7 Must Know Things to Destroy the HYROX Sled Push

Image of a man pushing a heavy Hyrox sled push weight under the title 'The Sled Push'

Ever finish a sled push and think walking is overrated?

Want to learn some tips to make the sled push seem less like a giant mountain and more like a small hill?

Imagine this: getting faster in your race and getting a body that shouts, “I nailed the HYROX sled push and I look great!”

Grab your favourite drink and we’ll get into the simple secrets of everything you need to know to become a sled push expert.

1. What is the HYROX Sled Push

The HYROX Sled Push is a 50m push split over 4 x 12.5m pushes. It’s the 2nd workstation in the HYROX race format. By the time you get to the Sled Push you will have completed 2x1km runs and a 1000m Ski Erg.

Once you complete the Sled Pull you have 6 x 1km runs, 50m (4 x12.5m) Sled Push, 80m Burpee Broad Jumps, 1000m Rowing, 200m Kettlebell Farmers Carry, 100m Sandbag Lunges and 75-100 x Wall Balls left to complete.

The Official Sled used in HYROX Races

The official Sled used in HYROX competition

HYROX Sled

Sled used in all HYROX races.

Length – 102 cm / 40.2 in, Width – 60 cm / 23.6 in

2. HYROX Sled Push Weights by Category

As of the 2022, 2023 season the different sled types used for European and US competition were standardised into one sled type. The distance to push is 12.5m x 4.

Total HYROX Sled Push weight distribution;

Women Open / Women Doubles: 102 kg / 226 lbs

Women Pro / Men Open / Mixed Doubles / Men Doubles: 152 kg / 336 lbs

Men Pro: 202 kg / 446 lbs

For a much deeper Dive into everything HYROX be sure to read the Beginners Guide to HYROX.

3. Average HYROX Sled Push Times

The HYROX Sled Push can quickly drain you if not taken seriously.

During the 2022/23 HYROX Season the average Sled Pull Times for each category were;

Womens Open: 02:59 mins

Womens Pro: 04:07 mins

Mens Open: 03:13 mins

Mens Pro: 04:00 mins

Womens Doubles: 01:52 mins

Mens Doubles: 01:47 mins

Keep an eye on the elite HYROX finish times to see how your training is coming along.

The master tips below will help you perfect your technique and energy efficiency to push through this element of your HYROX race.

Data Courtesy of https://www.theroxzone.com

4. The Correct Technique to Train for HYROX Sled Push

  • Starting Position: Begin by standing close to the sled with your feet at hip-width apart. This position offers better control and power. Place your hands on the sled’s handles using either bent arms or straight arms with elbows locked, aligning them with your shoulders for optimal power transfer.
  • Body Alignment: Lean into the sled with your body angled forward, maintaining a straight line from your head to your heels. This stance engages your core and keeps your center of gravity forward, to add more power to your push.
  • The Initial Push: Engage your leg muscles – quads, glutes, and calves – and initiate the push with a powerful leg drive. Focus on driving through your heels to maximise force. The initial push should be strong and deliberate to get the sled moving.
  • Maintaining Momentum: After the initial push, change to shorter, quicker steps to maintain the sled’s momentum. Keep your body low and angled forward, driving continuously with your legs. Try and keep a consistent pace and avoid stopping, as restarting the sled requires more energy to get moving again.
  • Arm and Upper Body Engagement: While the legs do most of the work, your arms and upper body play a big role in stabilising and steering the sled. Keep your arms either bent or extended and use your upper body to guide the sled along the desired path.
  • Breathing Technique: Inhale before the push and exhale during the push. Proper breathing helps maintain rhythm and endurance.
  • Endurance and Strength Training: Add both endurance and strength training in your routine. Endurance training helps maintain energy over the entire course, while strength training, especially leg and core exercises, increases the power of your sled push.
  • Safety and Form: Always focus on correct form. Poor posture or incorrect footing can cause injuries. Practice the technique regularly to build muscle memory and your confidence in the movement.
  • Competition Standards: The sled must be pushed across the entire 12.5 meters per segment, before turning around. Familiarise yourself with the rules regarding sled push to avoid penalties.

