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The TANK from Torque Fitness appears to be very unconventional, and in all reality it is. Rather than the traditional metal ski's that are featured on the bottom of the weighted platform, the TANK features 4 massive, air-filled tires with a big, heavy-duty frame attached.
Next to one of the wheels is an unassuming box that blends in with the rest of the frame, but in reality is where the heart of the machine lies.
The TANK utilizes magnetic resistance versus the traditional friction-based sleds that dominate the market. Similar to the way a magnetic resistance bike works, there is a flywheel that is linked to the magnets, and the level of resistance is controlled by the level of electric current going through the magnets. So, when you adjust the dial up and down for increased resistance on the sled, you increase the current going through the magnets.
Here's a breakdown of how it looks on the sled:
Many people will look at the weight sitting on the sled and think it must be hard to push, but the weight is simply there to provide traction for the wheels. When you really start driving into the sled, it can have a tendency to lift off, the weight keeps the wheels grounded to allow the resistance of the magnets to continue.
Magnetic resistance is not only consistent, but it also allows the sled to be used on any surface. Frictionless sleds are undoubtedly superior to their counterparts, and the TANK is on the forefront of this technology.
The TANK from Torque Fitness is large. As such, the box it came in was also quite big; in fact, it was so big and heavy it was delivered on a pallet.
Torque Fitness knows how to ship equipment.
We receive quite a bit of new equipment at GGR HQ, and we've had some varying results of success. Everything in the TANK boxes was sorted and organized to both protect the equipment and allow it to be easy to remove. Here's what the inside looked like:
Like a kid on Christmas, we were excited to pull this bad boy out and get it assembled. Although there are quite a few parts, the TANK was for the most part pre-assembled.
We went to work attaching the wheels, weight horns, and handles. Within a few minutes, the combination of wrenches, bolts, nuts, and a meaty set of forearms, the beast came alive!
Push sleds have been around for some time in various forms. The most popular style was the one introduced and marketed by EliteFTS known as the Prowler. The Prowler features one ski on the front, two on the back and gain's its resistance through the friction between the skis and the pavement. The more weight you put on the sled, the harder it is.
The Prowler, although a great sled, does have its problems. First off, you are limited to the surfaces you can use it on. Due to the way the sled gains its friction, some surfaces are off-limits because the sled simply won't move and others due to the damage created. The second problem the traditional sled has is the noise it makes. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to assume that dragging steel with hundreds up pounds pushing it into the concrete would make an unnecessary amount of noise. Finally, the prowler can only really be pushed in one direction until it's time to turn it around.
After seeing the success that EliteFTS had with the Prowler, many other competitors came along including Rogue Fitness who introduced the Dog Sled.
The Dog Sled features two parallel steel runners and is an improvement on the Prowler in a few areas. For one, the Dog Sled takes up much less space than the Prowler all while being just as effective. In addition, the Dog Sled has spots for handles on both sides of the sled, so rather than having to turn the sled completely around, you can either buy an extra set of posts or swap them to the other holes during your workout.
Although the Dog Sled was an improvement upon the Prowler, the two biggest problems still remained. Noise and surfaces the sled could be used on.
I say all of this to explain that the TANK from Torque Fitness has pretty much eliminated all of these problems other sleds experience. I say pretty much because there are still improvements to be made that I'll detail later.
Before I get too much into the performance of the machine, let's first discuss how it's built.
The Torque Fitness TANK is absolutely, positively overbuilt. When it comes to strength training equipment, this is exactly what you want. There are items that I want to be as lightweight, small, and nimble as possible, but something like a sled that will see years of abuse and wear and tear is not something I ever want to give out.
The base that the TANK is built on is 2x3 steel tubing, similar to what the most popular squat racks are made of. Attached to the fully welded base are four wheels that look like a scaled down version of what you see on giant tractors. The tread is aggressive enough that it won't slip while on grass and turf yet still performs well on concrete. One worry I had regarding the tires is that they would slip off their rims while moving the TANK around. However, I have had no issues in this department up to this point.
One of the great features that Torque Fitness included was two handles on both sides of the sled. Anybody who uses a sled understands the pain of having to turn a sled around when doing interval training (not to mention how large this bad boy is,) so having a sled with handles on both sides come standard is a big benefit.
The handles are attached narrowly to the base and end outside the shoulders at the top. This shape allows the user to push the sled from any height they'd like and is optimal for driving both with the arms extended and bent. Torque Fitness has since come out with a pair of "Performance Handles" that are shaped quite a bit differently that may be better for some users, but I have no qualms with the current handles.
On top of the handles are two heavy duty rubber grips that won't be sliding off anytime soon. Although the rubber is awesome to grip, I often find myself pushing lower on the handles and have had no problems slipping due to the electrostatic paint coating (e-coating.)
Although electrostatic coatings haven't often been used in the fitness industry, it is in many ways superior to powder-coating. One of the ways e-coating is applied is by dipping electrically conductive parts into a tank of paint that is then electrostatically charged. The ionic bond of the paint to, in this case the metal frame, creates the paint coating. The longer the metal is in the tank, the thicker the coating; although I don't know the exact thickness of the e-coating, I can tell you, you should never have to worry about the TANK rusting.
Not only have I been unable to scratch it in any way, but I also left it out in the rain to see how it would defend against the elements and thanks to the entire body being coated in the e-coat as well as stainless steel hardware being used, I saw no issues. In fact, Torque even sells a cover if you'd like to leave it outside full-time. E-coating truly is something special, and I'd love to see it used on power-racks eventually.
