if the “SS”
was used for a bulk of training, that the potential deloading
of the triceps would very likely lead to a reduced perfor-
mance on the bench press; therefore, it should be used stra-
tegically and as a supplement to traditional bench press
training.
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In summary, the acute increases observed in bench press
performance resultant of using the “SS” suggest that it may
be an effective training device for speed training and deload-
ing the bench press exercise during a variety of intensities
while maintaining the full range of motion of the traditional
format of the bench press.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
This study was conducted without any financial support and
we have no conflicts of interest. The results of this study do
not constitute endorsement of the product by the authors or
the NSCA. The authors gratefully acknowledge expert
technical assistance for Mr Chris Grigson. The authors are
indebted to the volunteers who gave their time to this study.
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Impact of the Slingshot on Bench Press Performance
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... The same applies to the assumption that EBD RT leads to greater strength gains than conventional BP training regimes. Recent studies have shown that, when wearing an EBD (Sling Shot ® ) a 15% higher load can be used compared to raw bench pressing (RAW) (Dugdale et al., 2019;Ye et al., 2014), but the chronic effects of such "overload training" have not yet been studied. Niblock and Steele (2017), however, theorized that a bench press RT regime using an EBD could be more effective for long-term adaptations instrengthand hypertrophy, compared to a conventional RT approach, since higher absolute loads with equal volume can be used compared to RAW RT. ...
... Interestingly, this assumption is supported by studies using electromyography (EMG), showing no change in EMG amplitude of the prime movers between supramaximal 1-RM using an EBD and "true" RAW 1-RM (Dugdale et al., 2019;Ye et al., 2014). Furthermore, one study demonstrated triceps activity to be lower using an EBD (Dugdale et al., 2019). ...
... Interestingly, this assumption is supported by studies using electromyography (EMG), showing no change in EMG amplitude of the prime movers between supramaximal 1-RM using an EBD and "true" RAW 1-RM (Dugdale et al., 2019;Ye et al., 2014). Furthermore, one study demonstrated triceps activity to be lower using an EBD (Dugdale et al., 2019). Thus, athletes' neuromuscular system likely never truly experienced an "overload", except for the end portion of the lift, where no more additional elastic force was provided by the device. ...
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The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of an 8‑week powerlifting-type bench press (BP) resistance training (RT) program, either without (RAW) or with using a supportive elastic bench press device (EBD) on one-repetition maximum (1-RM), body weight (BW), mid-upper arm and chest circumference, as well as visual analogue pain scale (VAS) of the shoulder, elbow, and wrist. For this purpose, a matched pair parallel design based on initial 1‑RM was used (BPD n = 16, age 24.4 ± 4 years, RT experience 3.75 ± 1.83 years; RAW n = 16, age 25 ± 2 years, RT experience 5.66 ± 3.00 years). Following two weeks of familiarization with the protocol , BP RT was carried out twice weekly. The EBD group completed more than half of their BP sets with elastic assistance and 10% higher training intensity than the RAW group. There was a significant time × group interaction in BW ( p = 0.008). Post hoc analysis showed a significant loss of 0.92 kg in the EBD group ( p = 0.049; effect size [ES] = −0.08; 95%CI [−1.80, 0.04]). A significant time effect for 1‑RM was observed ( p < 0.001). In both groups there was a significant change in 1‑RM of 5.00 kg ( p < 0.001; ES = 0.35; 95%CI [2.98, 7.02]). There was no significant change in any circumference or VAS measure. In conclusion, using an EBD leads to 1‑RM gains similar to conventional RAW BP training. However, more studies are required with highly trained individuals, in particular female athletes. Practitioners may implement EBD training for reasons of variation.
... Considering the construction and usage of bench press shirts, the mechanisms mentioned above can be equally effective using the SS. This device allows utilization of the elastic recoil effect, which is used by athletes to overcome greater loads or to perform more repetitions at a certain load [20,21]. Furthermore, the SS device may be an effective tool for reducing muscle activity and increasing stability, which may allow training through a full range of motion during minor injuries and support the rehabilitation process, ensuring a faster return to full load bench press training [8,22]. ...
