As some of you know I'm perpetually (LOL) recovering from a lower back injury and have to regulate heavy squats and deads to ensure I donít re-injure or aggravate it. Itís a good excuse to do 20 rep breathing squats but while the weight is a lot less than the low reps I often do when my back is willing, itís still is too much some days. On the days it feels like squatting heavy is probably a bad idea, I often pull the sled HEAVY for time.
I have a measured course and load up the sled and attempt to make 4 passes in 10 minutes. It is kind of like walking up MANY flights of stairs with a refrigerator on your back. Since there is no eccentric portion to the movement there is almost ZERO delayed onset muscle soreness from pulling and my heart and lungs are in awesome shape.
ButÖ..sometimes it rains WAY too hard to think about even getting set-up to pull, never mind actually doing it. On those days I will sometimes squat with a light-weight for time.
I load up the squat bar with 185-200 lbs and just started repping. I may try counting, but always lose where Iím at after about five minutes. By then Iím gasping so hard counting is pretty much out of the question anyway. After 6-7 minutes I will usually rack the bar for 30-45 seconds (timed) and start again. Sometimes I rack a second time for 30 seconds if it feels like Iím gonna lose it.
Iíll pound out rep after rep till the stopwatch says 10 minutes and collapse. Does this stimulate any growth? For me, yes! Some people donít respond to it well, but that can be said about any training modality. Do I stimulate cardio health? Hell yes, and after doing these sessions, well.....I am crippled. I can barely walk and since the weight is light my back is fine. But you can call me limpy fore a few days after doing these because my quads, hams, and glutes take a beating. All I have to say is pulling that sled makes a world of difference. Before I started pulling that work-out would have killed me heart/lung wise. Makes me pretty happy about my CV capacity.
I have two trainees with bad backs doing 50's currently. If your back is ailing you, and leg presses whack it like they do mine, and many other trainees, this is a good way to get in some quality work without loading the spine too heavy.