The Sled or “Prowler” is a great tool for Linear Speed, Lateral Speed, Lateral Force Production or Cardiovascular Training. We use this with all populations, including youth athletes (controlled movements without much load) so WHEN and HOW it’s used is important because specific athletes have specific needs!
Using the Sled for the wrong reasons can be detrimental to an athlete’s development so make sure you implement this exercise correctly.
This goes back to the NEEDS ANALYSIS article I wrote.
Training Lateral Force Production
This type of sled drag is slower because more weights are loaded on the sled. This means that the athlete will not move the weight as fast, even though the athlete’s INTENT is to do so!
Training Lateral Speed
When we train lateral speed, the athlete will move the sled much faster. This is because the weights are at sub-maximal loads (usually 30-50% of an athletes’ max sled drag). With this “lightened” load, rate of force production is trained, meaning how fast can the athlete move that given weight!
Sets & Reps
When we perform both types of exercises, we want to make sure each rep is efficient and that technique does not break down. When fatigue sets in, technique breaks down, leading to potential injury. This is why rest periods are so important.
To prevent technique breakdown, resting for 2-3 minutes between each sled drag will help an athlete recover for the next set. With the amount of rest given, each rep is max effort so there is little to no breakdown during the entirety of the exercise!