Hill Sleds

I was wondering what everyone thought about doing sled sprints on hills, I was thinking of maybe trying this in my GPP in the next few months. Is there any benefits to doing this? Or would I be better keeping them both separate?

personally id do hills with no added dragging if you get what im saying. sled or tyre pulls were used by athletes who had no access to hills from what I remember. hills are covered in GPP download which clearly stated why hills are essential and why theyre performed!

So, the question is why NOT?
To be honest I don’t think that there is any issue with not doing it. Everything depends on load, timing and length of the cycle where such a stimulus being used. Actually I do know coach who’s been using this kind of workouts right at the end of GPP beginning of SPP with a good results. The load is max 5/7kg.

The hill and sled serve the same purpose. Thus, the use of both simultaneously is redundant.

Further, the use of a sled on a hill at the end of a GPP is not logical due to the fact that the SPP (special physical preparation) is the graduated specification of the training load prior to the first competition block and, for this reason, the end of the GPP must smoothly transition into the beginning of the SPP. This is why the GPP, in Charlie’s system, finalizes with the transition from the hill to the flat to allow for more and more intensification along with the expanding rest intervals throughout.

From a pure logic standpoint, given that everyone understands the foundations of GPP and SPP, “IF” a sled were to be used on a hill effectively for the purposes of speed development (not to be confused with a special strength exercise) the hill would have to be a very mild grade (low single digits on the slope) to allow for reasonable velocity to be achieved and this would be something inserted at the very beginning of GPP in order that either the sled or hill be gradually eliminated leaving just the one in order that towards the end of GPP the one that is left would be gradually eliminated in favor of work on the flats leading into SPP.

One of the benefits of sleds vs hills is the ability to adjust the resistance. Some coaches choose the sled weight based on reduction in speed and mechanics rather than percentage of body weight. LSU track coaches asked the metal shop to build lightweight aluminum sleds so they could add modest amounts of weight for increased control of the resistance. Todd Lane recently wrote an article about their metal works project. Another technology, though pricey, is the 1080Sprint that can be programmed for different resistances based on distance. For example, the resistance could be set relatively high in the blocks and then reduced as the athlete sprints down the track. The device can also be used for over-speed training. Illinois high school coach Chris Korfist has one and loves it.

I was wondering as to why you are saying that is not logical, taking to the account that firstly you don’t even know the length of the GPP & SPP.
On top of that you don’t know the distance, incline of the hill etc…
On other hand you have just gave one of the reasons where sled can be used (mild/ low incline) so at the end is not so redundant.

Well the logic behind is to progressively change the load and at the same time smooth out the transition towards running on the flat with sled.
There you go, logic. Lol.

Also, hills being used rather towards strength and biomechanical development of the athlete which indirectly contributing to the speed development,
Everything what we are talking about is “purpose of speed development”.
James your thinking is influenced by CFTS therefore for you is going to be hard to understand what he’s doing (I have stopped questioning him and his approach).
At the end of the day his kids are running fast. So what can we say.

Note that I indicated my statement excepted the use of hill + sled for special strength purposes.

My statement regarding the lack of logic is rooted in the combined means idea being used for direct speed development because regardless if one subscribes to CFTS or not, the basic principles of GPP and SPP are universally understood. Therefore, the redundancy of two means that accomplish the same/similar objectives (hill and sled) being used simultaneously at the end of a GPP do not pass the sprint training 101 level of understanding. This is because, as I stated, there is no debating the need for smooth transitions between phases and the nature of SPP is much more specific and, thus, so must the ending of GPP be more specific.

My example of how the sled and hill might be used effectively was simply an example of “if this were to be used”; however, this must not be confused with my position on it making little sense.

As to the fact that “his kids are running fast”…I urge you to rethink the population being coached. If you are talking about a stable of world champions than, despite defying the current laws of sprint training logic, my statements would be moot.

