The longer I train youth athletes the more I believe the sled push is king, at least while they are learning how to perform the basic movement patterns. Youth athletes usually have very poor mobility at the hips and lack stability through their core among other issues which makes progressing exercises such as the squat and dead lift a very long process. During this time it is always nice to give them something more challenging and exciting. This is when the sled comes in. Below are four reasons why you should have your young athletes push a sled.
1. The sled is easily loaded and every athlete can put a fair amount of weight on the sled when taking their ratio of body weight to the sled weight into consideration. A 90lbs athlete can easily push a 90lbs sled for 20 yds at a clip.
2. While young athletes are learning their other basic movement patterns the sled is there to help them develop strength. . It develops shoulder and hip strength, not to mention the anaerobic conditioning that comes along with it. When they are finally ready to progress their main movements this added strength from pushing the sled will transfer well to those movements.
3. There is a limited chance of injury. It really is non-existent. I am yet to hear someone getting hurt pushing a sled. Enough said.
4. It is fun! Kids love pushing the sled! This is where teaching young athletes to love exercise comes into play. I am always being asked by young athletes “when can I push the sled in my program?” This is a win-win in my book! Having young athletes enjoy training is the greatest feeling a performance coach can ever feel.
There you have it, four great reasons to push the sled with your young athletes. Load up the sled and start pushing!