January 13, 2022 8 min read

To add a much higher level of variety and intensity to your workout routine, consider an exercise called the sled push. Also known as the prowler sled, the sled push is an excellent exercise for overall conditioning, strength development, improving your speed and acceleration, and burning calories effectively. Use it to finish your leg workout or make it part of a full-body circuit. Adding the sled push to your workout routine will challenge your body to achieve better results and to build massive amounts of power, speed, and endurance.

Getting Prepared for the Sled Push

Just like before you do any new type of exercise, remember that it is vital to avoid any type of risk of injury to your back or to your shoulders. Always perform a lengthy warm-up before and after your workout and use all of the information we are providing in this article to become familiar with the correct ways of doing sled pushes for the maximum benefit.

A good example of a lengthy warm-up would be to use a foam roller. If you enjoy doing  early morning workouts, you might want to warm up slowly with a foam roller. This can be one of the best ways to stretch out specific muscle groups and prepare them for the sled pushes you will be doing. Keep in mind that to allow your body enough time to recover properly, you should be resting for a good 48 hours before stretching the same muscle groups.

As with any cardio exercise, if you start to feel any kind of pain or discomfort while you are doing your sled push exercises, stop what you are doing and check your form. If the pain continues, identify the area and then consult a doctor or your personal trainer for further guidance.

Benefits of the Sled Push

You will find that sled pushes are very effective  full-body exercises that can really help you build strength. In addition, the sled push helps you build power and speed in all of your muscle groups, which can boost your workout performance and burn more calories. Here we will discuss some of the main benefits of adding this move to your cardio routine. As mentioned above, the sled push is a full-body workout. When it is performed correctly, the sled push will work both upper and lower body muscles. More specifically, this exercise will engage your quadriceps, glutes, calves, hamstrings, abdominals, and hip flexors. It will also work all of your chest muscles, as well as your biceps, your triceps, and your shoulders.

All these muscle groups will be heavily engaged whether or not you add any type of weight to the sled. If you want to know more about the specificity of this kind of training, the sled push has commonly been referred to as a  sports-specific leg press. This refers to an exercise that builds muscle by harnessing resistance against an opposing force. Strength training can also be called resistance training (or progressive resistance training). The amount of resistance can come entirely from your body, or from free weights, barbells, dumbbells, elasticized bands, or specialized machines like the sled.

If you want to burn a lot of calories in a short time, try a sled push. If you have never pushed a weighted sled, you are in for a real workout. Whether you incorporate the sled push into a full-body circuit or use it as a finisher in your training with a few sets of sled pushes, you will greatly increase the overall calorie burning potential of your workout. For overall conditioning, we suggest you alternate between heavy sled and light sled training to focus on both speed and power. If you load the sled with moderate to heavy resistance (heavy weights), you can train in a cardiovascular way by increasing your heart rate and also increasing your muscular strength and endurance.

To train for speed, just use a lighter weight and push the sled faster. You can also remove the weights completely and push the sled around at a slower pace for a longer amount of time (more reps) to boost your endurance and general fitness. Of course, pushing a sled with any load at all is going to give you superior results than unrestricted sled pushes. More specifically, loading the sled with heavier weights will produce the greatest gains in your sprinting performance over short distances and it will really build up your upper body strength as well. In terms of functional training, you might not need to push a large sled during your routine activities, but you may sometimes need to push a heavy object (for example, when you decide to move a piece of furniture).

You’ll find that pushing a sled can greatly enhance your ability to perform these other types of day-to-day tasks. According to the  National Strength and Conditioning Association, you need static strength in your core muscles to stabilize and hold your body position while you are pushing something with your upper arms. You need to know the proper hip angles to move objects safely and you also need to know how to brace your lower back to prevent injury. Doing sled pushes carefully like this can really lead to some phenomenal results. Combining them with some proper rest and recovery periods can also help your bodybuilding routine immensely. A good supplement that you might want to include with this type of exercise is our  Hyperbolic Stack Advanced Pump for Endurance & Recovery.

Athletic ability is built upon your strength, endurance, and your ability to recover, because the quicker your body can recover, the more you can train. The Hyperbolic Stack is formulated to help restore electrolytes and increase nitric oxide production, and it is designed to optimize your overall athletic performance.

How to Use the Sled Push in Your Workout Routine

How you ultimately decide to do a sled push depends on your ability, fitness level, and exercise goals. If you are new to the sled push, we recommend starting in a more upright high-grip position, with your hands higher on the sled. This puts your body at about a 45-degree angle, which is safer for your lower back. If you are more advanced, you can drop to a low-grip position, which places your body at about a 90-degree angle. You should try this position only after you have become familiar with the basic version of the exercise.

How to Use a Sled Push to Build Speed

 

Start by loading the sled with about 25 percent of your maximum load. If you don’t know what this is, simply select a weight you can push for about 10 minutes with short breaks. If you are a beginner, start by pushing the sled with no weight.

