Best Speed Sleds: What are they?
Sleds are basically lightweight machines designed to transport your bodyweight from one location to another. They come in different sizes and shapes. Some sleds have wheels while others do not. Most sleds have two or three legs, but some models feature four or even six legs.
The most common type of sled is called a “puller”. Pullers are made with metal frames and steel poles. These types of sleds weigh between 20-30 pounds.
A typical puller weighs around 7-10 pounds when empty. You place your back against the frame and push it forward until you reach the desired height (usually 30 feet). Once at the top, you stand up on the pole and let go of it so that it falls down into a bucket below.
Another popular type of sled is called a “prowler”. Prowlers are usually made out of wood and weigh between 10-20 pounds. They are used to move heavy objects such as furniture, cars, etc.
The most common model of prowler weighs about 5 pounds. You start pushing the prowler with both hands on the ground and then using only one hand to slowly push it forward. The prowler is designed to move with each push. Some people use a two-handed approach, but I do not recommend it because it is dangerous and difficult to master.
The benefits of prowlers are that they are cheap, small, easy to store and fairly easy to make yourself. The drawbacks of pullers are that they are expensive, large and difficult to store.
Best Speed Sleds: Why you need them in your training?
As mentioned above, there are two types of speed-training devices which can be used in your program. The first is the prowler, which mimics pushing a truck or barbell. This involves a lot of strength but not much speed.
The second one is the puller. This involves a lot of speed but not a lot of strength.
Most elite athletes use a combination of both devices in their training. The main reason for this is that prowlers and pullers allow trainees to work on different aspects of fitness. While prowlers are great for developing acceleration, pullers are ideal for working on top-speed sprinting.
It’s important to note that these devices are not just designed to improve sprinting speed. In fact, they can be used to improve any type of speed/power performance. This includes throwing a football further, jumping higher and even hitting a baseball farther.
You should always focus on using good sprinting form when using either of these devices. Jogging and walking is bad for your joints and does not develop power, so avoid doing them.
A good way to incorporate pullers into your routine is to use them after strength training. Alternatively, you can perform your puller session on its own on a separate day. A beginner should use the devices 2-3 times per week for 20 minute sessions.
An intermediate athlete can use them up to 4 times per week for around 30 minutes per session. Finally, an elite athlete can use them 5 times weekly for up to 40 minutes per day.
Below are some common pulling devices:
Sleds – When it comes to pulling devices, this is one of the most common pieces of equipment you’ll find in any gym. There are many different types and brands available, but they all pretty much do the same thing. Sleds are great for building explosive strength and conditioning your lower back and hamstrings.
A large flat surface is needed for these devices to be used properly. Always remember to start light and move up in weight as you become stronger.
Rope Sleds – As the name suggests, these are sleds that have ropes attached to them. These can be used on any hard surface, including asphalt and concrete. Compared to traditional metal sleds, rope sleds cause less strain on the lower back.
The main drawback is that they are slightly more complicated to use. It’s also worth noting that they are more expensive than regular pulling sleds.
Prowlers – These are similar to regular sleds, except they have smaller wheels. These smaller wheels make them more difficult to push. This makes prowler pushing one of the most effective ways to build explosive strength in the lower body.
Just like with regular pulling sleds, you always want to start light and gradually increase the weight as your strength improves. Unlike regular metal sleds, prowlers are less likely to cause friction burns on your hands. Finally, they can be used on any hard surface.
Traction Aids – These are small metal pads that can be placed underneath the tires of a pulling sled. They are ideal for outdoor use because they allow you to push against the ground even if it is covered with snow or sand. Traction aids are very inexpensive and can make any pulling sled much more effective.
Most elite oly lifting gyms will have these devices available for their members to use.
Farmer Walks – This is another ancient strength training exercise that has been used for centuries by strongmen. All you need to do is pick up heavy dumbbells or a barbell and walk with them for distance. Because this exercise involves picking something up and carrying it, your back and grip strength are greatly improved.
Unlike traditional weight lifting, farmer walks force nearly every muscle in your body to work together in order to stay standing. As such, they are an excellent addition to any program.
Trap Bar Deadlift – Unlike a traditional barbell deadlift, the trap bar (also called a hex bar) more closely replicates the movement pattern of picking something up off the ground. As a result, it is much safer on your back and can be just as effective for strengthening the lower back. In fact, it’s actually easier for most people to deadlift with a trap bar rather than a regular barbell.
Kettlebell Swings – Kettlebells are undoubtedly one of the best pieces of exercise equipment you can own. They are perfect for enhancing explosive power and improve just about every aspect of your fitness. Swinging kettlebells is one of the best ways to train your lower body in particular.
Sprints – While many people mistakenly think that sprinting is just for improving your speed, it actually covers a wide range of activities that strengthen many different muscle groups. For instance, hill sprints can be used to improve your lower body strength while sprinting in deep sand improves your core strength. In addition, sprinting actually raises your heart rate more than most other things that people consider “cardio.” As such, it’s a very efficient way to get in shape.
What is the least effective and least efficient way to get in shape?
Long hours of low intensity cardio. While long distance running is popular among couch potatoes who want an easy way to get in shape, there is a reason why elite athletes rely on short sprints rather than long distance when it comes to aerobic training. If your goal is to get in great shape as quickly as possible, then you don’t want to spend several hours a day doing cardiovascular exercise. Instead, you want to focus on high intensity workouts that maximize the effect of your time. Long distance running does not do that.
Other methods of low intensity cardio include biking, using a stairmaster, using a rowing machine, and other similar exercises. While these are slightly more effective than traditional long distance running, they’re still not a great way to get in shape.
How can I lose fat or gain muscle?
The key to losing fat or gaining muscle is to eat the right amounts of macronutrients on a daily basis. Focusing on eating the right amount of protein, carbs, and fats are what determine whether you’re losing fat or gaining muscle. If you do not eat the right amounts of these macronutrients, then it doesn’t matter how hard you work out or how “clean” your food choices are.
To maximize fat loss, you want to make sure that you’re eating a daily caloric deficit AND getting adequate protein every day. You also want to make sure you’re not eating too many carbs and fats. If you’re active, then a reasonable amount of fats and carbs should not be a problem.
However, you still need to be mindful of how much you’re eating.
To maximize muscle gain, you want to make sure that you’re eating enough protein every day. You also want to make sure you’re not eating too many carbs or fats.
Sources & references used in this article:
Effects of resisted sled towing on sprint kinematics in field-sport athletes by RG Lockie, AJ Murphy, CD Spinks – The Journal of Strength & …, 2003 – researchgate.net
One-piece plastic sled by JE Demaree, MS Demaree – US Patent 3,635,490, 1972 – Google Patents
Determining friction and effective loading for sled sprinting by MR Cross, F Tinwala, S Lenetsky… – Journal of sports …, 2017 – Taylor & Francis
High-speed monorail rocket sleds for aerodynamic testing at high Reynolds numbers. by LC Mixon, CB Evans, WL Gilliam – 1981 – TEST GROUP (6585TH) …
Sled towing: the optimal overload for peak power production by DJ Rigali, LV Feltz – Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets, 1968 – arc.aiaa.org
Plastic slide for sleds by A Monte, F Nardello, P Zamparo – … journal of sports …, 2017 – journals.humankinetics.com
Sled by ML Kreinbihl, RP Miller – US Patent 4,484,739, 1984 – Google Patents
Effects of weighted sled towing with heavy versus light load on sprint acceleration ability by JA Skoglund – US Patent 1,834,979, 1931 – Google Patents