In addition to the handles for pushing, there are hooks on each side of the sled that can be used to attach belts, battle ropes, tow straps, and just about anything else you can think of. Torque actually sells a kit that includes all of this and more that allows you to make the most of the machine.
To protect the magnetic resistance motor, there is a ventilated cap that hides the inner workings that are coated in the same e-coating as the rest of the sled.
Finally, the TANK is plastered with various logos and phrases. Although I'm typically against a ton of logos, Torque has made the TANK look tasteful and I actually really like the different graphics, especially the moniker "Don't Quit" that stares you in the face as you push the sled and your body feels like it's going to combust.
Moving on from the construction of the Torque Fitness TANK, let's talk about the performance.
I typically use a sled about 2-3 times a week. Most people only use the sled for HIIT conditioning sprints, but that's only a small portion of what sleds are capable of. No matter if I'm focusing on upper body, lower body, or my whole body, the sled is an effective way to increase strength and burn donuts from the night before.
Although the TANK is built incredibly well, it doesn't matter much if it's difficult and overly complex to use. Thankfully, the sled performs as well as it's built.
As stated earlier, although there is weight stacked on the sled, it's there solely to give the wheels traction, not to provide additional resistance. Resistance is applied by adjusting a handle on the side of the sled.
There are four levels of resistance. The first is neutral which allows you to move the sled around quickly and although there is some resistance due to the weight of the sled, it's minimal.
The second setting provides resistance that should build speed power. It's a light resistance that will allow sprints and runs over longer distances and is a great setting for sled drags with a harness.
The third setting is difficult and feels a bit like you're pushing the sled through mud. For HIIT Training, this setting was my favorite as I could still run hard and not feel like I was pushing a Mac Truck.
Speaking of the Mac Truck, that's what the fourth setting feels like. This setting is extremely difficult, and no matter how hard you push, you're not going to go anywhere fast. My quads felt on fire after doing some 40-yard sprints (that term is deceptive) in this setting.
One of the things you notice about the TANK that is greatly superior to traditional sleds is the constant tension. Pavement is uneven and consists of both rough and smooth parts and often in the same 5-foot stretch. With a traditional sled, some parts will be easy and others nearly impossible. With the TANK, no matter the surface, the resistance will be the same and constant. Not only is this better for those training for health and fitness, but it's much better for those training for sport and want to know exactly the kind of resistance they're going to get.
Finally, you don't have to use a sled for very long to realize how annoying loading and unloading weight can be. With the Tank, I simply leave the weight on and flip the switch to whatever setting best suits my desired training effect. Simple is better when it comes to training.
Overall, the TANK from Torque Fitness is a big improvement over traditional sleds, and I can't wait to see how Torque Fitness uses this technology in the future.
Although I have high praise for the TANK, there's no denying that it is both expensive and bulky. There is a certain group of people who only purchase things they view as "cheap" and this will not be something worth looking at. However, there is another group who understand that often in life, you get what you pay for, and that's certainly true with the TANK.
I currently train out of my 3-car garage gym, and although the TANK takes up a bit of space, it hasn't ever gotten in the way. I believe this sled is so versatile I would have no problem having only it and a barbell, weights, and power rack. Thankfully, I have enough space for more than that, but this sled could certainly be useful for home gym owners.
The audience that I believe would most benefit from a TANK are personal trainers, Commercial Gym Owners (including CrossFit Affiliates,) and strength coaches. We have many in the previous category that follow our recommendations, and I want to speak specifically to this group of people.
As someone who makes money keeping your clientele engaged and performing at their peak, the TANK should be in every one of your tool boxes. Not only is it unorthodox, but it's also fun, and according to studies, one of the top reasons people quit a training program is due to boredom. If you're not investing in pieces of equipment that engage your clientele/athletes, then don't expect your business to grow.
Not only is the TANK fun, but it's also safe and effective. Traditional sleds tear up flooring and can shoot up rocks and other harmful materials found on the road. The TANK can be used anywhere and will provide the same resistance on each surface. Rather than having to load weight for
For you strength coaches, rather than having to load weight for your lineman, then your backs, and finally your receivers, simply flip a switch and you can accommodate every athlete easily, and measurably. It's a no-brainer, and a reason so many teams including the Pittsburgh Steelers are using the TANK.
As with any piece of equipment we review at Garage Gym Reviews, there are some things on the TANK we believe could be improved.
First off, our biggest complaint with the TANK is maneuvering it. For commercial gym settings that have no need to move the TANK other than forward and back, this isn't an issue. But for someone like me having to roll the tank out to the street and then lift the back-end and shuffle it a couple inches at a time until it's parallel with the road all while worrying the tires are going to come off the rims.
One way we think this could be fixed is by having a pin that detaches one set of wheels from being fixed so you could turn the Tank however you'd like. We hope to see this issue improved in a future iteration of the TANK.
Another area for improvement is creating a model that is smaller. The frame could easily be shortened, and we could even forsee a model that has one wheel in front and two in the back that when needed to be turned, you simply do a wheelie on the back wheels to position it how you would like. The magnetic resistance technology is too big a benefit for so many applications, that I would hate to see it only be used on the TANK. In our opinion, Torque Fitness should (and likely is) investing in this technology to be used in various applications. Imagine a cable pulley machine that used magnetic resistance and recoiled on its own? The possibilities are endless.
The smaller model would also likely meet another improvement we'd like to see, and that is a less-expensive model. The TANK should be in the garages of ever home gym owner, and a less-expensive and bulky model would allow that to happen.
Finally, the last improvement we'd like to see is even more incremental resistance settings. Something like a dial with 11 settings (Spinal Tap anyone?) would allow for an even more dialed in approach.
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