The Sled Complex is a great obstacle race training "finisher" for your workout, whether you're an obstacle racer or just looking for a fun alternative to gain overall body strength, blast your core and increase your stamina. It's also a metabolism booster—and a great exercise for MMA athletes.
For obstacle racers, a strong core and grip strength are vital. Spartan Races, for example, typically have hercules and rope climbs, sometimes even at the end when you are tired. The Sled Complex "pull portion" works all those muscles to help you up that rope-wall, or to climb the rope, or hoist the hercules—and avoid the dreaded Burpees.
The Sled Complex's push portion strengthens your leg muscles for those hills, especially your calves. It also trains you to be able to work when tired, which is largely what obstacle racing is about.
You only need three sets. This is a finisher, to be performed after your regular workout.
Sled Complex Finisher
Set up a sled or prowler* with weights and a rope, and with access to a 20- to 25-yard strip. (Note that a sled and prowler may differ in friction and weight. When I use the prowler, I start with 60 pounds; with the sled I start with 35 pounds.) Place two or three weights on the equipment, because one will be stripped off after each set. Be prepared for three sets with no (or minimal) rest between them. See a demonstration in video player above.
- Standing 20-25 yards away from the sled and in squat stance, pull the sled toward you using the rope. When the sled reaches you, push if back to the starting point.
- Strip off one weight.
- Run back to the end of the rope and lie down on your back. Grab onto the rope and pull the sled toward you, finishing overhead. When the sled reaches you, push it back to the starting point. Strip off the second weight.
- Run back to the end of the rope and in a plank position, grab onto the rope and pull the sled toward you. Do a half a length with each side so you work them both equally.
- You can mix up plank position on your elbows or push-up position. The demonstration video shows both variations. Push the sled back, and you're done.
The Sled Complex has been known to make first-timers sore, especially in the upper back and core (particularly the serratus anterior, the muscles surrounding your ribs.) It's something to keep in mind. You will likely engage muscles that don't get worked much during typical training sessions.
I recommend doing this once per week. Include it as part of your obstacle race training, and enjoy the payoff on race day.
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