Does Sled Training Actually Develop Core Strength?

These sled variations may not be the sexiest exercises, but they will definitely aid you in developing a stronger core.

Performing heavy sled training (drags and pushes) seems like the new thing to show off strength. However, beyond just pushing and pulling massive amounts of weights, the sled can be used as a highly effective core strengthening tool.

I believe to enhance the core musculature you must perform exercises to target the serape effect; which is to train the "criss-cross"'/"cross-body" portion, which creates optimal length-tension effectively for force production, maximizing the interaction of the rhomboids, the serratus anterior, external obliques, and internal obliques that are primarily used in sports. You might not have known it but the same medicine ball, stability balls and band exercises you do incorporates the serape effect.

Sled Pull

These sled training exercises are the best way to get you to hit those respective muscle groups that may have been ignored while you were building your legs and upper body with the high-intensity sled drags and pulls.

1. Lateral Sled Pull with Pallof Press—Isometric Hold

  • Load the sled (light to start) and attach straps to the front of the sled. Stand to the side of the sled and grasp the straps with both arms extended in front of your chest.
  • Your feet should be under your hips with your knees slightly flexed.
  • Brace the core musculature to create tension throughout the whole body.
  • Keep the straps in the center of your chest with your arms fully extended.
  • Step away from the sled with the outside leg, and pull the sled to full tension and hold this position.

2. Lateral Sled Pull with Pallof Press

  • Load the sled (light to start) and attach straps to the front of the sled. Stand to the side of the sled and grasp the straps with both hands near your chest.
  • Your feet should be under your hips with your knees slightly flexed.
  • Brace the core musculature to create tension throughout your whole body.
  • Step laterally with the leg furthest from the sled, then press the strap away from your chest, and pull the sled (repeat for minimal distance).

3. Lateral Sled High Pull

  • Start with a very light load on the sled with straps attached to the front of the sled. Stand to the side of the sled and grasp the straps with both arms down near your waist and the straps at full tension.
  • The feet should be under your hips with your knees slightly flexed and your hips pushed back without arching the back.
  • Explosively thrust your hips forward to raise the straps over your head. Be sure to keep your elbows high and your heels flat on the floor.
  • Once a high pull is completed, return the straps to a position near your waist at full tension before beginning the next repetition.

4. Bird Dog Crawl with Pull Through

  • Start with a very light load on the sled with straps attached to the front of the sled. Begin in the quadruped position facing away from the sled with a strap in each hand.
  • Perform the bird dog movement by extending an arm (pull through) and leg on opposite sides of the body.
  • After each extension, maintain a neutral spine and crawl forward slightly to positon the body for the next repetition with the opposite arm and leg.
  • During the extension of the arms and legs, the front arm should not be extended above the head, and the leg should not be extended above the hips.

5. Dead Bug with Lateral Sled Pull

  • Start with a very light load on the sled with lengthy straps attached to the front of the sled. Begin in a dead bug position with the strap in the opposite hand from the sled.
  • Perform a "cross-body" Sled Pull by keeping your body (core) tight throughout each pull. Pull and lower the opposite leg simultaneously.
  • Repeat on the opposite side.

These sled variations may not be the sexiest exercises, nor give you the "show and go" muscles you want to see but they will definitely aid you in developing a stronger core, which is most ignored but most important when maximizing performance.

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Topics: PRESS | WEIGHTS | MEDICINE BALL | SPINE | BAND EXERCISES | STABILITY BALL | WHOLE BODY | SLED TRAINING | BIRD DOG