5. How to Train for the HYROX Sled Push Without a Sled

Lacking a sled for your HYROX training? Don’t panic , below I’ve added effective ways for you to simulate sled push exercises and build the strength you need:

  1. Heavy Object Push: Find a heavy object with a stable base, like a heavy box or a weighted barrow. Practice pushing it across a flat surface. This helps build the same muscles used in sled pushing.
  2. Tyre Push: Lay a tyre, length ways, flat on the floor and practise getting your body low and straight and push the tyre in a straight line. The friction created by the tyre rubber of the floor will generate significant resistance without the need for heavy weights
  3. Plank Push-Ups: Start in a plank position, then push up into a downward-facing dog pose, and return to the plank. This exercise targets your arms, shoulders, core, and back, similar to a sled push.
  4. Resistance Band Pushes: Anchor a resistance band at waist height and hold the other end. Push forward against the band’s resistance, replicating the sled push movement. It’s great for building pushing strength and endurance.
  5. Strength Training: Focus on exercises like squats, deadlifts, and leg presses. These target your lower body, building the strength you need to improve your sled push.
  6. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): Add HIIT workouts focusing on explosive leg power and endurance to your training routine.

Combine these exercises into your regular training schedule, aiming for a balanced routine that builds both strength and endurance. Gradually increase the weight and intensity to prepare your body for the HYROX sled push.

6. HYROX Sled Push Tips

  • Wear shoes with good grip! – Best Shoes for HYROX 2023
  • Keep Momentum, don’t stop start
  • Keep knees inline with your feet
  • Fully engage core throughout the push
  • Adjust arms to where comfortable, bent arms are viewed as better for endurance and the heavier weights of HYROX, Straight arms are easier for lighter weight. The key is to find what is comfortable for you
  • Firmly grip the bars with both hands
  • Keep your spine position neutral

7. Common Mistakes in HYROX Sled Push

Image displaying text about common mistakes under the title 'Common Mistakes in Sled Push

Incorrect Body Position

Many individuals tend to stand too upright while pushing the sled, which reduces the force they can apply. Maintaining a low, forward-leaning position helps in generating more power from the lower body.

Overstriding

Taking long strides reduces the frequency of steps, leading to a loss of momentum. A more effective tactic is to take short, quick steps to maintain a steady force on the sled.

Poor Grip Technique

An improper grip on the sled handles can lead to a lack of control and stability. Ensure you place your hands with a firm and steady grip,

Not Engaging the Core

Failing to engage the core muscles can result in a weak and unstable push. Activating the core helps in maintaining a strong and upright posture, facilitating a more powerful push.

Ignoring the Breath

Breathing irregularly or holding the breath can lead to early fatigue. Establishing a rhythmic breathing pattern, coordinated with the pushing rhythm, can help in sustaining energy levels. Exhaling on exertion is also recommended.

Wearing Inappropriate Footwear

Using footwear with inadequate grip can lead to slipping and reduced force generation. Pick shoes with a good grip and stability to maintain a firm footing while pushing the sled.

Not Practicing Enough

Like any skill, mastering the sled push requires consistent practice. Regular training helps in improving technique and building the necessary strength and endurance. Try and mimic the indoor conditions at 12.5 meters. 

Ignoring Recovery

Focusing only on training without allowing adequate time for recovery can lead to overtraining and increased risk of injuries. Incorporating rest days and recovery techniques is essential for sustainable progress.

Not Seeking Feedback

Working in isolation without seeking feedback can limit your progress. Consider consulting a coach or experienced training partner to receive constructive feedback and improve your technique.

