Updated: Jun 23, 2020
Sled training has become a staple training method in the fitness world. Bodybuilders use it for conditioning and muscle-building purposes, whereas sprinters use it to improve acceleration.
I like combining sled sprints with weight and plyometric training in order to use the three training components at the same time: Strength, power and cardio conditioning.
John Knieriem, who has been training for the past months with me, had his first arduous experience with sled training this week. His training progression has been follow a year periodisation which includes all the fitness components, aiming a lean and strong body.
His training this last Monday:
A1. Back squat 3x12-15
A2. Walking lunges 3x10-12
A3. Sled sprints 3x15meters
B1. Dumbbells Press up 3x15
B2. Weighted burpees 3x10-12
B3. Sled sprints 3x15meters
C. V-up crunches 3x15-20
C. Mountain climbers 3x15
C. Rope slashing
Sprinting for Fat Loss and VO2 max
Sprinting in high intensity interval training (HIIT) format is the most commonly utilized type when paired with a traditional gym-based strength training routine. Also known as wind sprints, tempo runs, shuttle runs, or “suicides”, these types of sprints cause a large metabolic response resulting in increased calorie expenditure and an increase in the circulating levels of HGH and testosterone[1 - 2]. These effects have a huge positive influence on reducing body fat.
The shortened rest periods for these sprints do not allow for full recovery, so the body has to rely on heavily on the anaerobic glycolysis energy pathway in order to produce ATP. This energy pathway results in temporary acidosis due to an accumulation of hydrogen ions, and it is theorized that this is what triggers the increase in hGH. On the other hand, these workouts are not as taxing on the CNS because the average sprint intensity is lower.
The protocols for fat loss are similar to those for hypertrophy, with the main differences being that the rest intervals are shortened and the work periods are lengthened. For these sprints, the intensity of effort is more important than the actual velocity. Remember that the more you “feel the burn”, the greater the subsequent increase in hGH will be, so use that as motivation when you are wanting to call it quits before you have completed all of your reps. I like using a variety of sprint durations in the 10-60 second range and keeping the work-to-rest ratio between 2:1-1:3.
These fat loss workouts should be fairly short, under the 20-minute range including warm-up time, so they can be easily added onto the end of a gym workout or they can be performed as a separate workout on their own. Tacking on a short HIIT session at the end of your workout 2-4 times per week would be an effective addition to your routine that wouldn’t compromise your gains in the weight room.
1. Hackney, A. C., K. P. Hosick, A. Myer, D. A. Rubin, and C. L. Battaglini. "Testosterone Responses to Intensive Interval versus Steady-state Endurance Exercise." Journal of Endocrinological Investigation J Endocrinol Invest 35, no. 11 (2012): 947-50. doi:10.1007/bf03346740.
2. Wahl, Patrick, Christoph Zinner, Silvia Achtzehn, Wilhelm Bloch, and Joachim Mester. "Effect of High- and Low-intensity Exercise and Metabolic Acidosis on Levels of GH, IGF-I, IGFBP-3 and Cortisol." Growth Hormone & IGF Research 20, no. 5 (2010): 380-85. doi:10.1016/j.ghir.2010.08.001.
3. Gordon, S. E., W. J. Kraemer, J. M. Lynch, and N. H. Vos. "Effect Of High-Intensity Cycle Exercise And Acid-Base Balance On The Proportion Of Free And Total Insulin-Like Growth Factor-1 In Human Serum." Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 25, no. Supplement (1993). doi:10.1249/00005768-199305001-00438.