I, however, presume you are referring to some youth/junior level population “kids…” in which the stimulus:adaptation leeway is vast and, therefore, forgiving to coaching flaws. For that matter, there are a great deal of compensating mechanisms present even at the elite level.

As a consultant I have worked with a vast number of sport organizations around the world and suffice it to say in many cases that which is generally publicly perceived as coaching excellence is often, and to the contrary, an extraordinarily talented group that is compensating for the incompetence of their coaches.

Now, understand that if I misunderstood your post and you are referring to the hill + sled being used as a special strength/non-specific sprint training means then please disregard everything I’ve said.

Didn’t take too long this time before the egos infested the thread. Lol

I have given you a very simple example which was directly related to the threat.
Firstly. When I was referring to “kids” ment under 20s, btw they are on the world junior level.
Secondly. There are coaches which are using sled right after the hills to smooth out the transition or to develop desire qualitys, some take it for one or even two mesos into their SPP. It doesn’t mean they are going to do it 3x/week.
Whether you like it or not this is what it is. That’s it.

So I have got question for you.
When the exercise is being used with the load, emphasise during that exercise focus is on the biomechanical development is that make the exercise non-specific because was done with load and far from track speed?

Thirdly, people are experimenting with the tools which are available at their disposal.
And they are going to do it out of curiosity.
For as long as kids are safe that’s fine by me, I will be doing things differently.

Fourthly. You are having a conversation with a wrong person. I don’t know whether you have misunderstood or skipped the part where I wrote that coach I know of have been using such an approach.

@Brett, your comment is well funny. Lol.

Actually, I have asked why NOT.
And the thing I got is outline of GPP essentials, lol.

Sled after hills surely may serve a viable transition to unresisted flat. Not to be confused with sprinting up a hill with a sled in tow.

As for the biomechanical question, regarding transfer, we know there is a continuum from direct to indirect similar to the continuum of specific to general. Now, in order to improve some biomechanical characteristic of the sprint action we would have to specify which characteristic of the sprint action (ergo what phase of a sprint).

Once the particular set of dynamics is identified from the sprint we then have a set of criteria to satisfy from a training standpoint such as Dynamic Correspondence. So the answer to your question is- it depends.

I’m all for sensible experimentation, I’ve done quite a bit of it myself over the years.

I understood you were referring to the work of another coach, however, you also seemed to be defending it, so since you’re the member of this forum and you’re the one who brought it up… you and I are the ones have the conversation.

Again, I can’t emphasize strongly enough the need to critically analyze the work of those camps/teams/organizations that are commonly perceived as excellent. The human body is so incredibly adaptive that it provides a magnitude of compensation unique to the sports world as the medium for translating trade-craft in so many other professions simply does not forgive in the way an athlete does.

If the food is overcooked- the meal is screwed

If too much pressure is applied to the drill and the bolt head strips- that bolt isn’t coming out

If the painter uses too much pressure on the canvas the brush might go right through it- the canvas is done.

Yet, if the athletes are overworked, and muscles or tendons tear, surgery is performed, therapy is performed, the athlete heals, training continues, fans cheer it on, and no one is the wiser to the fact that the majority of non-contact injuries are the doing of coaching incompetence.

I am stating what I know for sure about that particular situation, it’s neither for nor against it.
You keep talking about injuries.
In the group his coaching the level of injuries is low almost non existent so next time when you respond to the post you can skip that part.
Btw it’s a local club.

I think I have missed something in your posts because you haven’t stated as to why not to do it.
Instead of going on full attack on how it should be done.
To be honest I am actually a bit surprised by your non existent curiosity. I was thinking, You know what, it might actually work (at least for him) in the mean time I’ll be doing my own thing having said that, I’ll be asking about his experiment.
I guess that you have done it all and it’s crap! So why don’t you share your foundings with us please.

It depends? What do you mean it depends?
When the action of the movement is corresponding with the form/shape of the event or element of the event even thou the speed of execution is far from execution at full speed those acctions/ movements are SPECIFIC! Due to technical nature of the action/movement.