... Additionally, sEMG measurements indicate decreased muscle activity of the prime movers while wearing the SS on submaximal loads allowing to overload a specific phase of the movement [23]. Through increases in elastic energy, the SS creates more favorable biomechanical conditions for generating greater initial mean and peak velocity of the barbell during exercises such as the bench press [20]. ...
... To the authors' knowledge, there are only two studies investigating the impact of the SS on bench press performance and sEMG [20,23]. However, recent studies have focused on analyzing loads of 100% 1RM or greater [23] on multiple repetitions under significant fatigue [20,21]. ...
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The aim of this study was to compare the muscle activity between the sling shot assisted (SS) and control (CONT) flat barbell bench press for selected external loads of 70%, 85%, 100% one-repetition maximum (1RM). Ten resistance-trained men participated in the study (age = 22.2 ± 1.9 years, body mass = 88.7 ± 11.2 kg, body height = 179.5 ± 4.1, 1RM in the bench press = 127.25 ± 25.86 kg, and strength training experience = 6 ± 2.5 years). Evaluation of peak muscle activity of the dominant body side was carried out using surface electromyography (sEMG) recorded for the triceps brachii, pectoralis major, and anterior deltoid during each attempt. The three-way repeated measure ANOVA revealed statistically significant main interaction for condition x muscle group (p < 0.01; η 2 = 0.569); load x muscle group (p < 0.01; η 2 = 0.709); and condition x load (p < 0.01; η 2 = 0.418). A main effect was also observed for condition (p < 0.01; η 2 = 0.968); load (p < 0.01; η 2 = 0.976); and muscle group (p < 0.01; η 2 = 0.977). The post hoc analysis for the main effect of the condition indicated statistically significant decrease in %MVIC for the SS compared to CONT condition (74.9 vs. 88.9%MVIC; p < 0.01; ES = 0.39). The results of this study showed that using the SS significantly affects the muscle activity pattern of the flat bench press and results in its acute decrease in comparison to an equal load under CONT conditions. The SS device may be an effective tool both in rehabilitation and strength training protocols by increasing stability with a reduction of muscular activity of the prime movers.
... Introduction the barbell bench press is a multi-articular exercise; it constitutes 1 of the 3 exercises from the powerlifting (squat, deadlift, and bench press) [1]. the exercise demands the work of the pectoralis major, anterior deltoid, and triceps brachii as primary muscles [2]. In addition, it has been frequently used to compare the physiological [3,4] and mechanical responses [5,6], as well as to test the effect of different strategies that aim for improving the physical performance [7][8][9]. Strategies such as chains [10] or elastic bands [11] have been applied to increase the load during the bench press exercise, and results that support their use have been presented. However, studies that investigated strategies aimed to make the completion of the barbell bench press exercise easier are rare. ...
... However, studies that investigated strategies aimed to make the completion of the barbell bench press exercise easier are rare. the facilitation of the barbell bench press exercise could lead, for example, to a greater training intensity [9,12,13] or a greater volume load [14]. Yet, to the best of our knowledge, only 3 studies have investigated a facilitation strategy consisting in the usage of a chest device called a Sling Shot [9,13,14]. ...
