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Pushing Towards Success: A Guide to Effective Sled Work for Strength & Conditioning



The sled was become a very popular tool in the fitness world for a number of reasons.

  • Knee Health: Drag a Heavy Sled

  • Sprint Performance: Push a Heavy Sled

  • Strength Work: Sled

  • Conditioning Work: Sled

Programming sled work for strength and conditioning can be a great way to improve your overall fitness and athletic performance, but without a few key considerations, you may be leaving some potential gains on the table.........or turf.


Here are some general guidelines to follow when programming sled work for conditioning:


Choose an appropriate weight:

Select a weight that is challenging but still allows you to maintain good form and technique throughout the workout. You should be able to maintain a packed shoulder and keep a straight line from ears to ankle. Start with a light weight and gradually increase it as your fitness improves.


Vary the distance:

Use different distances when programming sled work to challenge your body in different ways. Short sprints are great for improving explosive power, while longer distances are ideal for building endurance. In conditioning sessions, we typically push a lighter sled for 30-60 seconds at a time whereas if working on sprints we limit the time to 7-10 seconds.


Change the direction:

Vary the direction in which you push or pull the sled to work different muscles and improve your overall athleticism. You can also Pull the sled Laterally (side to side) to move in different planes of motion.

Incorporate different exercises:

Use different exercises, such as pushes, pulls, and drags, to target different muscle groups and avoid overuse injuries.

Rest and recover:

Make sure to rest and recover between sets and workouts to avoid overtraining and reduce the risk of injury. If training the aerobic zone, we're typically resting a 1:1 ratio, so if you push the sled for 30 seconds, you rest 30 seconds. When sprinting, we're looking for roughly a 1:10 ratio, so we sprint with the sled for 10 seconds, then rest roughly 3 minutes. (Yes, to train that system properly, you need to rest).


Monitor progress:

Keep track of your progress and adjust your programming accordingly. Progressive overload still applies so we want to make sure we're increasing the stimulus each week. Gradually increase the weight, distance, or intensity of your sled work as your fitness improves.


Integrate sled work into your overall training program:

Sled work can be a great addition to your overall training program, but it shouldn't be the only thing you do. Make sure to incorporate other exercises and activities to maintain a balanced and well-rounded fitness regimen.



Closing

Overall, sled work can be an effective way to improve your conditioning and overall fitness. Just remember to start with a light weight and gradually increase the intensity as your fitness improves, and always prioritize good form and technique to avoid injury.

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