Mark Bell’s Legendary 5 Week Bench Press Program

How One Powerlifter Became a Successful Inventor | Men's Health
Image Source


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.

5 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. Its 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. If not your sure about Supersetting the below video helps explain it better:

Raw Paused Bench Press Routine

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:

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.


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:

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, if your not familiar of need reminding of the RPE scale here it is:

Warm-up Routine

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

Paused Bench Press Warm-up

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.

Number of Reps% of 1RM
20Empty Barbell

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.


 Set 1Set 2Set 3Set 4
Flat Dumbbell Press10-20 lbs x 10 reps30-40 lbs x 10 reps50-60 lbs x 10 reps50-60 lbs x 10 reps
Sling Shot Lat Activation10 reps10 reps10 reps10 reps


 Set 1Set 2Set 3Set 4
Flat Dumbbell Press5-10 kg x 10 reps12.5-17.5 kg x 10 reps22.5-27.5 kg x 10 reps22.5-27.5 kg x 10 reps
Sling Shot Lat Activation10 reps10 reps10 reps10 reps

YouTube Video


All in all a good simple easy to follow linear program best suited for someone who maybe has never run a bench press routine before.

It’s only one training session per week you you can run this program with your current program and just replace the bench press section of your program with this routine. You can run this program for back to back, however, I would advise a deload week between to allow for sufficient recovery after chasing your new PR in week five.

Dowload Spreadsheet



Make a one-time donation

Make a monthly donation

Make a yearly donation

Choose an amount


Or enter a custom amount


Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

DonateDonate monthlyDonate yearly
No comments to show.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: