As the popularity of functional fitness continues to surge, some exercises have emerged as sort of poster children for the genre. These dynamic, Instagram-friendly movements—usually involving advanced apparatus like sleds and battle ropes—do well to pique the curiosity of the mainstream and attract newcomers to this style of training.
They’re also the last moves you’d ever want to do without proper instruction.
Here, Dogpound founding trainer KC McLoughlin demonstrates and provides tips on how to push a weighted sled with perfect form to reap maximum results.
A powerful posterior chain movement, the sled push will tax your glutes and light up your core. Best of all, it can be beneficial to your training regardless of whether your goal is to pack on new muscle or fine-tune your conditioning.
“I like to do it as a strength builder and walk with it,” McLoughlin says. “If you want to go for a performance-based sled push, you’re going to want to run with it.”
Regardless of your goals, you’re going to want to use the same basic form. Staying low, maintaining a neutral spine, and driving through your legs are key, McLoughlin says. He starts with his arms extended holding the sled’s handles and shoulders active, but if you’re just starting out, keep your elbows bent with your arms close to your torso (while maintaining a neutral spine, of course). Once you become more comfortable pushing the sled, extend your arms.
After you’ve assumed the proper position depending on your experience, you’ll focus on driving with your legs. McLoughlin starts in a staggered position with one foot in front of the other and advises driving with the front foot, pushing off the rear. Raise your knees upward aggressively, like you’re doing a high knee drill while you’re pushing.
McLoughlin says he likes to use sled pushes as a workout finisher to “empty the tank.” If you want to try the same, load up the sled with moderate weight and push for 4 rounds of 40 seconds, with 20 seconds of rest between.