1. Diversity of Exercises
No matter what muscle group and/or type of training we are coaching on any given day, we can always think of ways to incorporate The Butcher. We can push it in a high or low body position, we can push it in reverse, we can pull it with handles attached, we can pull it with battle ropes attached and all this can be done no matter the age or fitness level of the athlete. The design of this training tool allows the coach or athlete to add normal plates of various weight to the sled.
2. Supplement to Sprinting Mechanics
A variation of The Butcher we use very frequently is pushing the sled with the arms extended forward. Our athlete's are taught to drive their knees up (within the frame of their body) with a forward lean. When the sled is loaded up to a reasonable resistance, the athlete must drive their knees up and forcefully push off the ground in order to advance the sled forward. Because of the lean created by The Butcher during this pushing motion, the athlete cannot stand straight up and "stride out", this exercise is a great way to reinforce our coaching ques.
Watching the path and overall motion of the sled provides insight into how an athlete is moving. Most people would agree that one of their arms are stronger than the other, usually their dominant hand, well, the same can be said of the legs. If the path is not straight or shakes to one side when one particular leg is being used, it would lead a coach to believe that one leg is noticeably stronger than the other. Looking at the athlete's form from a front or rear view can also help dissect leg discrepancies in sprinting mechanics which overlaps from the last section. The Butcher is also a great way to even out these differences in leg strength, because a conscience athlete or a knowledgeable coach can emphasize use of the weaker leg, resulting in more efficient body mechanics.
Any sport that requires explosive lower-body movements can benefit from work with The Butcher. Resisted sprints, pulls, drags, etc... are all aids in an athlete's development of acute power. A very simple example would be an offensive lineman in football. The more upright stance push position of The Butcher is a great way to mimic firing off the line of scrimmage to block a defensive lineman. Repetitive, powerful driving of the legs is a great way to recruit more muscle fibers in the lower body, as well as increase the speed of muscle fibers contracting.
5. Don't Forget Conditioning!
That's right! The dreaded word that makes athletes shutter. Conditioning and muscle endurance are so crucial to the performance of an athlete, they simply cannot be ignored or overvalued. The Butcher is an awesome conditioning tool, especially for athletes that rely on sustained lower-body power. But even beyond those type of athletes, this sled enhances general physical preparation (GPP), or overall fitness level, for any type of athlete. GPP with The Butcher is great for all ages and types of athletes, because we can program it as a main source of conditioning or even a form of recovery between heavy resistance training sessions. To reiterate from the first section, we won't run out of ways to use this sled!
Every exercise and workout performed at Kansas City Speed & Sport has a purpose. We feel strongly about our methods and we see the results in our athletes every day. The Butcher is not an easy exercise to perform (trust us), but the benefits span far wider than making our athletes really tired. And if you have never performed a workout with this handy piece of equipment, we recommend you stop by the facility and give it a shot!
Austin: I love that last paragraph. Every exercise has a purpose! To follow what our athletes are doing at KC Speed and Sport be sure to follow our account on social media: @KCSpeedandSport (Instagram: kcspeedandsport1). To keep up with all that I'm doing check me out at the links below.