Drag yourself out of the gym and into shape
Patrick Dale provides some examples of exercises using a weighted sledge
Sledges can either be purchased from a strength product retailer or made very cheaply by a local metal worker, being nothing more complicated than a plate of metal with a weight holder in its centre and an upturned front end to prevent catching on debris. Non-elastic straps can be obtained from climbing shops and as for a waist belt – just get your old weight training belt out of the cupboard and use that.
As with all exercise programs, there is no single golden workout that will perform miracles. All workouts will be effective providing we adhere to our basic training principles of progressive overload, recovery, duration, specificity and frequency.
With that in mind, this article will provide you with some basic ideas and suggested exercises to get you started. With weighted sledge dragging your only limit is your imagination, so think “out of the box” and see what ideas you can come up with yourself.
Both of these are great warm-up exercises which are best performed utilizing light loads to prepare us mentally and physically for the work to come
Sideways cross over walking with straps
Bent over Walking
Power walk forwards with chest fly
Power walk backwards with reverse fly
Side steps with cross body lateral raises/external rotations
Power walk forwards with chest press
Power walk backwards with a row to chest
Power walk forwards with biceps curl
Power walk backwards with a row to triceps kick back
Power walk forwards with front raises
Power walk forwards with straps over shoulders
Walking forwards offers a unique challenge to the whole of the posterior chain while walking backwards effectively works the quadriceps and hip flexors. The use of the belt permits greater loads to be utilized as core involvement is all but eliminated.
Sprinting with waist belt
Remember when sprinting to apply the 10% rule if you are concerned with altering technique too much e.g. only use 10% greater load in the exercise when compared to an actual activity being trained for. It is fine to use loads that are excessive of this, but the technique, when compared to it is unloaded variation, will be quite different and increased strength and power may come at the cost of altered technique.
All of the exercises listed above have one thing in common – they are truly functional. Movement is occurring around numerous joints simultaneously and a harmonious use of body parts is required for successful performance of each exercise. In all strap exercises, the core is called upon to actively stabilize the mid-section, and as all exercises are done in the standing position, demands on the central nervous system are substantial. Additionally, there is no eccentric loading in most of the exercise which reduces the possibility of delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and permits frequent training sessions. Many powerlifters, Olympic lifters and field athletes use sledge dragging as a recovery tool from heavy gym-based workouts, as the light loads used can provide an easy session where waste products can effectively be removed and nutrient uptake in muscles improves due to the increased blood flow to the working muscles.
Sledge training is of particular use to the following groups…
Whilst the weather in the UK does not always provide a pleasant environment for outdoor training, even in England the sun sometimes shines, so get outdoors and enjoy it…just wrap up warm!
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About the Author
Patrick Dale has 15 years of fitness industry experience. He has a wide and varied sporting history, having participated at a high level in athletics, rugby, rock climbing, trampolining, triathlon, weightlifting and bodybuilding.
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