... the facilitation of the barbell bench press exercise could lead, for example, to a greater training intensity [9,12,13] or a greater volume load [14]. Yet, to the best of our knowledge, only 3 studies have investigated a facilitation strategy consisting in the usage of a chest device called a Sling Shot [9,13,14]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose. The study examined if the elastic device named Sling Shot could increase the maximum number of repetitions (MNR) and diminish the mean repetition duration in men with different resistance training experience while performing the bench press exercise in multiple sets. Methods. Overall, 22 men were grouped depending on their resistance training experience. The most experienced group (MEG; 11 men, 65.45 ±26.27 months of training experience) and the less experienced group (LEG; 11 men, 3.09 ±2.07 months of training experience) performed 3 sets at 80% of the 1-repetition maximum test as fast as possible, with 2-min rest, of the barbell bench press exercise with and without the Sling Shot. Two 3-way ANOVA tests, with = 0.05, were used to compare the MNR and mean repetition duration in inter- and intra-group comparisons across the sets. Results. The Sling Shot increased the MNR in the 2 groups throughout the 3 sets. The increase was 50.5%, 65.4%, and 43.8% in the MEG group and 120%, 68.4%, and 43.3% in the LEG group for the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd sets, respectively. However, there was no difference in the MNR between groups when the Sling Shot was used. Additionally, both groups performed the repetitions with a shorter mean duration with the Sling Shot than without it. No difference was observed between the groups. Conclusions. Regardless of training experience, the Sling Shot constitutes an alternative for increasing the MNR and decreasing the mean repetition duration in multiple sets.
... A recent study in powerlifters has also reported similar findings. 8 Strength is thought to be highly specific and as such, if the goal is to improve strength as tested with a specific task, such as a 1RM, training with loads that are similar, if not the same, will optimise this outcome. 9,10 Indeed, success in the bench press is determined by optimising the kinematics of the lift where not only can the shortest bar path be achieved in order to be biomechanically efficient 11 , but also economical in terms of neuromuscular effort 12 . ...
... Anecdotally, it has been suggested that the Slingshot device could also allow individu- als to perform multiple repetitions (~3-5) using their unaided 1RM loads and that this increase in the volume-loads possible at higher loads may facilitate adaptation. Indeed, Dugdale et al. 8 reported a strong correlation between unaided bench press 1RM and the load participants could use in a predicted 3RM whilst employing the Slingshot. As noted, strength gains are highly specific and the increase in possible volume (3-5 repeti- tions) may not achieve traditional volumes associated with attainment of maximal hypertrophy. ...
... It is however worth considering that the results of prior work has suggested that there may in fact be decreased activation of both the pectorals and triceps whilst using the Slingshot. 7,8 Further, when using the Slingshot to lift the loads attained dur- ing an unaided bench press 1RM there is an increased bar velocity, even during predicted 3RM attempts, further suggest- ing that fatigue is reduced. 8 This suggest that the Slingshot may in fact be resulting in a lower relative demand during the bench press exercise and that this is the reasons for the enhanced performance in terms of both the ability to use 'supramaximal' loads and to attain higher volume-loads with unaided 1RM loads. ...
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Objective: To examine whether using the Slingshot will enable participants to perform a greater volume-load during bench press repetitions with a maximal load and increase set volume-load compared to an unaided condition. Summary of Background Data: Literature suggests that increased volume-loads during training may aid in improving strength, and further maximises mechanical tension and metabolic stress potentially leading to increased hypertrophy. It has been suggested that a new piece of equipment, called the Slingshot could be used in training to improve performance in the bench press by enabling individuals to increase their training volume whilst using maximal loads. Method: Nine trained male participants volunteered to participate. Each participant performed a bench press one repetition maximum (1RM) test before completing repetitions to momentary failure using the Slingshot one week later. Volume-load for each condition was calculated as repetitions (n) x load (kg). Results: A paired samples t-Test comparing between conditions revealed a significant difference (p < 0.001) between volume loads performed unaided (96.1±14.6 kg) and with the Slingshot (350±103.7 kg). Conclusion: Using the slingshot in training does allow individuals to perform greater volume-loads with a maximal load; however longitudinal research must be conducted to ascertain the magnitude of any potential benefit from using it.
... A previously unpublished investigation from the Norwegian Powerlifting Federation (29) attached elastic bands to the top of a rack to mimic the elastic properties of a powerlifting suit, allowing for enhancement of the biomechanically least efficient parts of the lift. This use of elastic bands is considered to be assistance training (8), which has previously been used in the form of a bench press slingshot. Previous literature (8,38) has demonstrated that using a bench press slingshot allows lifters to perform their raw 1RM at a higher velocity, offering the elastic assistance device a mechanism for deloading during training. ...
