Push the Sled for a Full Body Workout

We recently added a new Rogue Dog Sled to the fitness floor, so there’s no better time to explain why you would want to even consider exercising with a contraption that resembles a sled usually pulled by dogs in the winter.

Until recently, sled training was primarily used with athletes because of its effectiveness for improving strength, power, endurance and conditioning all at the same time.  The secret is that you don’t have to be an athlete to benefit from this amazing exercise.  You can do many exercises with the sled but this article will focus on the Sled Push.

Many of the same muscle groups used in the squat and deadlift exercises are recruited during the sled pushing movement.  When you push with your arms extended, your upper body and core has to remain stable and tight so you really get a great leg, core and upper body exercise all wrapped in one.  You are also pushing with one leg at a time each step so I consider it a single leg exercise which only adds to the challenge and benefit.

You can probably skip your cardio if you do the exercise correctly.  Using all those muscles to push a heavy sled will get your heart rate up like you were sprinting across the room.

Our sled has removable handles so you can quickly change direction and keep moving.  This makes the sled push an effective tool for interval training which if you didn’t know is a great way to burn fat in less time than traditional cardio.

Who would have thought a dog sled could be so beneficial to humans! Here are some tips to do the exercise correctly

  • Hold the 2 upright bars at about hip height
  • Take a few steps back so you are leaning into the handles
  • Push with one leg until fully extended then step with the other and repeat
  • If you have healthy shoulders keep the arms extended as you push
  • Use a weight that is challenging to push.  If you can easily push or turn the sled it’s not heavy enough.  That’s why the bars are removable- you shouldn’t want to turn it!

Recommended Guidelines

  • Beginner:  Use just the sled which weighs 100 lbs
  • Intermediate:  Add 45 – 90lbs
  • Advanced: Add 90+ lbs

Learn something new!


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As an athletic trainer at Williams College and North Adams State College, Dan Murphy - aka Murph - got the opportunity to train, assess and rehabilitate athletes in a variety of sports including hockey, football, lacrosse, tennis, track and field, soccer, baseball and softball. He holds numerous fitness certifications and has been instrumental in helping The Clubs at Charles River Park evolve to a wellness center. Murph lives with his college sweetheart with whom he has two exuberant kids. He also plays bagpipes with the Bunker Hill Pipe Band from Charlestown - they recently performed before the first Bruins game of the season! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9cB8nCkIZJk)

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