Pulling a sled is something I really like to do. It’s a very versatile tool, that can be used for building strength, muscle and lungpower, but it’s also a great recovery tool.
So, what are the five reasons I like sleds so much?
- You can load up the hips and legs without loading the spine. With all the squatting, deadlifting and other spinal loading you’re doing, giving the good ol’ backbone a rest is a good thing.
- Strictly concentric. Sledwork has no eccentric phase, which means it will not get you as sore as other types of training. This is great for strength, but even greater for recovery – it’ll let you flush the muscles with blood, without causing additional soreness.
- It’s “functional” as in, it has great carryover to the real world.Pushing/pulling stuff is great for starting cars, hanging out with the kids in the winter and/or handling the dog.
- You can pull a sled outside in the sun (and you can make a sled easily from a spare tire).
- The zombie walk sled pull and the controlled backpedal will blast your legs like few other things.
- It’s great for sprinting, because it slows you down, which forces you to overstride less, which again means lower risk of hamstring injuries.
Yea I know, that’s six, not five, but today I’m doing a little bit extra since it’s Monday and I had a great weekend with the family.
Bonus: 2 different DIY sleds:
A quick congratulations to a good friend and first-timer at the Regionals this morning got me thinking. What’re some do’s and don’t’s for the next month leading up to the Regionals?
First of all, no matter how pumped and enthusiastic you feel – this IS NOT THE TIME to increase training volume dramatically. Keep your training at the level it was during the Opens without the weekly workout for a week to give you some much needed mental and physical rest. After that, take it up a notch for a couple of weeks, before tapering down again the week before. You should be firing on all cylinders at this point – resist the urge to go all out.
So what can you do? There are four categories:
- Rest. Get your sleep. You should be in bed by 10pm and stay there for at least 8 hours. Every night.
- Food. Diet should be near perfect at this point. Don’t cut calories at this point and for the love of God, don’t cut carbs. Make sure to drink lots of water and cut down on stimulants.
- Training: decrease volume of lifting while keeping intensity the same. Cut off 25% each week the last two weeks.
- Others. If you don’t have the first two nailed, this wont make a huge difference, but I’ll go in depth with this below.
Physiotherapist/osteopath/whatever: if you have any injuries – have someone look at them. Even if they’re minor niggles. Make sure to let them know you’re competing in a month. Get everything addressed.
Massage: I’d recommend getting a good massage therapist to go through you at least a couple of times before showtime. I’m not talking about wellness-massage. You probably have some knots that could use some attention.
Foamrolling: just like massage, though self administered. Don’t go crazy but work your problem areas NOW and for the next couple of weeks.
Sauna: Meh. It’s not really something I’d do. I used to and it was ok, but unless you have access to one for free, I’d rather spend the money on quality food and massage and the time on meditation/visualization.
Meditation/visualization: This is something I’d invest at least 10 minutes in each and every day.
Finally if you have the possibility to do it – take some time off work – either a full (couple of) week(s) or take some early days. Keep stress to a minimum.
See you at the Regionals, I hope you kick ass.