It can be used on a variety of surfaces such as concrete , grass , indoor track etc… and can be used to develop a whole host of physical abilities .
Strength and Muscle Building
We all know that performing sets of compound exercises such as squats and deadlifts is the way to go in terms of developing strength and adding pounds of muscle to our frames but there is one downside to these mighty two exercises . That downside is burning out the central nervous system due to the huge recovery demands these two exercises place on the body . Once you become strong on the squat and deadlift the time it takes to recover is increased , In fact many people including myself at times prefer to perform the deadlift every other week due to its huge impact on recovery . Squatting and deadlifting heavy in the same week is very demanding and it’s a simple fact that not every one can do it. This is the where the sled when used intelligently can be of fantastic use , If you want to increase your training frequency of your lower body and add some muscle whilst still being able to recover the sled is your number one choice. Many years ago Louie Simmons – powerlifting / strength guru and possibly the worlds number one expert in strength development noted that Finnish powerlifters had fantastic deadlifting ability . He learned that alot of the finnish powerlifters also worked as lumberjacks and would regularly pull sleds loaded with wood as part of their job . This prompted simmons to include sled work in his athletes programmes and he saw great results . If anyone tries telling me that pulling a heavy sled is not strength work then they have never pulled a heavy sled – your legs pump up and your lungs are screaming – kind of like a heavy high rep set of squats . Put simply when you pull the sled you know you have worked your ass off . Performing a typical leg workout once a week with 1-2 other sessions of sled pulling is a great way to increase leg development and strength .
When used with a lighter load and a harness attachment the sled can be used to develop power . By performing short sprints with a lighter load the sled can be fantastic at developing power . This would be of great use to any athletes such as football players , rugby players and also mma fighters . The use of resistance also makes it safer than performing normal sprints as you can not go as fast so you have less chance of pulling a muscle – more like hill sprinting .
Increase Fitness and Burn BodyFat
Conditioning work outs for alot of people are boring and tedious , sitting on a bike for 60 minutes whilst reading the Sunday times is not an efficient way to boost fitness and burn fat. The sled can provide a tough but fun workout and you don’t have to spend much time doing it either . if you pull a loaded sled 30 metres rest 1 minute and then pull it again please tell me how you feel ? …..that feeling is called hard work(and quite possibly a cardiac arrest J ) and a 15 min session of pulling a sled will do more for your conditioning than 2 hours sat on a stationery bike . As for fat burning… well all that heavy breathing you are now doing is called EPOC - excess post exercise oxygen consumption for all you geeks out there – basically meaning that all the heavy breathing you have been doing to recover is now making your body work overtime to return itself back to normal again . This makes your body release hormones that are beneficial for fat loss and also burns a tonne of calories whilst elevating your metabolism .
The King Of Recovery
Now if you are not yet sold yet on the great uses of the sled then the fact that you can do all of the above whilst having very little negative effect on your body’s ability to recover is perhaps the sleds biggest advantage. Most exercises have an eccentric and concentric portion of the lift. The eccentric part which is the lowering part or negative part of the movement is what causes the most stress on the muscle – and also DOMS – which is the aches in your legs you feel after a heavy squatting session , this is a good thing in one sense as the muscle when recovered grows back stronger . However this eccentric portion means that your legs are in pain for a few days after training meaning that you can not train your legs again for a few days . The sled on the other hand is ECCENTRIC – LESS meaning that you could train on the sled every day with very little muscle soreness . This means that the sled can also be used to allow the body to recover from hard periods of training and indeed the sled can be used to train the upper body in exactly the same way as the lower body . Chest presses , bicep curls , face pulls etc… can all be performed on the sled as extra upper body work or for times when you need to lay off the heavy lifting whilst still training the upper body . The sled is great for deload weeks during a heavy lifting cycle and also after a heavy lifting day to speed up recovery .
So in summary we have a piece of equipment that can provide more physical benefits that any other I can think of whilst having the advantage of being able to use anywhere ….on a quiet road , pavement , turf , field - you are not restrained by the confines of a gym . It is cheap , will last forever and remember even Santa that fat bloke with a beard we all see once a year has his very own sled . Just remember do not be like santa – he only uses it once a year and he has installed a seat and reindeers to pull if for him – lazy fat b*stard !!!