... This use of elastic bands is considered to be assistance training (8), which has previously been used in the form of a bench press slingshot. Previous literature (8,38) has demonstrated that using a bench press slingshot allows lifters to perform their raw 1RM at a higher velocity, offering the elastic assistance device a mechanism for deloading during training. We therefore suggest that, as Norway traditionally achieves medals in equipped powerlifting competition, the higher performing respondents in this survey may use elastic bands as assistance to provide competition-specific demands in each lift. ...
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Shaw, MP, Andersen, V, Sæterbakken, AH, Paulsen, G, Samnøy, LE, and Solstad, TEJ. Contemporary training practices of Norwegian powerlifters. J Strength Cond Res XX(X): 000-000, 2020-The aim of this study was to explore the contemporary training practices of Norwegian powerlifters. One hundred twenty-four Norwegian powerlifters completed an electronic questionnaire that surveyed their current training practices with a focus on 2 areas: (a) training content and (b) training design and monitoring. One hundred seventeen respondents met the inclusion criteria, and the sample included World, European, and Norwegian champions. Where data were dichotomized, chi-square tests were used. The most frequently reported (58.1%) category of training was 5-6 times per week, with no statistically significant associations between levels of competitors (international vs. noninternational) (X(1) = 0.414, p = 0.52). The most frequently reported load used in training was 71-80% 1 repetition maximum. The majority of Norwegian (76.9%) powerlifters train with variable resistance, with those competing internationally more likely to use elastic bands (X(1) = 4.473, p = 0.034). 32.5% of respondents reported that they included weightlifting exercises in their training. Norwegian powerlifters' training differs from practices previously identified in the literature, with a higher prevalence of elastic resistance, particularly for those competing internationally, and a decreased use of weightlifting exercises at all levels. Norwegian powerlifters train frequently (5 or more times per week) and with submaximal loads.
... Two other studies interrogated powerlifters on their tapering practices using semistructured interviews. The first was directed on 11 (8 Table 4. ...
... A training emphasis should be performed on the wide grip bench press, as 2 studies published performance results in its favor (13,23), although these results should be taken in moderation, because another study not conducted on powerlifters found differently (28). One caveat, however, Mark Bell's Slingshot helps lift more weight because it accentuates the barbell's inertia, but it deactivates the triceps (8). ...
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Ferland, PM and Comtois, AS. Classic powerlifting performance: A systematic review. J Strength Cond Res XX(X): 000-000, 2019-The purpose of this study was to review all scientific publications related to able-body drug-tested classic powerlifting performance since January 1, 2012, and to regroup them into a brief narrative review. Three electronic databases were systematically searched in August 2018 using the wildcard: powerlift*. A manual search was performed from the reference list of all retained articles. The search and selection strategy permitted to gather a total of 16 scientific articles published in peer-reviewed journals. Results show that practitioners should prioritize a low-bar squat and a wide grip bench press because they generally contribute to moving greater loads, bring more attention to preventing injuries, since a fair amount of powerlifters seem to train injured and prioritize a hypertrophy-power-strength model when prescribing 3 times a week daily undulating periodization on nonconsecutive days for squat and bench. Practitioners could also introduce respiratory muscle training, use daily 1 repetition maximum training combined with down sets on experienced athletes and use a rate of perceived exertion scale based on repetitions in reserve combined with an individual velocity profile when prescribing intensity. Before competition, powerlifters seem to taper in this order: the deadlift, the squat, and lastly the bench press. The Slingshot does help to move more weight because it helps to generate more inertia, but it also deactivates the triceps. Finally, the present work was limited by the present literature but could serve as a reference in the field of powerlifting. Further research should include more details about the circumstances under which they were conducted.
