Hate Jogging? Sled Walk Drills Are The Perfect Alternative

A big benefit of sled training is that it doesn't take away from your strength work in the weight room.

The sled has become a popular training tool in recent years. It's mostly used to improve acceleration and/or anaerobic conditioning.

What many athletes and coaches don't realize is that sled work is also an excellent way to train the aerobic system. Compared to jogging, which (unfortunately) still remains the number one option for many trainees when it comes to aerobic conditioning, there's minimal wear and tear on the joints, so you won't experience the shin splints or knee problems that often arise from repetitive running when training with the sled. This makes it a superior exercise choice for larger athletes in general, as well as individuals with any previous lower-body issues.

Another big benefit of sled training is that it doesn't take away from your strength work in the weight room as do some other forms of endurance training. Even at a relatively high training frequency, nervous system and muscle recovery won't be an issue. If your endurance is holding you back, sled training four or five times per week will bring up your conditioning fast without hampering your strength workouts.

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The sled has become a popular training tool in recent years. It's mostly used to improve acceleration and/or anaerobic conditioning.

What many athletes and coaches don't realize is that sled work is also an excellent way to train the aerobic system. Compared to jogging, which (unfortunately) still remains the number one option for many trainees when it comes to aerobic conditioning, there's minimal wear and tear on the joints, so you won't experience the shin splints or knee problems that often arise from repetitive running when training with the sled. This makes it a superior exercise choice for larger athletes in general, as well as individuals with any previous lower-body issues.

Another big benefit of sled training is that it doesn't take away from your strength work in the weight room as do some other forms of endurance training. Even at a relatively high training frequency, nervous system and muscle recovery won't be an issue. If your endurance is holding you back, sled training four or five times per week will bring up your conditioning fast without hampering your strength workouts.

Last, but certainly not least, the sled is a highly versatile piece of equipment that allows you to bang out quick yet effective workouts when you're short on time.

Jogging or riding the stationary bike for an hour may not fit your busy schedule, but we all have 15-20 minutes to invest into pushing, pulling or dragging a sled. Here are three simple sled walk variations you can use to increase your aerobic conditioning.

*For rest periods, around 60-75 seconds between reps works as a guideline for these exercises. Aim for 6-10 total work reps per session.

1. Sled Push

You're probably familiar with a basic Sled Push, so we'll address the main points quickly.

Grabbing the uprights, lean forward. "Punch" your knee through and lead with the toes as your foot strikes the ground. Extend your leg fully to complete each step.

Remember that this is a sled walk, not a sled sprint, so don't rush your steps. Furthermore, the load should be lighter than what you'd normally use, because the distance is much greater than what you're used to. Depending on the surface and how much friction it offers, a 45-pound plate could very well be enough resistance here.

Recommended Distance Per Rep: 40-100 meters

2. Backward Sled Walk

Wrap one end of a pulling strap around your waist and attach the other end to the sled. Bend slightly at the hips and knees, lean slightly back to get the sled moving, and walk backwards.

If a pulling strap is not available, tie a dip/chin-up belt around your waist and connect it to the sled with a chain.

Recommended Distance Per Rep: 30-60 meters

3. Sled Drag

The best setup for this movement involves a harness attached to the sled which leaves your hands free. You won't find that in most gyms, so your next option is hooking up a basic rope attachment to a sled pulling strap, as seen in the video above.

If you don't have either of those available, use a dip/chin-up belt around your waist and connect it to the sled with a chain.

Recommended Distance Per Rep: 40-100 meters

In a small group setting, pairing two athletes per sled ensures that work-rest ratios stay on point without interfering with the flow of the training session. Athlete A would cover roughly one half (or the entire length) of a football field pushing/dragging/walking with the sled, then athlete B jumps in. The athletes will then keep alternating turns in a "you go, I go" fashion for the prescribed number of reps.

Photo Credit: gradyreese/iStock

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Topics: LOWER BODY | UPPER BODY | AEROBIC SYSTEM | SLED TRAINING