By: Clint Cox, Granville High School Strength Coach, TADSports Preformance Coach, NSCA-CSCS, USA Weightlifting
The Diesel Sled is an excellent strength and conditioning tool and is a “must have” for those looking to take their athletes performance to the next level. I like to divide the application of the Diesel Sled into three main phases: -General Physical Preparation -Specific Physical Preparation -Rehab & Regeneration Within each one of these groups the focus should be on one of these types of strength: – Speed Strength – Strength Speed – Strength Endurance
General Physical Preparation The Diesel Sled can be used early in an athletes training program to increase work capacity, strength speed and strength endurance. There are a number of ways to use the Diesel during this important period. It can be used alone by simply grabbing the high or low handles and pushing with a medium to heavy load. You can also use it with other training implement. Attach rings, rope or a strap and you’ll be able to pull it, push it, high and low row with it or do forward and backward walks with it. An advantage to strength training with the Diesel sled during this period is that you can do exercises without the eccentric phase. This will allow for more volume of training without the DOMS (Delay of Muscle Soreness) like traditional exercises. During this period the weight/intensity should be medium to heavy to increase strength and work capacity.
Specific Physical Preparation During this phase look closely at the athletes training status and his/her sport to plan the type of activities with the sled. Should be using lighter loads with the focus on game type of situations and loads. Loads will be light to medium with the high rate of movement as the goal. Example may be an offensive lineman in football. Looking at his movement patterns he will engage with a heavy load for 0-10 yards, 1-6 seconds. Training should try to duplicate as much as possible this activity to truly be specific for his sport. For a football skill player such as a wide receiver a longer distance (10-40 yards) with much lighter load. Proper recovery would be needed if we are truly focusing on speed strength and strength speed during this phase.
Rehab/Regeneration One of the areas where I have used the Diesel Sled with great results is with Regeneration. Whether after a rough game or after an tough workout, the sled is a great tool for increasing blood flow to sore muscles without doing damage to muscles that traditional exercises do. After a warm up session consisting of foam rolling, mobility drills and PNF stretching I like to have my athletes perform a few sled drills keeping their heart rate between 50% and 70% for 10-15 minutes. Drills we use at TADSports: forward and backward walks & runs, sled rows and pushes, rope pulls and high pulls with ring attachments. During regeneration work I like to keep the weights moderate to low and the intensity low.
I love both the mental toughness and the competition that the Diesel Sled brings out in my athletes. They have learned to embrace the challenges and have fun with the relay races and medleys I have developed for them. I have become a big fan of the Diesel in my own training as well as my athletes. Coming from a cold weather state I enjoy the fact that I can stay inside and perform my sled work on my field turf. From junior high kids to professional athletes I get the same type of moans and groans all coaches love to hear when the Diesel Sled comes out.