... The main performance parameters of BP studied are full ROM, V MEAN , V MAX [10][11][12][13], A MEAN , and A MAX [12]; in addition to muscle activity or sticking region. However, these variables have been frequently measured on the bar, being scantly analyzed at joint level (e.g., shoulder, elbow, and so on) [14][15][16]. ...
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This study aimed to analyze between-shoulder kinematics symmetry at different load intensities considering full range of movement (ROM), mean and maximum velocities (VMEAN, VMAX), and accelerations (AMEAN, AMAX) of shoulders during phases 2 (characterized by positive acceleration and negative velocity, eccentric) and 3 (characterized by positive acceleration and velocity, concentric) of bench press exercise (BP); as well as to compare unilateral kinematics variables between the different load intensity intervals. Twenty-seven participants were evaluated during phases 2 and 3 of BP at different load intervals: interval 1 (55–75% 1-repetition maximum: 1RM), interval 2 (75–85% 1RM) and interval 3 (85–100% 1RM). Kinematics variables were determined using the Xsens MVN Link System. Results showed that full ROM was higher in left than right shoulder at all intensities (p = 0.008–0.035). VMEAN, VMAX, AMEAN, and AMAX were different in both shoulders for interval 3 during phase 2 and were lower as load intensity increased in both shoulders (p = 0.001–0.029). During phase 3, only VMAX on interval 2 was different between shoulders. Moreover, VMEAN, VMAX, AMEAN, and AMAX were greater during interval 1 compared with the others in both shoulders (p = 0.001–0.029). Therefore, there exists a kinematics asymmetry between both shoulders during phases 2 and 3 of bench press, although the acceleration was similar during both phases at all load intensities. Moreover, kinematic parameters differ between loads of 55–75% RM compared to 75–100% RM loads.
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Acknowledgments: We would like to thank the CAPES Brazil, FAPEMIG and the PRPq from the Federal University of Minas Gerais-Brazil. Abstract This study compared the electromyographic response, the blood lactate concentration (BLC), and the maximum number of repetitions (MNR) between protocols of different concentric/eccentric duration taken to muscle failure. This comparison may help to understand how different concentric/eccentric duration may influence performance and the central and metabolic responses in trained men. Seventeen strength-trained men performed two protocols in a counterbalanced design. Three sets of the Smith bench press exercise were performed to failure at 60% of the one-repetition maximum (1RM) using each protocol (4-s concentric/2-s eccentric [4 s: 2 s]; and 2-s concentric/4-s eccentric [2 s: 4 s]). The normalized root mean square (EMGRMS) and the mean frequency (EMGMF) of the electromyographic signals for the pectoralis major and the triceps brachii were compared in the first, middle, and last repetitions. The BLC was assessed at rest, during and after the test sessions. To compare the EMG and BLC, a 3-way ANOVA with repeated measures with a post hoc Tukey's test was used. To compare the MNR performed across the sets, an ANOVA-type rank test with the Dunn's post hoc test was used. The ANOVA indicated a greater EMGRMS for Protocol 4 s: 2 s in the pectoralis major and a lower EMGMF for Protocol 4 s: 2 s in the triceps brachii at the middle and last repetitions. Both protocols increased the EMGRMS and decreased the EMGMF across repetitions. Despite the results show different levels of activation and neuromuscular fatigue between protocols, the BLC and the MNR were similar.
