8-week sled push workout program for beginners getting HYROX race-ready

Two women performing sled push during workout
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you look at the sled with dread when heading to the gym, try this 8-week sled training program for beginners. Whether you’re training for your next Hyrox race or learning how to push the sled for the first time, this sled workout plan should help. 

I’m no stranger to Hyrox, having entered the 2022 HYROX European Championships open mixed category. The sled-pushing (and pulling) exercise requires proper training and preparation to maximize your efforts. Yep, there are pushing and pulling techniques worth practicing if you plan to cap a new Hyrox PB. 

Hyrox aside, if you’re adopting the sled push as part of a strength training program for the first time, this eight-week sled training program is worth knowing. And we turned to no other than Hyrox master trainer and Represent 247 head coach Jake Dearden for guidance. Here it is.

Sled exercise: Benefits

Pushing heavy weights helps build functional strength and muscle, works multiple muscles and joints and counts as functional training — meaning it uses natural movement patterns.

Commonly used in leg day programs, there are many muscles at work during a sled push, including your quads, glutes, hamstrings, calf muscles, hip flexors, chest, arms and shoulders. Your core muscles help drive and stabilize, and depending on your position on the sled (arms bent or straight), your upper body plays a role in varying degrees.

Pushing exercises primarily hit the chest (namely, your pecs), anterior deltoids and triceps — the muscles anteriorly located on the body. But the sled push also tears through calories, can be tailored to cardio (lighter weight) or strength (heavier weight) and builds power, muscular endurance, and (as the research indicates) sprinting speed. 

Sled pushes also work the lower body concentrically, which is lower impact on knees, and the upper body isometrically, without the arms bending or extending, instead responding to force. Sled pulls engage the posterior chain — the back of the body — and your shoulders and arms, including your biceps. You’ll work the back muscles, glutes, hamstrings, calf muscles, core and hip flexors. 

Recently, I did sled pushes every day for a week, where you can learn how to do the exercise in further detail.

What is the 8-week sled workout plan for beginners?

Dearden explains that to progress with your strength, consistency is key. Use progressive overload over a set period to help you improve. “Eight weeks is an ideal program length to increase the weights you’re using and to make the sled feel easier,” he says. 

“The workout plan I have designed sees the same strength exercises performed over the eight weeks where you increase the weight used gradually, along with sled-focused conditioning workouts at the end, which are beneficial for building stamina under fatigue.”

The sled pushing workouts will test various stimuli, such as moving the sled on tired legs (Hyrox is all about running under fatigue), building strength in both sled pull and push, and improving performance during Hyrox if you plan to enter. 

Sled pushing workout

The program consists of:

  • Sled-focused warm-up
  • Sled-focused strength workout
  • 8x sled conditioning workouts

Sled-focused warm-up: 2 rounds

Strength

  • Back squat 3 x 8-12 reps

Man at the bottom of a barbell back squat during gym workout

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Dearden says, “Increase the weight each week and or reps.”

For example, on the first week, perform 3 sets of 8 reps at a set weight, then for the following two weeks, perform the same weight for 10 and 12 reps. “For the next couple, go back down to 8 reps but increase the load, then increase the reps again. The last 2 reps should feel challenging on each set.”

  • Barbell reverse lunges 3 x 16 (total reps — alternating)

Barbell lunges vector

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Apply the same approach as with the back squat. Increase the reps or weight, but do it gradually.

Man lifting a heavy kettlebell using right arm in a half squat position during gym workout

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Increase the weight and or reps each week.

Conditioning workouts

  • Week 1

3 rounds for time

25m sled push @HYROX weight 102kg women/ 152kg men (use a challenging weight if this is too heavy)

25m sled pull @HYROX weight 78kg women/ 103kg men (use a challenging weight if this is too heavy).

1km run

  • Week 2

30-minute AMRAP

500m rowing machine

25m sled push as above

500m ski erg

25m sled pull as above

  • Week 3

8 sets

25m sled push as above

400m run (sprint)

Rest 2 minutes

  • Week 4

40-minute AMRAP

25m sled push as above

500m run

25m sled pull as above

500m run

  • Week 5

E5MOM (Every 5 minutes) x 5

30 wall balls

25m sled push as above

30 wall balls

Rest remainder of the time

  • Week 6

8 rounds for time

25m sled pull as above

100m farmer’s walk @HYROX weight women 2x16kg kettlebells/men 2x24kg (use a challenging weight if this is too heavy)

500m run

  • Week 7

For Time

10-20-30-40-30-20-10

Wall balls as above

Ski erg calories

25m sled push as above

Rowing machine calories

  • Week 8

Heavy sled push ladder

Start with 50kg x 20m sled push

Ski erg 200m between each set

*Add 25kg each round until you can’t move the sled. Then remove 25kg each set back down to 50kg.

REST 5:00 

Heavy sled pull ladder

Start with 25kg x 20m sled pull

Run 200m between each set

*Add 15kg each round until you can’t move the sled. Then remove 15kg each set back down to 25kg.

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Sam Hopes
Senior Staff Writer - Fitness

Sam Hopes is a level III fitness trainer, level II reiki practitioner, and senior fitness writer at Future PLC, the publisher of Tom's Guide. She is also about to undertake her Yoga For Athletes training course. Having trained to work with mind and body, Sam is a big advocate of using mindfulness techniques in sport and fitness, and their impact on performance. She’s also passionate about the fundamentals of training and building sustainable training methods.  When she's not writing up her experiences with the latest fitness tech and workouts, you’ll find her writing about nutrition, sleep, recovery, and wellness.