“Just Sleds” month was a success, despite some setbacks.
Yesterday I ran through some testing to see where I am, and was pleasantly surprised. I matched my best split snatch and my best power clean (though I admit that I did do a couple of technique sessions during the month just so I didn’t lose that).
More interesting to me was the reverse lunge. I decided to use that as my test because otherwise I would be using very heavy hex bar deadlifts (I would have to go 450+) for a max, and in the past that has been hard on my low back. The reverse lunge is one of the best lower body exercises because it is easy on the low back and knees. But it is not easy on the quads and the butt.
Unilateral exercises are also more functional, as we spend most of our time on one leg at a time. Lunges add in the element of movement and stability and are one of the most challenging things you can do in the weightroom aside from Olympic lifts.
So I tested the reverse lunge and hit a new max, 220 pounds (110 dumbells), which I was very happy with, since I hadn’t picked up a weight in over a month.
Today I was reminded what you don’t get with sleds … SORE. Heavy lunges will make you sore, especially if you haven’t done them for a while. You don’t get that with sleds. I also felt great in terms of my knees, back, shoulders and other joints, which I find often get cranky for me when I am lifting heavy. This is one reason that sleds are such a great tool for in-season athletes, or those that have a heavy training schedule out of the gym.
I did, however, have a serious case of bronchitis and some pneumonia for the month, on top of a tremendous amount of job stress and the subsequent not so great diet. So I feel like the “Just Sleds” test was a big success. Especially given the nice weather and the fact that my “day-job” keeps me inside, I plan on extending the focus on sleds going forward for a while.
I shifted my protocol in the last week and will stick with that, which I will discuss in the next post.