12 Jan Best Strength and Conditioning Tool Under $100 (That’s Not a Kettlebell)
There are many great tools we have to hack body fat, improve cardiovascular conditioning, and build qualities of strength.
A kettlebell is obviously one of them.
But, there’s one tool in particular I’m a huge fan of because it builds high levels of conditioning – fast.
This awesome tool is also low cost and doesn’t take any space to store away.
That tool is the Rogue E-sled.
The widely popular Prowler sled is incredible, but the Rogue E-sled is a portable pull sled that’s built like tank.
I use it on an asphalt surface and it’s extremely durable.
This sled weighs all of 26 pounds.
All you need are a few plates to load it and you’re all set.
Let me tell you about why I like this sled so much.
A unique feature of training with this sled is that it work’s concentric-only (concentric is the shortening phase of muscular contraction).
While most forms of resistance exercise work both concentric and eccentric strength, with sled work, we’re working concentric-only (and also isometrically with the trunk, see below).
One benefit is that concentric-only won’t make us as “sore” following a training session, as eccentric work contributes much more to DOMS (delayed onset muscular soreness).
Less soreness and faster recovery with this sled (or any sled work).
2-EASY TO USE
Sled work is easy to use for everybody, there’s not a lot to it in terms of “technique.”
You grab a hold of the straps, secure them safely at shoulder level, and you’re off.
That’s it folks, not that complicated.
3-BUILDS A HIGH LEVEL OF CONDITIONING – FAST!
Any sled training is physically demanding.
And, if you’re de-conditioned, you’ll know this when you start.
Honestly, after a few rounds of sled work, I’m always breathing hard and heavy, but conditioning improves rapidly with consistent use.
Of course, it all depends on the training variables you apply (more on this in a minute).
Sled work is one of the fastest ways I know to build conditioning levels quickly and it’s self regulating, meaning that you’ll know “when to say when.”
We have many different variables to manipulate with sled training, which makes the programming awesome.
Here’s some of the ways we can progress the training variables with sled work:
- increase weight
- increase distance
- decrease rest intervals
- you can choose to either sprint, light run, fast walk, or walk
- increase total time of sled pull per round
- increase number of rounds
These are some of the variables that can be changed to vary the training program (I’ll give you a sample workout below, so you can see what I mean).
5-INCORPORATES MULTIPLE ENERGY SYSTEMS
We have 3 energy systems for exercise, the ATP-PC system, the glycolytic system, and the aerobic (or oxidative) system.
Here’s a VERY brief review of these 3 systems.
The ATP-PC (adenosine triphosphate-phosphocreatine) system is the energy required for initial strength or power.
This is the immediate energy system that comes directly from intramuscular ATP and CP.
ATP is the common energy product we use to power our cells and is our main energy source for exercise.
Sprinting and weightlifting are great examples of the energy required for this system.
The glycolytic system is the next energy system used in exercise once the ATP-PC system is expended.
One the ATP-PC system is depleted, the glycolytic system kicks in using glucose or stored glycogen that is converted to ATP for energy.
This is used for exercise of higher intensity for longer duration.
Moderate runs (200-400 meters), long exercise sets, or high volume sets of kettlebell swings would be examples of tapping into the glycolytic system.
Finally, we have the aerobic energy system, which kicks in as exercise is progressed past the first few minutes.
The system now relies on oxygen consumption and aerobic reactions to generate ATP.
Low power and long duration exercise are examples, such as going for a long run.
Keep in mind there is always overlap between the energy systems, not that one is exclusive to the other because ATP is always the driver for energy.
Here’s the systems in a quick summary:
- ATP-CP energy system (the first few seconds of high intensity exercise)
- Glycolytic energy system (up to 1-2 minutes in initial exercise training)
- Aerobic energy system (beyond approximately 120 seconds of exercise)
Now that you have a basic understanding of the energy systems, depending on the variables in the program, all 3 energy systems can be challenged.
A three minute sled drag will definitely tap into all 3 systems.
For most programming, the ATP-CP and glycolytic systems will be the primary systems utilized.
6-BUILDS AWESOME HIP POWER
This is another reason I really like the pull sled, it builds powerful hip strength.
Remember, hip strength and power is central to fitness and performance training.
As you incorporate this sled into your training, you really feel the effects in the glutes and all through the posterior chain.
It’s a simple and effective way to build awesome hip power.
7-ENHANCES DYNAMIC TRUNK STRENGTH
Finally, this sled works trunk strength and stability very effectively.
Because of the pulling motion, the trunk musculature is working isometrically to stabilize the spine and pelvis as you’re propelling forward.
It’s similar to doing double kettlebell front squats, where you’re forced to maintain a rigid cylinder in the spine – everything is tight and stable.
Because we’re constantly moving as we’re pulling the sled, the stabilization is challenged very dynamically (as opposed to statically – think of a plank).
Is there any downside to the Rogue E-sled?
I can only think of a few things.
It’s a pull-only sled so you can’t push it, you need to have a stack of plates to load it with, and you need an open space.
If you’ve got plates and an open space, you’re all set.
Lots of upside and minimal downside.
The portability and effectiveness make this a great addition to any program.
Speaking of programs, here’s a sample workout of how I use the tool.
- Load the sled with a challenging weight (don’t overdue this, if you’re just starting)
- Start with a fast paced walk (as opposed to sprinting)
- Each round, pull the sled a distance of approximately 150 feet
- Rest approximately 30 seconds between pulls
- Shoot for 6-10 rounds
- Frequency is 2-3 times per week
This is the simple template I do most of the time, but there are variables that are changed based on what else I’m doing in a particular session.
When do you do the sled work?
I do it near the end of the training session, after the big strength exercises that I’m focusing on that day.
If you’d like to the know the 5 specific tools I use for a high level of strength and conditioning, go to RdellaTraining.com/tools to get a free guide (yes, this sled is one of those 5).
I highly recommend this great training tool.
If you’re interested in the Rogue E-sled, click here.
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