10 Benefits Of Sled Training
A few days ago in the HeavyWeights Nation one of our members asked what I thought was the best exercise for fat loss and conditioning.
Without a doubt its sled training.
With my owning training recently I have added in a lot more sled work for fat loss and conditioning.
For a long time I have focused on very little but PowerLifting (which I love).
But it’s time to change gears a little and build some muscle, lose some fat, and improve my conditioning.
One of my goals is to do a Body Building show in the fall as well I generally would like to be leaner overall for looking good and being a little bit lighter for my PowerLifting competition.
Last year around this time I was leaner and the only difference was that I really did a lot of sled training.
So it’s time to get leaner, improve my conditioning and build some muscle.
My fitness tool of choice for this is the sled.
When I think of the sled I think of Conan on the “Wheel Of Pain” in Conan The Barbarian.
Now if only I could like like Arnold in Conan it would make all the sled training worth while :).
If you are not doing any sled training get started, and if you are doing sled training keep it going.
The sled has countless benefits but here are my top 10.
10 Benefits Of Sled Training
1. It’s Simple To Use
Most big box gyms have machines for one reason, so the average person can push some buttons and get it working. At HeavyWeights Training Center we have a rule. We use NO equipment that you plug in.
Where as strength training is a skill that needs to be taught pushing a sled is very easy to teach and very easy to learn.
2. You Have To Work Hard
Bottom line the sled is not going to push itself. You have to work hard overall. Now if you come into HWTC and I see an empty sled you are going to be in trouble and I will make you add some plates pretty fast.
As long as you add weight and make it challenging the sled will ALWAYS be a hard workout.
It’s kinda simple really do 1 of 2 things.
1. Add More Weight
2. Push It Faster
3. Unlimited Options
When it comes to sled you literally have unlimited options.
Do it for time, Do it for speed, Do a Pyramid, Push It, Pull It, Do Sled Suicides, Do Sled Intervals.
Literally the way you can do sled training is unlimited and you should always be able to make it challenging and fun (well as much fun as sled training can be).
4. Great for GPP
GPP means “General Physical Preparation” which means pretty much being overall fit. Can you squat, jump, run, land, move well, all these things are GPP. Essentially that before you get really good at any sport you need overall GPP and the sled is a great tool for overall GPP.
5. Self Limiting
I love coaching exercises that are self limiting with my clients. By self limiting it means that when you reach a certain weight you either get it or you don’t. A sled push is simple you either push it or you don’t. It require so spotting and if it gets too heavy you simply lower the weight. Self limiting exercises are great because the chance of injury is very very low.
6. Great For Recovery
Yes I said sleds are a great tool for recovery and the main reason why is because they have no eccentric (no lowering) so essentially you shouldn’t get really sore after sled training (unless it’s new then everything makes you sore.
Sleds can be used for days off for “Active Recovery Days” or also after a hard leg workout to get the blood flowing. The key for sled for recovery is not to go too heavy or to crazy, remember it’s for recovery not killing yourself.
7. Can Be Paired With Multiple Exercises for Pyramid Workouts (unlimited really)
Take a sled. Now at one end add a Kettlebell. At the other end add a bar. You just created a limitless variety of exercises. This can also be done with Body Weight as well.
10 Body Weight Squats – Sled Push – 10 Knee Grab Sit Ups – Sled Push – 9 Body Weight Squats – Sled Push – 9 Knee Grab Sit Ups … Repeat until no reps left.
You can also challenge yourself for time on Pyramids which is a really great way to push your training.
For some great workouts check out Sled Finishers Workouts but be warned this is not for the weak of heart :).
8. Workouts Are Short But Intense (20 minutes your done or your not working hard enough)
If you have an hour to spend on a treadmill that’s great but I don’t have that much free time and the boredom would kill me. I like short intense high energy workouts that get the job done.
With sled work you can get an intense conditioning and fat loss based workout easily in under 20 minutes.
So using the “I don’t have time” to workout does not apply to sled training. 20 Minutes of sled work is plenty!
If you are short on time hit 3-5 sets of Sled Suicides which take under 1 minute each and you will get a full body workout like no other.
9. Very Low Chance Of Injury
With coaching my clients and my own training I always weigh in the chance of injury with exercises. I have had a laundry list of injuries (funny enough most are from outside the gym, except my back injury which was my own fault do to ego), so I want NO clients getting hurt and also i want no more injuries in my own training.
The sled has very little chance of causing an injury as well it will help make your body strong and durable and able to deal with injuries and help you recovery faster. Sled work will improve glute strength, core strength, stabilizing muscles and lots more so the sled has numerous benefits for not causing injuries but also preventing them (double win).
I want to add that in my 5 + years of coaching and sled work at HeavyWeights Training Center I have seen 4 people get calf/lower leg injuries from using the Sled.
Considering we have had literally thousands of clients use our sleds I’d consider this very low.
However, sled work can be very hard on the Achilles, calves and lower leg area so be sure to ease into it.
As well pay attention to foam rolling your calves before and after training. This is very important.
Lastly do not start out with sled work at a high speed until your body is ready for it.
Like sprinting your body has to be ready for that type of movement so at first with your sled training be sure to go slow and steady.
In my opinion I can’t honestly think of a full body training tool better than the sled.
It can be used for conditioning, it can be used for fat loss, it can help build muscle, it can be used for sports specific training, it will straighten pretty much every muscle on your body and it will also test your soul as much as it tests your body.
Happy Sled Work!
Looking for some intense and challenging sled workouts?
Check out my Sled Challenges Finisher Workouts.