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Pushing a sled mimics how football players have to explode off the line.
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Incorporating weight sled pushing exercises into your workouts is beneficial whether you're an athlete looking to build explosive power or simply interested in losing body fat. A weight sled, which is also commonly referred to as a Prowler, features a flat bottom, which allows it to slide over grass, track or artificial grass surfaces. You can load the sled up with weighted plates to increase the load that you have to push.
Sled Pushing Technique
Many sleds feature handles at different heights. Ideally, you grip the sled so that your hands are at hip height. This ensures that your glutes are the primary muscle driving the sled forward. A grip of a lower height, which forces you to be in a more parallel to the ground position, places a greater percentage of load on your quads and is more challenging. With plenty of free room ahead of you, powerfully drive your legs off the floor and sprint as hard as you can, pushing the sled ahead of you. Continue sprinting until you're completed the assigned distance.
Pushing a weighted sled requires the contribution from an array of muscles in your lower body, core and arms. Driving the sled forward are your hip extensors, which include your gluteus maximus and hamstrings, your quadriceps, which extend your knees, and your calves, which handle movement at the ankles as you push off the ground. Your abdominals and obliques isometrically contract to keep your torso in a static position. Your shoulders and triceps help out by keeping your arms in a locked out position.
Training Benefits of Sled Pushing
Athletes of a variety of sports, including football, volleyball, skating, soccer and basketball, will incorporate the sled pushing exercise into their workouts. The exercise increases the explosiveness and power in your hips and legs, which in turn means that you are able to push off the ground with greater force and speed. Athletic trainer Mike Boyle adds that weighted sled pushes are effective at eliciting increases in acceleration, meaning you'll be able to get up to top sprinting speed more quickly. Due to their intensity, sled pushes are also effective at burning a high number of calories in a short amount of time.
Structuring a Workout
Always warm up properly before using the weight sled. For beginners, Stack recommends that you start with five pushing sled drives and gradually increase the reps as you build endurance. Drive the sled ahead for 30-meters during each of the five sets, resting 45 seconds in between each one. If you're using sled pushes to build explosive power, you want to use a weight that still allows your legs to move quickly to sprint at a fast speed. The Human Performance Institute in Virginia Beach recommends a workout that involves six sled pushes for 50 yards, with rest of 30 to 90 seconds between each one, of a workout that consists of 10 sets of sled pushing for 25 yards while increasing the load on the sled every two sets.