T Nation

Getting Started w/ Sleds, Father and Son


#1

I'm 42, out of shape, okay strength. Looking to gain muscle, lose inches in waste and get back into both muscular and cardio shape.
Son is 14, going to start training for high school football. Needs to put on some weight and a lot of muscle mass. Speed, agility and stamina also.

I plan to build 2 sleds out of wood, same design. My plan it to keep up with him or go to muscle failure trying. I will out muscle him in some things, he will outrun and outperform in others.

I made the designs for the sled, will share when they are a little more than chicken scratch: 4x6 runners, 2x4 cross members, may put composite deck boards on bottom for durability. Fence post hand rails for pushing, tow straps for pulling, sand bags for weight if I can't find old barbell weights.

I have read everything I can here and elsewhere to put together a routine of some sort to keep it interesting and to work every muscle group and have failed more confused than when I started. My core is a mess and I need to work it hard. I have my reasons for selecting sled training, not going into them yet. I really need help with some sort of chart and description of the exercise to get started. Weight to start with, how far to go, how long to go, anything to keep from doing more harm from doing too much. This is the only thing I really have not been able to find.

I want to work with my son to help him make varsity and get myself into good enough shape to help him improve where exercise can't.

Oh, name is Christopher, there's my intro, sorry but I am not much for them, maybe more about my son and I later. Then maybe later, when things go well, I will get the less interested son and my daughter interested and introduce them.

I know I left out a lot of information that is needed to help, I always seem to, so let me know and I will answer whatever I can the best I can so any help given will help my son and I just as much.


#2

[quote]fish_4_all wrote:
I’m 42, out of shape, okay strength. Looking to gain muscle, lose inches in waste and get back into both muscular and cardio shape.
Son is 14, going to start training for high school football. Needs to put on some weight and a lot of muscle mass. Speed, agility and stamina also.[/quote]
Nutrition will be crucial for both of you to reach your goals (Side note: you do need to prioritize your goals. You can’t do four things at once).

There was a recent thread with a dad looking to help his 15-year old put on some size for football. Check it out for some good tips:

Injury?



It’s awesome that you guys will be working together, but do understand that your goals are pretty opposite, so sooner or later, you won’t be able to do the same kind of training. Very-very-very basically, lift 2-4 days a week and use the sled 2-4 days a week.

There are tons of lifting plans on the site, any basic one would work. The articles above should help you sort out how to use the sled. As simple as alternating heavy/short distance with lighter/longer distance sessions with the sled is a place to start.

Height, weight, and general fat level (pudgy, average looking, lean) for both of you would be a start. Do you have other equipment in your home gym?


#3

Haven’t done it, but this is the first thing that popped in my head and I don’t know if it will work for you.


#4

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:

[quote]fish_4_all wrote:
I’m 42, out of shape, okay strength. Looking to gain muscle, lose inches in waste and get back into both muscular and cardio shape.
Son is 14, going to start training for high school football. Needs to put on some weight and a lot of muscle mass. Speed, agility and stamina also.[/quote]
Nutrition will be crucial for both of you to reach your goals (Side note: you do need to prioritize your goals. You can’t do four things at once).

Priority is my son. If I have to work like he does then so be it. there has to be a way for me to get a coupe of my goals while working out with him and doing what he does. Eventually he will simply surpass what I can accomplish in many areas. I just have to make sure he sees it and I give him a little competition early on to make sure he works harder and builds muscle.

There was a recent thread with a dad looking to help his 15-year old put on some size for football. Check it out for some good tips:

I will check it out, thank you.

Injury?

Medical condition, lifting weight has the potential to be dangerous. Unpredictable and uncontrollable muscle tremors make a bar a dangerous thing.



Those helped a lot, I will get to work on a plan and post it for fine tuning.

It’s awesome that you guys will be working together, but do understand that your goals are pretty opposite, so sooner or later, you won’t be able to do the same kind of training. Very-very-very basically, lift 2-4 days a week and use the sled 2-4 days a week.

There are tons of lifting plans on the site, any basic one would work. The articles above should help you sort out how to use the sled. As simple as alternating heavy/short distance with lighter/longer distance sessions with the sled is a place to start.

More great information, I am glad I asked for help because I searched for 2 weeks and never saw any of the articles or posts you recommended. Maybe my search skills just suck.

Height, weight, and general fat level (pudgy, average looking, lean) for both of you would be a start. Do you have other equipment in your home gym?[/quote]

5"9" 190, good strength in core and legs, mediocre in arms, body fat about 25% but that is a guess, never had it calculated properly. My tremors have a great side effect, lots of muscle just i the wrong places and I would bet formed and used in the wrong way. Twisting motion, while I see it in workouts, probably are not a good thing when they occur for at least 90 minutes a day. I may be too hard on myself for my actual physical condition. I can run 50 yards every minute or two and not fall over out of breath. I can do 20-30 push-ups, 35-40 sit-ups, carry both my sons, 250# or so, and still walk full stride for 20 yards. I can still lift a 150# bail of hay and move it without too much effort ad not become winded.

Son is 5’3" 125# lean mean running fighting machine. Lean with about 7/8 of a six pack or 8 pack in his case. Can sprint all day, 50 push-ups and sit-ups is a good warm-up for him.

Nutrition: I have to research this and research it hard. I know I do not know near enough to even come close to a proper diet for my son to build enough muscle where he needs to.

