Best Weight Sleds
A total body exercise which burns fat, builds muscle, increases stamina, and can be done frequently without injury? The benefits of training with a weight sled seem too good to be true. Whether performed as a cardio finish to barbell training, or as a workout in its own right, sled work goes with anything. One of the big benefits is that sleds provide a 100% concentric exercise, meaning the movements require contractions which shorten the muscles targeted. The heavier the object, the more strength is generated, and more muscle mass produced. The opposite form of exercise is the eccentric contraction, where the muscle lengthens as the resistance becomes greater, such as when performing a barbell squat. This makes sleds a great partner exercise to most barbell lifts, and is one of the reasons it’s a staple in CrossFit and Strongman Competitions. In terms of conditioning, a 200-pound athlete can burn upwards of 500 calories in just 30 minutes of sled pushing/pulling, all the while developing muscles up and down the same way Clydesdale horses would.
Best Weight Sleds
The great thing about sled workouts is the variety they afford. Whether you only have a few minutes after a powerlifting workout, or you want to make an event out of it, sleds can toast your muscles either way. The most obvious movement of course is strapping the harness onto your torso and pulling the sled as would a horse and wagon. But notice the harness set has a cinch pin on the chest side as well, as you can also pull weight walking backwards, which switches the stress from the hamstrings to the quads. Pushing the sled, whether high or low, is a good speed-building skill particularly for football players looking to increase power. Other drills include the pull-through, where one pulls the sled from behind them, with the straps between their legs, as they pop their hands upward. You can incorporate a burpee movement into this, by performing that movement and then pulling the sled up from between your legs for a full measure, then repeat.
Sleds for Strength or Endurance
Your sled workout will vary based on your goals. Remember, your Type 1 muscle fibers are designed for long-term endurance, while your Type 2s are for bursts of power. If you’re looking to build stamina and endurance, you’ll want a slightly lighter load for longer, slower drags. Meanwhile, if you’re looking to build explosive power, the heavier weights for shorter bursts are the way to activate those Type 2s. Both types of training, Long Slow Distance, and High Intensity Interval Training, can effectively burn fat. But if you’re looking to incorporate a sled drill into your powerlifting program, then short bursts of hamstring-heavy movements are probably the way to go. Cyclists and distance runners can also benefit from a lighter load over a greater distance.
1. Valor Fitness Weight Sled
A lot of poundage with a relatively small foot print, the Valor Fitness Weight Sled brings the basics to the individual looking for a workout. Constructed with 9-gauge, 4mm thick steel, the 28-inch x 9-inch x 16-inch unit weighs just 16 pounds but sports a max weight load of 300 pounds. The unit has a loadable, 15-inch weight peg which can hinge up or down, for use or storage. The sled attaches to a 10.5-foot Nylon strap with 4.5-foot long harness featuring dual loop straps for pulling, whether frontwards or backwards. A portable unit good for home or the gym, this model works best on grass and turf surfaces so as to prevent scratching and other damage.
2. Rogue Dog Sled 1.2
Built to accessorize, the Rogue Dog Sled 1.2 has been seen at the CrossFit Games and sports a 500-pound weight capacity. Compatible with units sold separately, this sled can be fitted into a Wheelbarrow-style sled, Lawn-Mower, or Double-Hand, with a simple switch. The base unit is 40 inches long, 24 inches wide, and 39.5 inches high, with a 40-inch x 24-inch foot print. Built with 2×3-inch 11-gauge and 0.25-inch plate steel, each sled comes with one carbiner. The sled’s 3-foot high upright push poles are removable and are designed to accommodate both high and low push stances. The 103-pound unit comes with a dragging strap, a 100-foot pulling rope, and plastic skis. Multi-functional, the sled can be used as is for pushing, pulling, or dragging, or can be augmented with accessories to accommodate numerous other styles of exercise.
3. Spud Inc Magic Carpet Sled
Designed as a no-frills, resistance-training piece, the Spud Inc Magic Carpet Sled can go where most cannot. Made of tough leather, the sled’s straps are sold separately but it is compatible with those of other units. Now officially approved for use by the U.S. Army’s Combat Fitness Test, the 4-pound leather sled has an unbelievable weight capacity of 600 pounds worth of steel plates, and can be dragged or pulled across grass, turf, carpet, or any gym flooring. Easy to fold up and place in a gym bag, the unit is 19.5 inches x 23 inches and can go wherever you go.
4. Power Speed Fitness Sled
This multi-functional sled can be pushed, pulled, or dragged, and is built to be used on grass, turf, concrete, or asphalt. With a 500-pound weight capacity, the unit itself weighs 111 pounds and has a 24-inch x 40-inch x 3-inch foot print. The sled is built from 11-gauge steel with a plate tube height of 20 inches and push pole height of 39.5 inches. Designed to place Olympic plates on the tube, the unit comes with a shoulder strap and 10-foot leash with hook. The sled is built to be pushed either high, on the push poles, or low, with a handle down at the base, depending on how much upper back work one desires. The sled can be pulled with the harnesses horse-style, or dragged over the shoulder with a rope.
5. Econ Prowler Weighted Push Sled
The 33-pound Prowler Sled brings a 400-pound weight capacity and is designed to operate on turf, grass, concrete, asphalt. With a 38-inch long center bar, and 28 inches of width between the removable push posts, each of which is 38.5 inches high, the unit is designed for either Olympic or bumper plates. Equipped with detachable front and back handles, the unit can be easily stored, and also hooks up with harnesses for drag workouts, hand-over-hand pulls, or pushing from the front. The unit also comes with a 365-day satisfaction assurance from the manufacturer.