Last weekend, through my reliable Instagram feed, I found out that Mark Bell would be doing a powerlifting seminar at Barbell Brigade. For those of you who don’t know, Mark Bell is very well-known in the world of strength training. He invents and patents products for training, makes one of the most popular podcasts, competed in powerlifting and professional wrestling, and appeared in the documentary that his brother made. (Bigger, Faster, Stronger)
Also, for those of you who don’t know, Barbell Brigade is a training facility in Los Angeles located a few blocks from Union Station. It is absolutely amazing and I will be doing a video there shortly so you will find out more. (200 lb dumbbells, sleds on turf, olympic platforms, monkey bars, freedom to do what you want, etc.)
I decided to go because it would be a great chance to see Mark present and check out the facility. It was inexpensive, so well worth my time if all went well. And it did… I even dragged Fit along with me. Now in all honesty, I’m happy with my squat, deadlift, and bench press, so my reason for attending wasn’t to get advice for myself. As a coach, I wanted to see how Mark presented to a large diverse crowd. There were all sorts of people there so I won’t even start to describe them. Nevertheless, he had experienced lifters demonstrate technique as he explained what they were doing and why they were doing it.
Typically, I find a few minor, or even major, points that I disagree with in other people’s clinics, but strangely enough… I was agreeing with nearly everything he said. It was actually a little creepy seeing someone else that you’ve never seen coach before explain topics in a similar way. (With the exception of some choice of words… I keep it PG, because I work with a lot of young athletes.)
So, that kept my attention and I particularly enjoyed how he answered most of the questions. Very open-minded to implementing various training practices while still staying true to core principles of powerlifting. Very relatable for the general populace and extremely entertaining. He had the crowd participating a lot and everyone was laughing a considerable amount. The group seemed comfortable during the “lecture” portion, which is important to creating an effective learning environment.
Us taking a creeper selfie with Mark Bell in background
Now, I wasn’t there strictly for business. I also wanted to ask Mark about the Slingshot, a product he developed that assists in the bench press. In 2011, I performed my best competitive bench press ever, and about one month later suffered a full SLAP tear of my labrum in my left shoulder. I decided to forego the only way to repair it, which is surgery and just deal with it. It took a while to get strength back, but I’ve built the bench up to nearly 70% of what it used to be by developing other muscles in the shoulder girdle. I asked Mark what Slingshot model and size would work for me, someone with nearly a decade of proper bench press experience, and a torn labrum, and he told me to order an XL Reactive, the first stage of four different levels.
Fit posing with Silent Mike, Mark Bell’s assistant
I should be receiving it soon and will write a full review on it. In the review, I will talk about how the product works for someone with a serious injury and also the uses of the product. I am sure I will find a way to use it for my non-powerlifting athletes so stay tuned for that. All in all, it was a great experience and even though we had to leave nearly 2/3 of the way through, we left completely satisfied. Fit even enjoyed it more than she expected! As always…stay hungry and fit!