This is becoming muddled.

I have brought up the injury examples as preventable circumstances that often exist based upon coaching incompetence- not the nature of sport. Never suggested that the coach you know was injuring his/her athletes.

Regarding why to not use a sled on a hill, re-read my posts (redundancy, each serves same purpose, placement at end of GPP makes no sense…) again all stated in the context of a speed drill.

As for no curiosity, you stated you know a coach how has sprinters use a sled on a hill at the end of GPP. Nothing to imply that they walk or march up the hill and more to imply that they are sprinting. Correct?

I have not had athletes use sleds on hills because of the way I explain the redundancy. I’m sure you can understand the premise of developing a level of knowledge that allows one to assess efficacy without participation (i.e., you’ve probably never driven a nail through your scrotum yet you know well enough that you won’t be giving it a go).

As for resisted sprint training means, I’ve had athletes get fantastic results with sleds, hills, exergenie (used to be isorobic exerciser)… The exergenie is incredibly convenient.

As for your “SPECIFIC” statement- you are incorrect. Vladimir Issurin has expounded upon this in years past regarding the common coaching mistake of matching only kinematics yet not neuromuscular attributes and thinking the action is specific. The key to ensuring specificity requires satisfying a battery of criteria, again such as Dynamic correspondence, in which all variables associated with the competition action are achieved.

One. Yet again no one talking about walking speed but bring up like a common sense is not enough. On other hand common for some it’s not so common for others.

Two. Brought injuries twice in post in suggestive way as the approach we talking causing unnecessary risk of injury. (Any evidence?)

Three. Re: specific.
I have mention before biomechanical improvements. To change biomechanical pattern/ habit which as we all here know changes require time but also certain level of awareness and coordination which in itself involves high neuromuscular involvement, therfore “incorrect” in your statement simply fails. Possibly your interpretation of Vladimir Issurin work is different to others/ my. I like the nail expression. Lol

For the sake of argument.
The critical word here is “all”
By what you have wrote above let say standing throw for javelin thrower is not specific, lol. Du to the fact that run up is missing cannot be called specific, or for the hurdler 5 stride rhythms doesn’t meet the criteria “all variables associated with the competition action are achieved”
With both examples above critical part is missing which is speed of execution which is really far from competition therefore is not meeting your “all” criteria, however they are classified as a specific. Lol.

To the way you have defined specific I say, Bullshit.

I don’t think it serves much purpose to labour the point further unless some constructive thought being put forward which relates directly to the thread without outlining GPP Essentials.

As with most things, the answer lies somewhere in the middle. Coaching is both an art and a science. In this case the “art” says give uphill sled sprints a try if you want to. The “science” says you may not need to. With all the different training units carried out in a week, good luck trying to quantify where improvements come from.

Any takers on downhill 1080 overspeed sprints?

Wermouth, I know you’re a newer member of this site so perhaps you’ve just not had the opportunity to review a lot of the information. That said, it seems as if you pick and chose which sentences of mine to address in your posts- thereby leaving out critical information. With all due respect, if this is any indication of how you review training information in general it might explain why you seem to not fully understand the issue being discussed.

For example, I’ve stated the continuum from general to specific- and in order to be the most specific one must satisfy the most criteria that is specific to the dynamics of the competition exercise. For this reason, as I stated, you are incorrect to classify a training means as specific if it merely addresses the kinematic structure of a competition action and nothing else.

Now, it’s not a matter of black/white, as stated, it’s a continuum and it’s important to understand the mechanisms of transfer.

Your javelin reference, for example, of comparing a standing throw to a throw with full approach is, in Bondarchuk’s system, a specialized developmental exercise as the fact that thrower is throwing the javelin with full effort ensures that many of the kinematic and neuromuscular qualities specific to the upper body component of the competition throw are addressed- granted the release velocity is less; however, not by a wide enough margin to diminish the efficacy of the standing throw. Same goes for your 5 hurdle example…there are many levels of transfer from a 5 hurdle drill because very little is sacrificed relative to the 10 hurdle competition event. So again, you’re statements relative to what I’ve written are misplaced.

