One of our favourite pieces of equipment in the gym (may not be our clients) is without a doubt, the sled.
We use it almost everyday to help develop our clients performance by increasing their speed, work capacity, recovery and general strength.
This is a versatile tool that can be used in a multitude of different ways, to produce differing results.
Let's take a look at some of our most common uses for the sled:
Eccentric loading (the lowering phase of a movement) causes significant muscle damage, this would require the athlete to spend time recovering, sometimes over multiple days.
As the sled only targets the concentric phase of a movement, this results in much less muscle damage meaning it can be used multiple times throughout the week to build higher work capacity.
If performed at a moderate weight on a rest day the result will flush blood through the muscles, encouraging greater recovery between sessions.
To me there is no simpler, or more effective tool for conditioning than the sled.
There aren't too many activities that can compare to the intensity of running a sled loaded with weight for a given distance.
Additionally it is also quite easy on the joints when performed in high volume, in comparison to things like running sprints.
Try it out if you don't believe me- at the end of your next workout add 40kg to your sled and do a 20-30m sprint every minute for ten minutes and let me know how you felt afterwards.
Sled work is also great to use in supersets in conjunction with other compound exercises to increase the intensity of your weights session.
As mentioned above, the sled has no eccentric loading so it is an excellent tool to build more heavy volume into the legs or upper body for that matter.
Heavy sled work can be added to the end of workouts as "icing on the cake", to build more work through a desired muscle group- think walking/running it for legs, rowing it for the back or pressing it for chest and shoulders. The bonus is this extra work won't impede your recovery.
An example method of adding volume to your session would be to add weight weekly, or increase the amount of laps/metres after your leg day and then back it off during your deload week.
In conclusion, whether you are trying to burn fat, build muscle or increase your conditioning work- the sled is for you.
Add some sled work into your weekly routine and watch the results roll in.
Remember it may be tough work now, but it will be worth it later on.