Other equipment: Ab Lounge, total gym, dumbbells, exercise bands, Gazelle freestyle. Gym workout will hopefully start with the high school soon and be done right so lifting should be covered. Football coach is supposed to run it and focus on technique and muscle building.

I’ll be honest, I want to work with him to motivate myself to workout. Doing separate workouts will become a necessity sooner than I want but until then, his workout is mine, as much as I can do, as long as I can do it and as many reps as I can do with him. Minus the weight training.


#5

1 Man Island, I will try and apply some of that. Guess I need to get to work on somethng that can be fine tuned because anything i come up with me rough and probably light in areas and way too heavy in other.

Being a noob, chins are chin ups?
Dead lifts can be done lifting anything right? I don’t have weights but putting together a lumber dead lift weight shouldn’t be too hard.


#6

[quote]fish_4_all wrote:
Priority is my son. If I have to work like he does then so be it. there has to be a way for me to get a coupe of my goals while working out with him and doing what he does. Eventually he will simply surpass what I can accomplish in many areas. I just have to make sure he sees it and I give him a little competition early on to make sure he works harder and builds muscle.[/quote]
Sounds like it’ll be motivating to you both, so definitely go for it. Not sure if your son is lifting or training now, but don’t be surprised if you guys are pretty equal for the first few weeks. Sled work can be a special kind of brutal if you haven’t done it before, so if it’s new to you both, you’ll be starting off from the same point.

Gotcha. You definitely know what you can/can’t do better than I do, so just work within your capabilities and push things (smartly) whenever possible. Some kind of resistance training, whether it’s lifting weights, bodyweight stuff, bands or whatever, is necessary to build muscle. When guys drop bodyfat by doing lots of cardio, even weighted sled work, but not lifting, that’s how you end up smaller, lighter, but still jiggly without any real “tone” to the muscles.

Okay yeah, so it sounds like you’ve got a relatively-decent conditioning base, it’s just mostly a bodyfat issue. With that in mind, you should be able to go hard in the training, and use the tightened-up nutrition to drop the fat. Good stuff.

Heads up, the “thing” I see with young guys who have abs is that they hate to lose their abs. So if he starts gaining weight and puts on a little fat, he might freak out, get hesitant about eating enough, and cut back on food. This is extremely short-sighted thinking on his part. Gaining 20 pounds, even if 10 is fat, will change his strength and physique for the better in the long run, especially if he’s getting into football.

Between the bands and the dumbbells (presuming you have a decent range), that’s plenty to put together a solid plan with a little planning.

Sounds like the best you can do. And like I said before, it should be pretty motivating for both of you. Also, “I go, you go”-type workouts, where your only rest is while the other person is moving the sled, are absolutely killer and can be a great way for two people to push each other while training.

[quote]Being a noob, chins are chin ups?
Dead lifts can be done lifting anything right? I don’t have weights but putting together a lumber dead lift weight shouldn’t be too hard.[/quote]
Yep, chins are chin-ups. As for deadlifts, you can technically deadlift anything (the end of a couch, a big rock, car engine, dead body, whatever), but I’m not really sure how you could replicate it exactly without a barbell unless you worked up some kind of lever machine. But with the time, effort, and space it’d take, you’d be much better off just getting a barbell anyway.


#7

Need to figure out a way to hold the weight on. I think I may put some plywood between the cross members to hold the sand bags and weights.

I think the hardest part may be getting my son to eat enough to gain weight. He doesn’t realize he doesn’t eat anywhere near what he thinks he does. Gonna be a lot of peanut butter, chicken thighs, nuts, fruit and the rest. Might be harder to get him to cut the junk out.

I think I can manage something for myself for dead lifts with a lever system and sand bags or something. I plan to build a resistance machine someday that works with bands. Basic design that allows for a lot of different movements while always standing or kneeling. Basically a leg press that you use standing or on all 4’s.

Does it sound like a good idea? Something that forces a person to engage their core at all times.


#8

[quote]fish_4_all wrote:
I think the hardest part may be getting my son to eat enough to gain weight. He doesn’t realize he doesn’t eat anywhere near what he thinks he does. Gonna be a lot of peanut butter, chicken thighs, nuts, fruit and the rest. Might be harder to get him to cut the junk out.[/quote]
Again, that’s totally common. Try to focus more on making sure he eats the good stuff (quality protein and healthy fats) in addition to whatever junk he’s eating, instead of telling him “no more soda and chips.”

[quote]I plan to build a resistance machine someday that works with bands. Basic design that allows for a lot of different movements while always standing or kneeling. Basically a leg press that you use standing or on all 4’s.

Does it sound like a good idea? Something that forces a person to engage their core at all times. [/quote]
Sounds like a heckuva chore. For sure a lot of at-home lifters build their own equipment, but obviously you need to be super-careful when it comes to making anything that’s going to be supporting a load or providing resistance (even with bands, the strength curve and range of motion can be tricky). Again, getting a simple barbell and rack would be the foundation for a couple hundred bucks, and then you can cobble together other pieces whenever.

Dan John had a nice recent article about home gyms:

If you hit the Search Box (top right corner of the page), you should be able to search the forum for “homemade gym equipment” to see what other folks have put together.


#9

Sounds like you have some space… you could always get a tractor tire. Not exactly the same as DL or loadable, but not totally different.


#10

Well pictures didn’t post, have to figure that out. I got the hardware for my sleds and not just to put them together.

I have to agree that simple is going to be a lot better than trying to build a complex machine right away. Get some stuff here and there and expand as I go along.

as for space, just a garage that needs to cleaned out to have room to work out.