Now, take a few moments to understand the nature of what competition event dynamics are preserved relative to a standing throw and a throw with run up and how similar a 5 hurdle drill is to the 10 hurdle event and now consider the lack of dynamic similarity between a hill sprint with a sled in tow and the acceleration portion of a 100m sprint.

Again, this is not to say that there is not a “strength” training application to doing some things with a sled on a hill; however, sprinting up a hill with a sled in tow is so different in dynamic similarity to an unresisted sprint on the flat that it simply isn’t wise to perform at the end of a GPP.

The stimulus:adaptation scenario that I referenced in a previous post is an interesting one and I suggest you explore it.

Jimson Lee posted an article of mine on his site a few years ago that addressed this by considering the role of special endurance and it’s influence on max V. It’s all a matter of how fast the athlete is. By analogy, sure it’s possible that sprinting up a hill with a sled in tow might contribute to advancing “someone’s” race acceleration; however, it would have to be someone who’s existing level of speed, and overall fitness, is so far below the elite level that the stimulus provided by the hill+sled is sufficient. In any case, as I stated, the placement of such a drill at the end of GPP doesn’t make sense- irrespective if you consider CFTS or not, because, as stated, GPP and SPP are universally understood.

Ollie, downhill sprints + a 1080 is similar to redundancy as uphill sprints with a sled in tow. I’d strongly advise against it.

That said, the 1080 looks like an incredible device and surely a valuable tool for those who can afford one.

I’ll start right from the beginning.

Like the member longevity on this forum has got any thing to do with the quality of the content of what I and other members of this fine forum writhing about, as the longer you are the more right you are, it’s just utter nonsense.

Your continuum.
Hill, hill with sled light load, sled with slightly heavier load, flat. There you go, hypothetical approach, hypothetical continuum.

Now, I would suggest you to read what I have wrote above, I was talking about 5strides I wasn’t referring to 5 hurdles, take your time. With a standard spacing performing 5 strides in between is really far away from actuall event .Statement such as “very little is sacrificed relative to the 10 hurdle competition event” it’s just wrong. How about the differences in take off place, touch down place, flight time, lead leg position and finally speed itself are really far from actuall event. However drill above is classified as a specific due to technical nature of it.

As the same for the javelin, “throwing the javelin with full effort ensures that many of the kinematic and neuromuscular qualities specific to the upper body component of the competition throw are addressed” there is a bit more, much more than just a full effort in standing throw, actually no one I know of is throwing full effort.
There are huge differences between standing and full run up which you are clearly not aware of such as the power position, penultimate step which doesn’t exist in the first place, hip position compering standing to run up are in different places, power outputs, horizontal velocities etc… are yet again nowhere near to where they are going to be during actuall event throw. And to say that “granted the release velocity is less; however, not by a wide enough margin to diminish the efficacy of the standing throw” you just clearly don’t know what you are talking about.

Those two examples which I have pointed out are far from your definition of being specific. Both are very technical elements therfore are classified as a specific.

Also I forgot to point out two other essential difference SSC and Stretch reflex which in both drill situations are much further away from the full execution.

Just for the future if you want make a comment make sure that you read properly and refer to the actual content of the post without making unnecessary mistakes, (if possible, please)

Indeed. I’ve been around coaches who have coached for 30 some odd years who don’t even question anything anymore. Just because you have a higher quantity of experience doesn’t necessarily mean higher quality.

My suggestion is take note of what James writes - period.

My take on using sleds on hills, without reading the entire thread, is what are you trying to achieve?

I use Sleds and Hills for the same reason, so they are interchangable IMO. Would I do both together - highly unlikely, but never say never.

Why I would use both together

  1. No hill at the angle I am after
  2. Can’t think of anything else.