If you're looking to change up your workouts, a fitness sled is an excellent choice. A training sled is all about pushing or pulling the sled with a focus on speed, endurance, or weights (or a balance of all three!).
Unlike a treadmill that focuses on cardio fitness or weights that are best used for strength training, a push sled will strengthen your muscles while improving your cardiovascular fitness.
But what are the other benefits of using a training sled in your workout routine? Learn everything you need to know so that you can decide if a fitness sled is the best investment for you.
What Is a Push Sled?
Whether you played American football yourself or just watched every season of "Friday Night Lights", you're probably familiar with the image of players in training pushing metal equipment across the field. This is the same premise of a home training sled.
However, unlike traditional sleds that you might find on a football field, top brands offer products that are designed for any surface and for anyone to use from home.
And while it may be called a push sled, it's not limited to pushing. Add ropes and turn your gym sled into a pulling one, either standing in place and pulling it toward you or wrapping it around your waist and trying to advance with it behind you.
Why Use a Push Sled
A sled workout should never be underestimated. Whether you're looking to tone your body or strengthen your muscles, you'll find you can accomplish your goals with a sled workout.
When you use a fitness sled, you're in both a cardio and strength training workout. The movement mimics what you might do when running, and you must use your endurance to complete a run. However, there's plenty of resistance as well, requiring you to tap into your muscles to move the equipment.
While many people tend to favour one over the other, both cardio and strength training are crucial to your overall health and each carries unique benefits.
What Muscles Are Worked When Using a Push Sled?
When you lift weights with certain movements, you're targeting one or several muscle groups. If you're on an exercise bike, you'll target your leg muscles. But if you're looking to strengthen as many muscles as possible in a short workout, you can't go wrong with this pushing workout.
Not only are you pushing with your arms, but you're also driving your legs into the ground. Your core is working to maintain proper form and is engaged throughout.
Here are some muscle groups you'll work:
- Hip Flexors
How to Use a Gym Sled
There are a wide variety of workouts you can do with this equipment, which is crucial as adding variety to your workouts is the best way to get results. However, while you can vary the moves greatly, there are typically three primary ways to use the equipment:
- Grip each bar with one hand, pushing it across a run.
- Attach a rope accessory to the equipment. Stand in a wide stance, knees bent, and use the rope to pull the equipment toward you, hand over hand.
- Waist Pulling. With a waist rope accessory attached to yourself and the equipment, drive your legs forward in a running motion, the equipment following behind.
From there, you can determine the amount of resistance/weight you want to be pushing or pulling. You can also choose to focus on longer runs for endurance, faster runs for speed, or adding more resistance for intense strength training.
Using Your Fitness Sled at Home
Ready to bring your training sled home with you? Learn more about what you need to know before you buy.
How Much Does a Gym Sled Weigh Before Adding Weights?
The weight of a fitness sled will depend on the brand and design. For example, the Tank sled comes in a variety of models with the lightest coming in at less than 70 pounds and the largest weighing 244 pounds. If you plan to take your equipment out of the house for a workout, to a field for example, you may want to opt for the lighter, more portable options.
How to Protect Your Floor When Using a Gym Sled
The brand Tank sled is designed with wheels to work well on any surface. However, if you have beautiful floors that you want to keep in pristine condition, adding material like astroturf to the ground to create a run is ideal for your home gym.
How Much Space You'll Need for a Good Run
Again, this will depend on the equipment. The traditional run is tens of yards long. However, with a Tank sled, you can also get a good workout in at only 10 yards of space.
Tips for Proper Form and Technique
A benefit of a sled workout is how easy it is to master. However, that doesn't mean you shouldn't ensure you have the right environment and work on your form to power through your movements. Here are some tips to follow during your sled workout:
- Engage your core. This will give you more power and strengthen your abdomen.
- Keep your spine neutral. Use your arms to push and legs to drive. Don't push with your back.
- Work on an even surface.
- Wear shoes that won't slip while you're running.
The Bottom Line
If you're looking to workout from home but unsure of where to start with purchasing equipment, a machine like a Tank sled could be the perfect addition. It does require space, but if you have the room, you can quickly get in an excellent workout in little time.
With just one run, you'll target all major muscle groups while getting your heart rate up and pumping. This is ideal for strength training and weight loss. And perhaps the best part is that when you choose a brand like Tank sled, there aren't so many accessories to keep track of, everything's there in this one piece of equipment.
If you're ready push and pull yourself to peak fitness, give this equipment a chance. You'll love the results.