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Mark Bell or affectionately known as 'Smelly', a nickname his brothers came up with because he hates showers as a kid. Mark is a record-breaking powerlifter, owner of Super Training Gym and the inventor of Sling Shot®. This guy has his shit together!


his best-equipped lifts were a 1,080lb squat, an 854lb bench press, and a 766lb deadlift, and my best raw bench press in competition was 578lbs. Smelly also trained at Westside Barbell with Louie Simmons where he learnt from the GOAT of powerlifting.


Five Week Sling Shot Bench Program

This is Mark Bell’s 5-week Sling Shot bench press program, also known as the “Stronger in 30 Days” program. It’s a very classic linear periodization program that finishes with peaking session. Nothing too fancy!


However, what makes this program unique to others is the programing of the 'Sling Shot' into your training routine.


I haven't come across many that do this, if at all. First thing you want to do when opening the spreadsheet (found at the bottom of this post) is to enter your 1RM and choose the appropriate rounding; 2.5 for kilograms or 5 for pounds.


The sling shot is what the name says, it acts as a sling shot device when bench pressing whereby it allows the lifter to lift heavier weight than usual. If you are not sure what a sling shot is or how to use it the below video is a tutorial by Mark Bell.


The second unique feature of this program is the incorporation of Supersetting, a commonly used protocol for bodybuilding, but rarely used in the strength training world.


I personally never adapt it for my strength training because it's more of a hypertrophy training protocol used for putting the muscles under greater levels stress by reducing rest intervals and training exercises back to back.


Raw Paused Bench Press Routine Explained

Every training session is comprised of a raw bench press routine which must be paused for 2-3 seconds. The below table illustrates linear periodization progression over the space of the five weeks program:


  • Week 1: 4 sets – 6 reps at 75%
  • Week 2: 5 sets of 5 reps at 75%
  • Week 3: 6 sets of 4 reps at 75%
  • Week 4: 3 sets of 2 reps at 85%
  • Week 5: 1x10 – 1x10=30%/ 1x10=45%/1x5=60%/1x3=70%/1x1=85%/1x1=95%


Then week five you focus on hitting a new PR following the below suggested PR chasing routine. Allow sufficient recovery between each rep, don't rush your PR routine and allow sufficient time in the training session to complete it.


  • 102.5%
  • 105%
  • 107.5%
  • 110%


Sling Shot Routine

The sling shot training routine is only week one to four, it consists of heavy triples and singles. Week one to week 3 you perform 3-4 sets of 3 reps at 80-85% of your 1RM.


Week four you perform three heavy singles for 90% of your 1RM then week five is dedicated to just raw bench pressing. Very simple, I would advise a minimum of 3 minutes rest between sets and make sure you have your sling shot on properly.


The below is the four-week progression for the sling shot training routine:

  • Week 1: 3-4 sets of 3 reps at 80%
  • Week 2: 3-4 sets of 3 reps at 80%
  • Week 3: 3-4 sets of 3 reps at 85%
  • Week 4: 3 sets of 1 rep at 90%


Super Sets Routine

The super routine only runs from week one to four, you take 90 seconds rest after each superset. Week four you only perform Super Set A and not B or B to allow sufficient recovery before week fives PR chasing training session. Week four's superset doesn't state how many sets; however, I believe three set's is sufficient.


Week One to Four Supersets

Superset A: - 4 sets of 10 reps

  • Incline Dumbbell Press
  • Barbell Bent Over Row


Superset B: - 4 sets of 10 reps

  • Dumbbell Tricep Extensions
  • Lat Pulldowns


Superset C: - 4 sets of 25 reps

  • Pushups in the Sling Shot
  • Face Pulls


You perform all the above at an RPE of eight to nine.


Warm-up Routines

This program also includes a really solid warm up routine for the dumbbell press, sling shot and pause bench press. PLEASE DO USE IT!!


Pause Bench Press Warm-up Routine


This is for week one to week four, however, week five you will see that the first five sets are a warm-up. However, you might want to include the twenty reps with the empty barbell.

  • 20 reps with the empty bar
  • 10 reps at 45%
  • 6 reps at 60%
  • 3 reps at 60%
  • 1 rep at 65%
  • 1 rep at 70%


Dumbbell and Sling Shot Warm-up Routine

Again, nothing overly complex, you perform four sets which increase in intensity each set, however, the volume and number of reps each set remains consistent at ten for both the dumbbell and sling shot. See Images for the warm-up routine.



Mark Bell 5 Week Bench Press Program

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