Most of you who train with us at Potential may have been using the sled (or ‘upside-down table’ as most of you call it) a lot more recently. It’s that one piece of equipment that will get people faking injury or saying they’ve got to rush off to an appointment when the trainer pulls the sled out, bringing many people close to tears or seeing their lunch for the second time, but there is a good reason why we’re using it more often!
It’s not because it’s the new fitness fad rubbish and we’ve jumped straight on the bandwagon; sled pulling and pushing has been around for ever! Think about people pulling sleds full of logs for the fire, or pushing carts full of coal down mines – these guys would have been strong as hell! It’s one of the pieces of equipment that if you go to the gym is probably at the back stashed behind the calf-raise machine, gathering dust. I can promise now this won’t happen for you guys at Potential so don’t get your hopes up!
There is just no hiding place, no escape, and no half measures with the sled. You can do nothing but work you’re a**e off on the sled. There are so many different ways to use it and it’s almost impossible to do it wrong (don’t push it like a shopping trolley). You just gotta stick your head down and work hard, think, “One foot in front of the other and this upside-down table’s going to move and it’s going to hurt”! These are just some of the reasons why I love using it; I could go on for ever…
Want strong legs? Then load that thing up with some weight, turn the tunes up, get your game face on and get pushing! You will use pretty much every muscle in your body by pushing the sled, your legs will obviously take the brunt of the work, your core works hard to keep your midline rigid and strong, and your shoulders have to stabilise the sled. Two of my favourite strength session finishers are 20 front squats with bodyweight on the bar, straight into a 20m-sled push for 5 rounds or 10m-sled push with 90 seconds rest for 10 rounds, getting progressively heavier. I can promise you that you’ll feel like you left your legs at home by the end of this.
As a rugby player and a trainer for other rugby players I see a lot of guys who are super strong in the gym but then can’t convert that into being strong on the pitch, so they’re just wasting their time and basically training against themselves. The sled is just one of the answers to this riddle. Pushing or pulling the sled is a full body movement and (as I’ve already said) involves the use of every muscle in your body, so being effective at pushing and pulling the sled translates perfectly into being strong and powerful on the pitch. Your speed off the mark will get a lot better which means you’ll be quicker over shorter distances, your condition will improve substantially and your mental grit will become super strong.
Not a rugby player? That’s cool – the sled is great for you too! Its one of the best bang-for-your-buck exercises you can do; great for burning fat, getting fitter, stronger, faster, rehab/prehab, core strength, aerobic capacity and just general conditioning (I could go on). I always say that if you could only spend 15 minutes three times a week on trying to lose weight and burn fat then we would spend as much time as needed sorting out your nutrition and then you would push the sled for the rest of it. Obviously everyone has more than 45 minutes a week to exercise. No Excuses!
I’ll stop there (as I said, I could go on forever), but in conclusion the sled (upside-down table) is probably the most underrated piece of gym kit out there so if your sled is gathering dust at the back of your gym then dust off the cobwebs and get pushing. For you guys at Potential there will be no escaping Sally the Sled!
Over and out.