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In recent years, it has become popular for athletes and recreational trainers to perform resistance training with the addition of bands and chains. In this paper, we consider the advantages of manipulating an exercise to match the resistance provided with the force capabilities of the lifter, which generally change throughout the movement. We explain that bands and chains can be used to manipulate a variety of exercises that have the potential to enhance performance in sport and in many daily tasks. Whilst there are many similarities between the use of bands and chains for resistance training, we note that there are key differences and discuss the biomechanics of each material separately. In particular, we discuss that chains provide resistance primarily in the vertical plane and the resistance is linearly related to the displacement of the barbell. In contrast, bands can be set up to produce substantial horizontal forces in addition to the primary resistance force that often acts in the vertical direction. Also, research has demonstrated that bands provide a resistance force that is related in a curvilinear fashion to the displacement of the barbell. After introducing the main biomechanical features associated with each type of resistance material, we present findings from the strength and conditioning literature that has demonstrated the potential for bands and chains to improve the stimulus associated with strength and power training. At present, a more compelling evidence base has emerged for the use of bands in resistance training, particularly with regard to the development of power. It is not known whether this asymmetry reflects the greater number of studies conducted with bands or is influenced by methodological differences between studies. However, we also discuss the possibility that different inertial properties of bands compared with chains may make the former a more effective choice for the development of power. We hope that exercise professionals will benefit from this knowledge and obtain insight into how an understanding of biomechanical principles can assist with prescribing contemporary training regimes.
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Variable resistance training (VRT) methods improve the rate of force development (RFD), coordination between antagonist and synergist muscles, the recruitment of motor units, and reduce the drop in force produced in the sticking region. However, the beneficial effects of long-term VRT on maximal strength both in athletes and untrained individuals have been much disputed. The purpose of this study was to compare in a meta-analysis the effects of a long-term (>= 7 weeks) VRT program using chains or elastic bands and a similar constant resistance program in both trained adults practicing different sports and untrained individuals. Intervention effect sizes were compared among investigations meeting our selection and inclusion criteria using a random effects model. The published studies considered were those addressing VRT effects on the one repetition maximum (1RM). Seven studies involving 235 subjects fulfilled the selection and inclusion criteria. VRT led to a significantly greater mean strength gain (weighted mean difference: 5.03 kg; 95% CI: 2.26-7.80 kg; Z = 3.55; P < 0.001) than the gain recorded in response to conventional weight training. Long-term VRT training using chains or elastic bands attached to the barbell emerged as an effective evidence-based method of improving maximal strength both in athletes with different sports backgrounds and untrained subjects.
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The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between percentages (75; 85 and95%) of one repetition maximum (1RM) and number of repetitions during back squat; benchpress; and arm curl; especially using free weight in trained and untrained males. Nine trained(T) and 9 untrained (UT) males participated in this study. Subjects performed one set to failureat 75; 85; and 95% of 1RM; after determined the 1RM. Data were analyzed using two- wayanalysis of variance with repeated measures. There was significant difference (p < 0.05)between T and UT at 85% of 1RM at arm curl. Both groups performed significantly (p < 0.05)more repetitions during 75% of 1RM than 85 and 95% of 1RM (75 > 85 > 95%). The rating ofperceived exertion (RPE) was greater (p < 0.05) for high intensity than moderate intensity. Inconclusion; the number of repetitions is dependent to amount of muscle mass and exerciseintensity.
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Purpose To determine the impact of inclusion of a band or chain compensatory acceleration training (CAT), in a 5-week training phase, on maximal upper body strength during a 14-week off-season strength and conditioning program for collegiate male athletes. Patients and methods Twenty-four National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) collegiate baseball players, who were familiar with the current strength and conditioning program and had a minimum of 1 year of formal collegiate strength and conditioning experience, participated in this off-season training study. None of the men had participated in CAT before. Subjects were matched following a maximal effort (1-repetition maximum [1-RM]) bench press test in week 1, then were randomly assigned into a band-based CAT group or a chain-based CAT group and participated in a 5-week training phase that included bench pressing twice per week. Upper body strength was measured by 1-RM bench press again at week 6. A 2 × 2 mixed factorial (method × time) analysis of variance was calculated to compare differences across groups. The alpha level was set at P<0.05. Results No difference (F1,22=0.04, P=0.84) existed between the band-based CAT and chain-based CAT groups. A significant difference was observed between pre- and posttests of 1-RM bench (F1,22=88.46, P=0.001). Conclusion A 5-week band CAT or chain CAT training program used in conjunction with an off-season strength and conditioning program can increase maximal upper body strength in collegiate baseball athletes. Using band CAT and/or chain CAT as a training modality in the off-season will vary the training stimulus from the traditional and likely help to maintain the athlete’s interest.
