Dec 10, 2012

If you haven’t read Part 1 or Part 2 of this series, I suggest you do so before continuing.

By this point you should have a basic understanding of how to set up a training program using 3 and 4 days/wk splits. We covered set and rep schemes for strength and muscle-building, order of exercises, pairing of exercises, and other techniques like supersetting.

Being visually more intimidating and as strong as you look is great, but no one wants to be gasping for air after climbing up a flight of stairs. And for all of those who need to lose a few pounds, I’m also talking to you. What I’m saying is you have to do some form of conditioning. This entire article will be dedicated to my favorite piece of homemade equipment – the tire sled.
 

Why I Like The Tire Sled


This is pretty straight forward – it’s basically free. There’s nothing I enjoy more than not having to pay for quality equipment, and the tire sled is most definitely the way to go if you’re on a tight budget. You get all the benefits of a metal sled without the price. That being said here’s what you’ll need to make your own:

(This post will be updated with pics of the process)
  1. An old used tire. The only caveat is that it’s in somewhat decent condition, structurally. It doesn’t matter at all how badly the tread is worn, just make sure it won’t fall apart if you drag it across the concrete.
  2. Some tow straps. These can be a little pricey but I got myself a pair from Home Depot for $20. They’ve lasted through all the abuse I’ve put them through over the last 3 years and are still going strong.
  3. An i-bolt, some washers, a nut, and a carabiner. You can also get all this when you run to Home Depot for the tow straps. All together with the straps this shouldn’t be more than a $30 buy. Compare that to a $100 sled plus shipping and you’re sittin’ pretty.

Construction is as easy as easy gets. Grab yourself a drill, pick a spot on the width of the tire (preferably the center or a little lower), and drill a hole slightly larger than the diameter of the i-bolt. Push the i-bolt through the hole until the circular end is resting right up against the outside of the tire (should be right in between the tread). Throw a few washers on the inside and tighten the nut all the way up. Now you can link up the carabiner and attach the tow straps. Wallah!! Instant sled. This should’ve taken about 5 minutes.

So you built your sled … now what do you do with it?
 

Making Your Tank Bigger


Having a Ferrari is awesome but how can you enjoy the benefits if the gas tank only holds enough to start the thing? Enter aerobic capacity training. This type of sled session will help to give you a bigger gas tank (better aerobic capacity) and also serves as recovery work, flushing your body full of blood. More blood equals more nourishment and more extraction of waste products. So it’s good for you.

An aerobic capacity sled session will look like a modified tempo run (utilized by the legendary sprint coach Charlie Francis) and is to be performed on an off day. Do not tack this on to the end of your session.

(All the credit for this goes to my man Chad Wesley Smith of Juggernaut Training Systems; this is an excerpt from his Juggernaut Method 2.0 ebook)

  • Drag for 50 yards, do 10 pushups, walk for 20 seconds
  • Drag for 50 yards, do 10-20 reps of a low impact ab exercise, walk for 20 seconds
  • Repeat 2 more times for a total of 6 reps
  • Rest 3-5 minutes and hit another set of 6 reps
  • Use 50lbs (or less depending on your strength) to load the sled
  • Drag at a running speed (not a sprint and not a jog)

You can progress this by adding 2 reps per set each week, until you’re banging out 2 sets of 10 reps. At that point you can cut the rest periods, increase the dragging distance, or add more weight. As per Chad, if you’re increasing distance or adding weight, do it gradually.
 

Fat Burning Finishers


Here are two super simple fat burning finishers to add onto the end of your training session that will only take you 10-15 minutes each:

Finisher #1

1A) Forward Sled Drag x 90ft
1B) Backward Sled Drag x 90ft
*Rest 60-90 seconds between drags
**Hit 3-4 sets depending on energy
***Use a moderate weight; something you know you can drag backwards for 90ft 

Finisher #2

1A) Lateral Drag (R) x 15 steps
1B) Hand-Over-Hand Pull x Length of tow straps
1C) Lateral Drag (L) x 15 steps
*No rest between exercises
**Put the handle loop of the tow strap into the carabiner so it’s stretched out at its full length
***Use a moderate weight; something you know you can hand-over-hand pull for the length of the straps

Try adding these sled dragging methods into your program and stop gassing out in life. For more info on Chad Smith’s Juggernaut Method 2.0 click here (I do not get paid to endorse Chad’s program; I own it and personally have used it with great success; it’s also a fantastic reference).
 

Stay tuned for the final installment with the most important piece of the puzzle - recovery.

 
In Strength,
Franco Crincoli


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Franco Crincoli
I am a personal trainer, strength coach, and all around iron addict, with a philosophy deeply rooted in old school methods. My training has been influenced by strongmen, powerlifters, Olympic lifters, gymnasts, and the Golden Era bodybuilders. I believe in reaping the greatest rewards the simplest (not easiest) way possible and having fun doing it.
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