Specializing in Strength and Conditioning, I find using unique and versatile methods to develop an athlete are key. One of the most intense and unique styles of programming an athlete can throw into their weekly programming is “Strongman Style” training. At the end of the day, the methods are unquestionably the most unique, fun and beneficial to just about any competitive individual.
Any one of my athletes could tell you three key points:
- Rob makes me Squat and deadlift in one day.
- Rob makes me do a lot of band and chain work.
- Rob makes me push and pull the sled a LOT.
Though sleds are becoming more and more popular in the big box gym world, they remain fairly rare pieces of equipment in most gyms. You can, however, throw together your own sled using stuff you can find in a local junk yard such as a rip cord/rope and large tire, or some basic car parts on some skis.
The easiest, most readily available alternative is a plain old treadmill. You can also perform what is called a “dead-mill sprint”. The key concept is to use a dead treadmill, or an older model treadmill with the power turned off. Sprint using your explosive energy to make the tread move. Control your acceleration according to the quality of the treadmill, keep your deceleration controlled and steady, and do your best not to plod your feet or slam hard to prevent damage to the machine.
Dead Mill Session Examples
- #1 - 20 seconds sprinting / 20 seconds resting - Repeat for 8 rounds
- #2 - Distance: 1/2 mile walk for time
- #3 - 10 seconds sprint / 30 seconds fast walk / 10 seconds sprint / rest - Repeat for 5 rounds
Explosive. Point Blank.
Explosive pulls are a great way to not only improve cardio vascularity in an interval style, but also take advantage of the dynamic movement and help strengthen the posterior chain. One great way to do this is to work with a moderate weight on your sled where your walking form is by no means hindered.
Every step should be quick and strong, much like a competitive power walker. Heel to toe, and very explosive. A quick tip we use in the field to guarantee this is to use metal plates on your sled so they clang on each yank. This quick explosive shot helps growth and develop the glutes, one of your main drivers in the posterior chain. These can be done for max weight sets, timed rest points and timed pulls. Combining any or all of these techniques can help you develop your cardio vascularity, explosive strength and speed.
Explosive Session Examples
- #1 - 30 yard sprint, 1 minute rest. Repeat 10 rounds
- #2 - 5-10 yard burst intervals with power walking in between for longer distances
- #3 - Buddy sprints. Take turns sprinting or power walking a set distance. Your only rest period being the time it takes for your buddy to complete their distance.
The least enjoyed but the most beneficial for those looking for overall aerobic capacity and strength is distance for time under tension. Using the sled and a track, one can use a light-to-moderate weight for a steady and consistent long distance pull. This can be done for time under load or timed distance for development. If you really want to get technical, you can always use a heart monitor to maintain a consistent level of heart rate along with your timed work to develop that much more! Form and technique are important here. Maintain an athletic stance and proper posture. If your posture fails, take a short break and get back into the fight.
Endurance/Distance Session Examples
- #1 - Lower weight for a long distance as quickly as possible (1/4 mile is a good starting point)
- #2 - 20 minutes, dragging as far as possible. Each minute, stop and do a few push-ups or bodyweight squats.
- #3 Set up a moderately long lap / course. Start with a heavy weight, dropping the weight each round lap until you're down to the sled only.
Using unique techniques helps kill the monotony of walking on your inclined treadmill at 6am for your fasted cardio. Whether you’re a bikini competitor, competitive bodybuilder, or someone that wants to get shredded for summer – Sled Strong may be the breath of fresh air you’ve been searching for. Find a heavy ass sled, conquer your goal.
Prepared by Rob Saeva
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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of USPlabs or any employee thereof. Examples used within this article are only examples. USPlabs is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the authors of this article. Content contributors are not employees of USPlabs. Authors may have been remunerated by USPlabs.
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