The Sled: One of my favorite pieces of equipment in the gym. Great for increasing lower body strength and building speed & power.
Typically, athletes that train for greater speed and power require explosiveness to generate the power and perform at their peak. For sprinters, power lifters, baseball pitchers, boxers, etc. speed and power are essential.
In addition to athletic performance, training to produce power is as important for overall strength and muscle development too.
Advantages of using the sled:
With a sled, you can move some serious weight without the associated risks that can come with the eccentric movements, deceleration and intricate technique of traditional lifting equipment. Therefore there isn't as much technique that needs to be understood for many sled exercises. Almost anyone can do them, from pro to beginner.
Performance & Functional Strength
I like how the sled is purely a performance tool, it’s not about maxing out or failure, it’s about being able to keep moving the weight at the highest rate of speed possible. With power sled pushes, rows & drags, naturally a lot of lower-body power is required, but also a neutral spine and engaged core. The sled is also great for improving shoulder, hip and ankle stability which are all essential for efficiency and transferring force to the sled.
Naturally, acceleration is crucial to many sports, which is why sled training is so often used in sports performance. Alongside free sprinting, weights, plyometrics and resisted sprinting, it is second to none for speed training.
I will often include both isometric & plyometric exercises with sled training, either before or after the sled push or drag, and even in between with no rest between exercises, but usually include a long rest between sets.
Depending upon your strength level and the friction of surface, a general rule of thumb for the load should be between 0.75 and 1.25 times your bodyweight.
x5 sets: (Rest 2 minutes between circuits).
- 10-20yrs sled push - 30 s side plank (left) - 10-20 yard sled row - 30 s side plank (right)