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The purpose of this study was to investigate the time course of hypertrophic adaptations in both the upper arm and trunk muscles following high-intensity bench press training. Seven previously untrained young men (aged 25 ± 3 years) performed free-weight bench press training 3 days (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) per week for 24 weeks. Training intensity and volume were set at 75% of one repetition maximum (1-RM) and 30 repetitions (3 sets of 10 repetitions, with 2-3 min of rest between sets), respectively. Muscle thickness (MTH) was measured using B-mode ultrasound at three sites: the biceps and triceps brachii and the pectoralis major. Measurements were taken a week prior to the start of training, before the training session on every Monday and 3 days after the final training session. Pairwise comparisons from baseline revealed that pectoralis major MTH significantly increased after week-1 (p = 0.002), triceps MTH increased after week-5 (p = 0.001) and 1-RM strength increased after week-3 (p = 0.001) while no changes were observed in the biceps MTH from baseline. Significant muscle hypertrophy was observed earlier in the chest compared to that of the triceps. Our results indicate that the time course of the muscle hypertrophic response differs between the upper arm and chest.
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Despite the relatively long history of electromyography (EMG) application in a wide variety of disciplines, there are still discrepancies on a preferred position of EMG electrodes. The aim of this study was to determine an optimal position of bipolar surface electrodes for muscle pectoralis major. The recording was done during an isometric (static) effort of pressing the barbell from a lying position. The muscle activity was compared in 9 cases (3 positions of electrodes setting for 3 muscle compartments), recorded at a 1.6 s interval. The highest averaged value of integrated EMG for external, central and medial placement of electrodes, independent from the muscle (clavicularis, sternocostalis and abdominalis), was observed in the latter case of electrode positioning.
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A novel loading method (loading ranged from 20% to 80% of 1RM) was applied to explore the selective effects of externally added simulated weight (exerted by stretched rubber bands pulling downward), weight+inertia (external weights added), and inertia (covariation of the weights and the rubber bands pulling upward) on maximum bench press throws. 14 skilled participants revealed a load associated decrease in peak velocity that was the least associated with an increase in weight (42%) and the most associated with weight+inertia (66%). However, the peak lifting force increased markedly with an increase in both weight (151%) and weight+inertia (160%), but not with inertia (13%). As a consequence, the peak power output increased most with weight (59%), weight+inertia revealed a maximum at intermediate loads (23%), while inertia was associated with a gradual decrease in the peak power output (42%). The obtained findings could be of importance for our understanding of mechanical properties of human muscular system when acting against different types of external resistance. Regarding the possible application in standard athletic training and rehabilitation procedures, the results speak in favor of applying extended elastic bands which provide higher movement velocity and muscle power output than the usually applied weights.
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ELASTIC BANDS ARE A FORM OF VARIABLE RESISTANCE AND A STRENGTH TRAINING MODALITY COMMONLY SEEN WITHIN A STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING TRAINING ENVIRONMENT. THEY ARE CONSIDERED AN EFFECTIVE TRAINING TOOL DUE TO THE FACT THAT THE RESISTANCE ALIGNS WITH THE FORCE CAPABILITY OF THE MUSCULATURE THROUGHOUT THE RANGE OF MOTION OF MANY MOVEMENT TASKS. THIS ARTICLE WILL EXPLORE THE WAYS IN WHICH ELASTIC BANDS CAN BE USED TO CHALLENGE OR ACCOMMODATE A MOVEMENT'S RANGE OF MOTION TO PROVIDE A MORE SPECIFIC STRENGTH-TRAINING STIMULUS. FOR A VIDEO ABSTRACT OF THIS ARTICLE, SEE SUPPLEMENTAL DIGITAL CONTENT 1 (SEE VIDEO, HTTP://LINKS.LWW.COM/SCJ/A146).