To meet the demand for new ways to obtain a fitter and better toned body, fitness equipment is becoming more evolved and versatile than ever. The hip sled was designed with versatility in mind. This hardworking machine was designed to work the strongest muscles in your body — those of the legs.
A hip sled has a triangular frame, which reclines at an angle to accommodate several different exercises, while at the same time providing a safe and stable base. A typical hip sled is constructed using heavy gauge steel and has a weight capacity of up to 1800 pounds (816.47 kilograms). A roller system using sealed bearings allows a weighted pad or "sled" to slide up and down the front of the frame. The type of exercise determines whether you are sitting or standing on the hip sled.
Most hip sleds accommodate several different exercises. The two primary exercises that may be performed on a hip sled are squats and leg presses. Squats are performed in a standing position, while the leg press is performed in the seated position.
The "hack squat" is performed by standing at a semi reclining angle with your back against the top pad. You then flex your hips and knees until you reach a squatting position, then raise yourself up again by extending your knees. The benefit of performing this exercise using a hip sled is that you eliminate most of the spinal compression that can occur when resting heavy weights on your shoulders while performing a "free" squat.
Another exercise that can be performed using the hip sled is the leg press. While seated on the lower pad, you raise the weighted sled with your feet, working against gravity to push the sled up. Depending on the type of hip sled and the extra bells and whistles it features, you can tweak these basic exercises to add variety to your workout routine.