  1. Stand behind the sled and grab the poles with a high-grip hand position.
  2. Engage your core muscles and start pushing the sled forward as fast as you can, powering through your entire leg. 
  3. Extend your hips and knees as you move the sled forward. Your foot stance should resemble your natural running position.
  4. Push for about 20 yards.
  5. Rest for up to 60 seconds.
  6. Repeat up to 6 times, resting for 30 to 60 seconds between sets.

How to Use a Sled Push to Build Power

 

In this case, you should load the sled with a moderate to heavy load, which could be about 70 percent of your maximum load. If you don’t know what this is, select a weight that is about 70 percent of your body weight.

  1. Stand behind the sled and grab the poles with a medium- to high-grip hand position.
  2. Engage your core muscles and start pushing the sled forward as fast as you can, powering through your entire leg. 
  3. Extend your hips and knees as you move the sled forward. Your foot stance should resemble your natural running position.
  4. Push for up to 25 yards.
  5. Rest for up to 60 seconds.
  6. Repeat up to 6 times, resting for 30 to 60 seconds between sets.

How to Use a Sled Push to Build Endurance

 

To build much higher levels of endurance, you should load the sled with a light load, which could be about 25 percent of your maximum load. If you don’t know what this is, choose a weight you can push for about 10 minutes with short breaks. If you are a beginner, start by pushing the sled with no weight at all.

  1. Stand behind the sled and grab the poles with a high-grip hand position.
  2. Engage your core muscles and start pushing the sled, powering through your entire leg.
  3. Extend your hips and knees as you move the sled forward. Your foot stance should resemble your natural running position. You don’t need to push as fast as you can since this is not for speed or power.
  4. Do this for about a minute.
  5. Rest for up to 60 seconds.
  6. Repeat a 1-minute push with a 30-second rest up to 10 times.

Safety Considerations

One of the top benefits of the sled push is that you can adapt the exercise to suit all fitness levels. By changing the grip and weight, you can turn a sport-specific power movement into a general fitness exercise. Still, there are definitely a few ways for you to keep this move as safe and effective as it can be. For example, always use a natural running stance when you are pushing the sled around.Keep a neutral spine throughout the entire movement and never round your back. If your core is weak, we recommend that you start with light weights (or no weights at all) and focus on engaging your abdominal muscles and perfecting your form.

Your abdominals, obliques, and deep core muscles such as the transverse abdominis are very important when it comes to sled pushes, as well as similar exercises such as deadlifts, kettlebells, or squats. Your core can even be considered the basis for all of your weightlifting strength. Another good idea is to focus on knee drive when you are pushing the sled. Having your arms in an extended position allows for maximum acceleration, while the bent-arm position is better if you are trying to push heavier weights. Be sure to perform the push on a flat surface.

Most gyms have a designated area where you can slide the sled. Always wear supportive shoes with a sufficient grip and take ample rest breaks between your sets. If you experience any type of pain during these movements, consult with your personal trainer or physical therapist. They can make sure you are performing the exercise with correct form. Again, be sure to get clearance from your doctor or personal trainer if you have any issues with your lower back, ankles, or knees.

Mobility, Strength, and Core Stability

A lot of people tend to struggle with at least one of these mobility and stability issues: tight, overlifted pecs that pull the shoulders and upper back forward, a rigid thoracic spine that does not extend, a weak and unstable core, or inflexible hips, knees, and ankles. Doing overhead sled pushes can sometimes relieve some of these issues. 

Always start with basic positioning and practice the correct form for your sled push workouts. Never just throw some weight on the sled and expect your body to be able to handle it. Sled pushes can help you develop into a stronger, well-rounded athlete, but they can also cause serious injuries if you do them with poor form and without learning the fundamentals.

A Functional Full-body Workout

The sled push (or prowler sled) is a functional full-body exercise that really targets your quads, glutes, hip flexors, calves, hamstrings, core, triceps, chest, and shoulders. Depending on your goals, you can decide to push the sled with a minimal amount of weight for a longer duration or load on more resistance and push the sled over shorter distances. 

The sled push is very much adaptable to all fitness levels. If you are new to the gym or if you are returning from an injury, give sled pushing a try in addition to weight training. As you get stronger, keep adding more weight in small increments. Athletes and others at advanced fitness levels can challenge themselves by pushing the sled faster and adding a lot more resistance.

Shedding Those Pounds

If you are worried about your body weight and you are trying to burn a bit of fat at the same time, you might prefer to try our  Whey ISO Shredded Stack. Using a supplement like this can work wonders when combined with proper sled work and a nutritious diet.

Plenty of studies have shown that sled presses and other strength training exercises such as sled pushes can help you manage and sometimes prevent health problems. Doing these types of exercises regularly can help you feel younger, make your day to day tasks more manageable, and lead to better health.