There are many training program systems for strength athletes and different theories are applied within these systems. With so much specialty equipment out there, people tend to get lost in what to use and more importantly how to use it properly. In this installment in our “Specialty Equipment Series” we are going to look at products that aid an athlete by providing mechanical assistance when performing the lift. Since this equipment is often misused, we will focus on how to use them properly.
Because “they can make you dance.” …or give you assistance by taking a percentage of weight off the bar. For instance, when using bands for a REVERSE BAND setup, the stretch of the band aids the lifter out of the hole in the squat, off the chest for bench, and off the floor for deadlifting. Sounds pretty easy and basic right? Not so fast. People often overlook how quickly the band assistance changes through the range of motion. That “help” goes away REALLY fast. When bands are implemented this way it does not take load off the bar at all times, the assistance the band gives will vary depending on the height of the bar. The lower the bar, the greater the stretch on the band, and the more help you receive.
Next up is the SlingShot. This piece of equipment was designed by a powerlifter focused on aiding bench pressers with overload training and for strength athletes dealing with shoulder or elbow injuries. The SlingShot is made out of an elastic fabric that does not like to be stretched. This allows the lifter to feel the full weight on the bar throughout the whole lift, but at the bottom you have a rubber band effect. The further your elbows pull the material apart, the more energy the SlingShot will store and snap back into the bar allowing the lifter to move more weight.
Things to be mindful of when using the SlingShot, this material will compromise your normal pressing movement pattern. Since the material is trying to go back to its original state, it is putting pressure on your elbows, promoting them to tuck. If you do not pull the material apart with your elbows, it may cause your elbows to tuck and dump the weight forward toward your stomach. Another application that can be used with the SlingShot is learning how to do a pushup. It is the exact same concept as the bench press but you are not laying down. As you get closer to the ground and your elbows go out, the material stretches and aids you in pressing back up since the material wants to go back to its original state. This is a great trick for teaching pushups to someone who has never done them before!
Be A Bro!
The last form of assistance that can be used is a good ole training partner. You can always have your training partner to aid you in keeping the bar moving even when you are no longer strong enough to move the weight yourself. No, just kidding. This means you are not strong enough (weak) and you choose an improper weight (probably because of your ego). If your training partner does this, find a new one. “And get a role model!” (Gone in 60 Seconds).
Seriously though, using a training partner as “assistance” should only be used if you fail or do not have the awesome equipment that NBS has. If you are reading this and go to some other gym, the equipment I just mentioned will give you a bigger bench. So come to NBS and get a bigger bench (…and squat …. and deadlift).