Home > Education > Weight Training Sled exercises and modifications > Why use a Weight Conditoning Sled for natural strength?

We propose to you that the humble weight conditioning sled is perhaps one of the greatest strength training tools, if not the greatest, when it comes to safely and effectively building “real world” strength and muscle armor.

Why a Sled?

A sled allows you to add load to your body and your body’s natural movement patterns without necessarily placing the load directly on your body. This makes using a sled inherently safe. If a person looses focus, their mind drifts, or they simply let go of the weight conditioning sled, nothing happens. Their body is in no danger of being crushed by the sled. When they stop, the sled stops.

Do not equate safety with weakness. The inherent safety of the weight conditioning sled allows a person to really push the limits of their strength because using a sled is neither technical nor difficult, it doesn’t necessarily require mental precision. What it does require is mental tenacity. There is no other strength training tool that will push your body to its limit faster than a sled. There may be no other tool that will allow you to remove those same limits faster than a sled either.

Strength training with a sled does transfer over into the real world. A sled is the real world. They can be pushed, pulled, and dragged, all the while forcing the body to engage in its natural movement patterns. What are our natural movement patterns? Pulling, pushing, rotation, squatting, hinging, and gait; these are our natural patterns, the patterns our body was designed to make day in and day out. Adding an external load to these patterns is the way to strengthen them.

Yes, strength training using other tools also allows you to add load to these patterns, but a weight conditioning sled does it in a more natural way. How often in life would you need to pick up something heavy and press it straight over your head? How often in life would you need to do that repeatedly while remaining planted in the same spot? Is that really natural? Or would it be more natural to have to push, pull or drag something heavy from one spot to another? How often might you have to do that in your life? Does this make sense?

A sled can be the car you have to push out of the ditch. A sled can be the deer you need to drag from the woods. A sled allows you to be the ox that plows the field. A sled allows you to be the bull dozer that pushes the wall. It allows you to use your body the way it was meant to be used. It takes advantage of your original strength, your foundation of strength, and adds more structure to it by allowing you to add load, resistance and distance to the natural, real world patterns your body is designed to make. This is how you fill in any gaps in your strength. This is how your body becomes more resilient.

In life, the only thing you will ever have to snatch over your head from the ground is any strength tool that ends with the word “bell” (barbell, dumbbell, kettlebell, etc…). There is nothing wrong with snatching weight overhead, but unless that is the sole goal, the transfer to the real world may be limited and the risk/reward ratio may be higher than necessary.

No tool will allow you to challenge your body, add strength, size and power to your body, as effectively and safely as a sled will. Best of all, no other training tool is as versatile as a weight conditioning sled. If you have an imagination, you have a limitless tool in a sled. You can add weight to a sled, or take weight off. You can drag a weight conditioning sled inside, outside, on grass or in sand. You can attach a harness to a sled and crawl, walk, march or run. You can attach ropes to a sled and whip them, pull them, or jump them. You can attach special bars to a sled that allow you to push. There is no more versatile tool, Period.

Best of all, a weight conditioning sled is used and powered by the best training resource - your body and your brain. Consequently, a sled is a great way to strengthen both. Sleds won’t just help you add strength and size to your physical frame, they will also help you add strength and tenacity to your mind. Sled training can be used as one of the more mentally grueling forms of training. When your brain and body eventually experience the “brutality” of training with a sled become easy, you have a mind and body capable of anything. That is strength!