Ronnie Rowland on the Slingshot Training System

Updated June 11, 2020

Ronnie Rowland on the development of the Slingshot Training System…

I’ve been around training for about 30 years now and it’s provided me with the opportunity to observe and ask a lot of questions to top level bodybuilders, strength athletes, power-lifters and gym rats. These lifters consisted of both natural trainers and chemically enhanced. Everyone has a gift and for me it’s been the ability to understand weight lifting and nutrition to the highest degree. The Slingshot Training method—so named because it hurls a burst of intensity to the muscles.

Genetics is the largest predictor for success in weight training but most have never been taught the facts about what it really takes to max out their full-genetic potential. A great deal of synergy has to be employed when working with instead of against the bodies natural responses to training and diet. Conventional approaches to weight training do not provide optimal results for this reason. Understand here that at one time or another, I experimented with the various training methods available to the general pubic.

Slingshot Training was designed by combining all the superior things I have learned through out my years as both a trainer and personal trainer. I took the best principles in existence and put them together in a logically consistent manner so others would have the knowledge to max out their full-genetic- potential. I want you to understand that for years I watched weight lifters stay lost because they had no place to go. Never again will anyone be able to say they are lost because they now have Slingshot Training! I believe most muscle magazines have good intentions but much of what’s been written has done more harm than good. I compare it to a loving mother who continues serving fattening foods to her obese child even though it’s making their condition worsen.

Let’s be real, you have to take risk in order to make it to the top but if the strongest men in the world are not using beyond failure training methods such as forced reps and rest-pause to get progressively stronger, then why would you want to waste your time using such! I’ve witnessed a lot of permanent injuries brought forth by using beyond failure training methods. And it’s been extremely frustrating for me as a professional trainer to sit back and watch people stay confused about such things as whether or not they should be using high volume training or low volume training. At one point I kept asking myself the same question over and over, “Why is it that so many people are still following either obsessive compulsive low volume training (always striving to get stronger) or obsessive compulsive high volume training (always going for a massive pump) as opposed to using both training styles?”

I began running trial runs on weight lifters coming from varied backgrounds. I have a paper trail proving what methods work for everyone and which ones is a waste of time. The parties were made up of both steroid users and natural trainers. I got rid of any preconceived ideas I had conjured up in the past while letting the results speak for themselves. I had trainees experiment with once per week muscle group training and twice per week muscle group training to see which their body preferred. There was no consistent pattern regarding body types, the best frequency to train each muscle group and the amount of work sets needed to excel.

Best results came from training in 10-14 week cycles. These 10-14 week cycles consisted of a 2 week priming phase and an 8-12 week blasting phase. Some could train all out for up to 12 weeks at a time while others only lasted 8 before reaching total burn out. The length of the blasting phase was determined by the training capacity of each athlete. The amount of sets they could use also varied while 12 intense sets per body part during a single training session was the burn out off point for everyone. I taught my trainees how to slingshot (hurl intensity towards) the muscles through combining both high volume and low volume training during these 8 to 12 week blasting phases (mass/strength phases) so they could get the best of both worlds.

Joints/tendons got irritated and the Nervous System showed signs of fatigue after 8-12 weeks of blasting. I incorporated a 2 week period of rest (priming phase) for everyone before they embarked on an 8-12 week blasting phase. It took only 2 weeks of lower intensity/low volume- high rep training for everyone to improve joint health and keep the nervous system fresh. Before each 8 to 12 week blasting phase I instructed everyone to put their body in a controlled catabolic state by reducing protein intake in half and decreasing anabolic substances. I also had them lose body fat if needed in order to improve insulin sensitivity so that amino acids coming from protein sources would be better utilized during the up and coming blasting phase, especially when various anabolic substances were added to the equation. I have seen amazing results countless times after a 2 week priming phase because it hurls a burst of intensity to the muscles.

After multiple trial runs on me and others, I learned that both the natural and the chemically enhanced athletes should train alike! Why? It’s because anabolic steroids did nothing to enhance joint and Central Nervous System recover. Everyone made their best gains training in cycles that mimicked the bodies Action/Reaction Factors of the standard 8-12 week anabolic steroid cycle. I taught my trainees how to stop limiting their gains by using either obsessive compulsive high volume training or obsessive compulsive low volume training. These cookie cutter approaches never provided optimal results for any of my trainees regardless of their genetic make up, etc.

Some people were capable of making continued gains for up to 4 weeks at a time using more work sets (reload) during a blast, while others could reload for only a week or two at a time before their body adapted and stopped growing. Everyone experienced yet another growth spurt along with another strength increase when training volume was reduced by about half (deload) for 1 to 2 weeks during the blast after having utilized 1 to 4 weeks of high volume training (reload). Some did better with only a 1 week deload before returning to a reload where as others made better progress with a 2 week deload before returning to a reload.

The length of time to run a reload and deload was very individualistic. Over-training was brought forth by sticking with the same routine for too long and everyone reached the point of over-training at different rates. However, nothing was ever gained by going past 4 weeks of reloading or 2 weeks of deloading.  After each person performed 2- 10 to 14 week training cycles using their preferred training frequency (for i.e.; once a week muscle group training), they set themselves up to make even more gains by changing over to 1- 10-14 week training cycle using a different training frequency (for i.e.; twice a week muscle group training).

In fact, some excelled by alternating back and forth between 10-14 weeks of once a week muscle group training and 10-14 weeks of twice per week muscle training. After watching people coming from varied genetic backgrounds (both steroid users and non-steroid users) make more consistent gains than what was being achieved with the conventional weight lifting programs you see on the Internet and in muscle magazines, I knew I was on to something special. I called it Slingshot Training because it hurled a burst of intensity to the muscles!

Editors Note: There are two prevailing training myths that seem to reach the ears of every weight lifter at some point in his or her career. After hitting a plateau in terms of either strength or size, many exercisers believe that they need to push even harder by adding more intensity to their routines by lifting heavier and heavier weight loads and/or training past muscular failure.  Nearly everyone begins by using low-volume, high-intensity training programs and, assuming that the diet, training volume, and exercise selection are appropriate, they undoubtedly see an increase in total lean body mass. The mistake comes in believing that the only way to keep progressing is to keep performing the same workouts, but with heavier weights.

On the other hand, if a weight lifter is knowledgeable or has a good trainer, he or she will change over to higher-volume training. At this point, they often experience astounding increases in muscle mass. The second common error that is effectively addressed by the Slingshot Training method comes when these individuals think that they need to keep performing more and more sets to continue building mass. They quickly hit a point of diminishing returns and eventually develop overuse injuries and an overworked nervous system.

The Slingshot Training method helps athletes overcome both of these dilemmas by employing low-volume and high-volume training in carefully planned timeframes. Weight training is about creating continual adaptation so that the muscles of the human body are forced to periodically respond to new challenges—by getting stronger, growing in size, or both!

The basic problem with the one-dimensional training methods employed by many weight lifters—meaning that they focus almost exclusively on either intensity or volume—is that if a person lifts the maximum weight he or she can safely handle during one workout and then tries to progress beyond that, that person is undoubtedly moving out of his or her safety zone and risking serious injury. The same concept applies to the high-volume training model. Performing more sets than one can safely do will cause overuse and repetitive-motion injuries. When you stick with high volume for too long strength gains will suffer. On the other hand, when you stick with low volume for too long size gains will suffer.

The Slingshot Training method systematically moves back and forth between these two training paradigms in a way that maximizes each athlete’s individual potential while avoiding what every athlete—whether elite or amateur—fears most: an injury that will leave them on the sidelines.

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