Move of the Month - The Sled Push by Stuart MacEwan
If you’ve been in A2O Fitness or a number of more modern training facilities you will see a prowler, or weighted sled lurking ominously somewhere in the gym. It’s usually placed on or around a turfed covered area of the floor. If you are lucky enough to belong to a gym with a sled, then you are indeed fortunate because this piece of conditioning equipment is especially effective at producing a very high level of exertion quite rapidly.
The basic sled will have options to add standard barbell weights on a stacking fixture. When starting out, go a little lighter and then add weight as you gain confidence in your pushes. You’ll want to have the skids of the sled on a surface that allows it to slide like turf, or concrete is fine so long as you don’t mind the concrete or street getting marked up.
The initial sled exercise that you will master is the sled push. Place a moderate weight on your sled then push the sled by the attached high posts. Make sure you look up; it’s really easy to run over someone without meaning to. Push with your shoulders down and your hips up and try to drive with large steps into your chest then fully extending your leg behind you much like a sprinter on a track. Use full leg motions. Sprint/push the sled for anywhere between 100 to 200 feet. When you finish, you should be fatigued enough to need to sit and rest for at least a half minute. As you grow more experienced and conditioned, add more weight, add distance to your sprint and place the sled push strategically into your regular weight lifting scheme to elicit a strong cardio bump into an otherwise slow/heavy lifting day.
Some alternatives to the push are to attach a harness around your torso and then pull the sled from the front. This will allow you to really lean into your run and use your arms freely like a sprinter. You can also take a great rope of at least 50’ in length an tie it to the sled. Then take an anchored stance facing the sled and pull the sled towards you, hand over hand. Make sure you pull and twist both with your arms and your hips until the sled is at your feet, then use the posts to push the sled back across your workout area and begin the series again.
The sled push really isn’t meant to be a stand-alone exercise. It’s at its greatest effect for increasing your endurance if you mix it in with your other exercises. Adding this exercise alone can dispel any workout boredom and spur your program to greater fitness results. Try it this month and feel the results for yourself.