Whenever you do something unexpected it can definitely raise some eyebrows and even more so, bring up A LOT of questions! To be honest, I knew when we released the new ARES sled that were going to really do both. However, I was more than happy to answer all the questions as what we were doing with this cool new DVRT innovation was well worth a bit of controversy. So, what have people been asking?
Q: Why a sled, there are already sleds out there!?
A: Yes, the idea of the sled is absolutely NOT new. Kinda like the sandbag though what was once a really diverse and versatile tool has been boiled down to mostly about one or two things. You either push, or pull a sled.
Now, that by itself is good, but man we miss SO much of what a sled is capable of and problems it can solve in training. I first learned of some ideas by renown powerlifter Dave Tate almost 17 years ago. In fact, the sled was one of my first “non-traditional” tools (I wrote an article about the benefits of sleds for people back in 2004 but it has been updated on Bodybuilding.com here)
One of the things that drew me to use a lot of sled work with people was that it was a simple, powerful, versatile, and effective means of teaching concepts of functional training. Right off the bat, if you use sleds well you start to see how you can build incredible core strength. Movements like standing presses, rows, moving laterally, and just so much you have to learn how to create a stable foundation from the ground up. You MUST be able to brace your core and it is one of the most simple and beautiful ways of teaching a moving plank.
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DVRT Master, Larisa Lotz, shows how we can combine functional patterns like a lift/chop with lunge pattern to develop movement and train so many muscles at once!
Then we had the fact we could move in so many directions. That was a big one for me. For a lot of people getting them to learn how to move more than up and down was a challenge. Their issue of “strength” wasn’t how much they could lift, but the fact they couldn’t apply their strength to anything BUT up and down movements.
DVRT Master, Dany Twoguns, shows how diverse we can create motions with the ARES sled
Lastly, it was just an awesome way to load people that traditionally had a lot of lower back issues. I found this out on my own as I battled a lot of back pain early in my career, but then was validated when world renown spine specialist, Dr. Stuart McGill, said pretty much the same thing.
“Exercises are tools to get specific jobs done. The way an exercise is performed depends on the rationale for choosing that exercise. First, list the objective and then decide on the best tool. Usually the best exercise is the one that creates the largest effect with the minimal risk to the joints. If the purpose is to create hip extension power, then exercises such as weighted carries and sled drags have to be considered.”
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Not just carries, but ways to integrate the core, upper body, and lower body.
Here is again why sleds are such a powerful training tool. We develop hip power in many different directions and ways. That means we can’t just rely on popular gym exercises to develop real world strength! Yet, it is amazing how we can make people better and stronger with specific sled training drills!
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Q: I get why sled training is good, but why did YOU make a sled?
A: For one, sled training is great but it has gotten expensive. Sleds sometimes go upwards of $500. That is really too bad as one of the things I loved about sled training early on was that it was an inexpensive means of doing a lot of great training! I was motivated to bring back the idea of being able to do tons of great functional training without paying an arm and a leg for it.
A second reason was that I noticed that by people getting hyper focused on loading up their sleds they lost the incredible versatility of sled training. It wasn’t the coaches fault though.
In order to push or drag a sled most would have to put a ton of weight plates on their sled. Well, if you wanted to change to another movement where you couldn’t use such load it was so time consuming and cumbersome to change the weight. You lost valuable training time and it was a pain to change the weight back and forth. What if we could solve that?
One of the things that is surprising a lot of people about the ARES sled is the fact that so little weight goes a long ways. That is because most sleds are built on three or four small “skids”. The smaller surface area means the sled creates less friction and often makes a heavy weight feel lighter than it is on the sled.
Yea, that makes for one cool blog or social media post, but the reality is it becomes a SERIOUS pain to have any versatility. What we saw was an opportunity to solve that problem with both design and the tools we used to load the sled. Increasing the surface area and using certain materials we were able to make a little weight feel quite heavy.
I know, that ruins the cool social media posts, but it DOES make it easier to change the loads of your sled and to do more great training with it!
Lastly, we wanted to make sled training make more sense to people. What do I mean? Early in the years of sled training, the idea was you could bring it out to a park, or somewhere outdoors and do some great training. I’ll tell you, I did this and guess what? IT SUCKED!!! Why?
Usually the sleds themselves both weighed a good amount AND required a bunch of weight plates to load appropriately. Trying to transport sleds for anything from one on one training to big bootcamps was just brutal! Could we fix it though?
Okay, it may have taken me over a decade but the answer was yes! We were able to design a sled that was SO easy to transport and set-up that it now is a no brainer for anyone that wants to service more people, take their training anywhere, and actually make the gym any place they want!
This was the back of our car as Jessica and I both took EVERYTHING we needed to individually train with our sleds and Ultimate Sandbags. Crazy right?!
I know what you are thinking, can you ONLY use Ultimate Sandbags? Not at all! However, because the ARES can allow you to actually use your load to train with too I do recommend Ultimate Sandbags and/or kettlebells.
Once you understand our intent with the ARES sled you start to see that sled training can and SHOULD be so much more than people are doing. That can only happen if you give people the right tools to accomplish those goals.
I hope this makes WHY the ARES sled was designed and intended to accomplish so many different training goals. I want to quickly answer one more question….”can it be used only outside?”
It is beautiful here in Las Vegas right now, so we wanted to take advantage of making functional fitness even more fun for ourselves. However, we know a lot either don’t have access or time to go outside. That is why the ARES sled can go ANYWHERE BUT asphalt. That means, turf, rubber floors, grassy areas, etc. We also were sure to make it not take up too much space while in use as well.
Whew! That’s a lot of “stuff” I know, but I think important to answer the important questions. There is one more thing though…we do want to make the ARES as accessible to as many people as possible. All you have to do is use coupon code “save25” HERE. Get our NEW DVRT ARES Sled manual too for FREE when you do invest in one of our best training innovations! Don’t miss it, I PROMISE it will transform how you train!
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