If you’re a fan of partner/group training take a look at our guide to HYROX Doubles and HYROX Relays

8. Enhanced HYROX Sled Push Training and Preparation

To nail the HYROX sled push you need a blend of strength, technique, and endurance. Below I’ve written a free training guide to quickly improve your Sled Push ability:

Advanced Strength and Power Exercises:

  • Leg Presses and Squats: Perform 4 sets of 8-12 reps, focusing on explosive power.
  • Deadlifts: 3-4 sets of 6-10 reps, building lower back and leg strength.
  • Plyometric Exercises: Include box jumps or jump squats for 3 sets of 10 reps to enhance explosive power.

Technique Improvement Workouts:

  • Mock Sled Push: If you don’t have access to a sled, 3 sets of 1-minute pushes with a heavy object or tyre. Emphasise proper form and consistent pushing.
  • Resistance Band Pushes: Attach a resistance band to a stable point at waist height, step into the band and practise walking forward, away from the attachment point. 4 sets of 15 reps

Cardiovascular Endurance:

  • Interval Running: 20 minutes, including 1-minute sprints followed by 2 minutes of jogging, repeated.
  • HIIT Workouts: 30-minute sessions focusing on leg and core strength, alternating between high and low intensity.

Race Condition Simulation:

  • HYROX Circuit: Once a week, a 45-minute circuit including mock sled pushes, running, and functional exercises.
  • Pacing Strategy: Aim for consistent speed and strength throughout the circuit.

Recovery and Nutrition:

  • Post-Workout Nutrition: Protein-rich meal or shake within 30 minutes post-training.
  • Hydration and Sleep: Minimum 2 litres of water daily, and 7-9 hours of sleep nightly.

Mental Preparation:

  • Visualisation Techniques: 5 minutes daily, envisioning successful sled push execution.
  • Breath Control: Incorporate 5-10 minutes of breathing exercises into your daily routine.

Weekly Training Plan:

  • Monday: Strength training (legs and back) + 30-minute steady-state cardio.
  • Tuesday: Rest or light activity (e.g., walking).
  • Wednesday: Technique drills + 20-minute interval running.
  • Thursday: Active recovery (yoga or stretching).
  • Friday: HYROX simulation circuit (45 minutes).
  • Saturday: Rest or light cardio.
  • Sunday: Mental preparation and planning for next week.

9. Benefits of the HYROX Sled Push

Image featuring a scientist with the title Science Stuff

Muscle Hypertrophy and Neuromuscular Adaptations

Engaging in sled pushes causes muscle hypertrophy, which is the increase in muscle size through the growth of muscle fibers.

It causes neuromuscular adaptations, enhancing the communication between your nerves and muscles, improving muscle contraction efficiency.

Kinetic Chain Enhancement

Sled pushes involve a closed kinetic chain exercise where your feet are grounded, promoting joint stability and enhancing the coordinated working of muscle groups along the kinetic chain.

This is beneficial in preventing injuries and improving functional movements.

Metabolic Conditioning

The intense nature of sled pushes creates a high metabolic demand, enhancing metabolic conditioning.

This conditioning improves the efficiency of energy systems in the body, aiding in better performance in both aerobic and anaerobic activities.

Cardiovascular System Strengthening

Sled pushes elevate heart rate and increase blood circulation, fostering cardiovascular health.

The activity enhances the heart’s efficiency in oxygen and nutrient delivery to various body tissues, promoting overall health and endurance.

Hormonal Response

Engaging in high-intensity exercises like sled pushes triggers a positive hormonal response, including an increase in testosterone and growth hormone levels, which play a pivotal role in muscle growth and recovery.

Proprioceptive Benefits

Sled pushes enhance proprioception, which is the body’s ability to perceive its position in space. Improved proprioception aids in better balance and coordination, which is vital in sports and daily activities.

Lactic Acid Tolerance

Regular training with sled pushes increases the body’s tolerance to lactic acid build-up, a by-product of intense physical activity.

This tolerance allows athletes to maintain a high level of performance even under conditions of muscle fatigue.

Psychological Resilience

The mental fortitude required to push through the resistance of a heavy sled fosters psychological resilience.

It cultivates a mindset of perseverance, enhancing an individual’s ability to face challenging situations both in sports and life.

Functional Muscle Engagement

Sled pushes engage muscles in a manner that mimics real-world physical activities, promoting functional fitness.

It encourages the harmonious working of muscle groups, enhancing stability and strength in movements that are translatable to daily tasks.

Posterior Chain Activation

Sled pushes are excellent for targeting the posterior chain muscles, including the hamstrings, glutes, and lower back muscles.

Strengthening these muscles is crucial in preventing lower back injuries and promoting a strong, stable core.

If you’re looking for more ways to improve your fitness this year, check out our 55 Pro Tips

What muscle groups do the Sled Push work

The sled push is like a symphony where various muscle groups come together to create a harmonious, and hard grafted, performance.

Let’s break down the key players in this muscular orchestra:

Image demonstrating a male athlete pushing a heavy indoor sled, highlighting the muscle groups worked during this exercise.

Quadriceps

Located at the front of your thighs, the quadriceps are the main drivers in pushing the sled forward.

As you extend your knees and propel yourself forward, these muscles work tirelessly, helping you generate the force needed to move the sled.

Hamstrings

Situated at the back of your thighs, the hamstrings play a supporting role, aiding in the control of the movement and ensuring stability as you push forward.

They work in harmony with the quadriceps, facilitating a smooth and powerful push.

Calves

Your calves join the party by helping to extend your ankles, providing the push-off force that propels you forward.

They are like the unsung heroes in the sled push, offering that extra oomph in each step.

Glutes

Ah, the powerhouse of the human body! Your glutes, or buttock muscles, are heavily engaged during the sled push.

They work hand in hand with your quadriceps, providing the strength and power needed to drive the sled forward.

Core

Your core muscles, encompassing your abdominal region and lower back, are the stabilisers in this movement.

They maintain your posture, protect your spine, and ensure a balanced distribution of force, helping you to push efficiently without straining your back.

Shoulders and Triceps

While the lower body does the lion’s share of the work, your shoulders and triceps aren’t just spectators.

They engage to stabilise the upper body, helping you maintain a strong and steady grip on the sled handles, and assist in driving the sled forward with controlled, forceful pushes.

Back Muscles

Your back muscles, including the latissimus dorsi, play a crucial role in maintaining an upright posture during the push.

They work subtly yet significantly, supporting your spine and aiding in the transfer of power from your legs to the sled.

In essence, the sled push is a full-body workout, engaging a wide array of muscle groups in a coordinated effort to achieve one goal – to push that sled across the finish line with power and determination.

Wrapping Up

I was first introduced to the sled push at my gym in 2015 and I absolutely love the whole body effort it takes to keep a heavy sled moving. It’s a very similar experience to the sensation of a PB deadlift set, you have to be all in or it isn’t happening.

If you stick to the tips and avoid the common mistakes you’ll be flying through the push element and achieving your quickest time yet.

With that said I cannot underestimate the importance of good grip on your footwear. If you don’t have traction from your feet, it is impossible to keep a solid push.

For a guide on what clothes to wear for the race, take a look here.

If you’re new to HYROX try our 6 Week HYROX Training Plan for Beginners to get you started.

FAQ’s

How heavy is the HYROX sled push?

The HYROX sled push weight varies by category: Women: 102kg including sled, Women Pro: 152kg, Men: 152kg, Men Pro: 202kg, Mixed Doubles: 152kg, Women Doubles: 102kg, Men Doubles: 152kg, Relay: 102kg/152kg (F/M) including sled.

How far can you push HYROX sleds?

In HYROX, the total distance for the sled push is 50 meters, divided into 4 lengths of 12.5 meters each.

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