Pull forward, backward, sideways, high or low.
There are so many benefits to dragging a sled!
New to strength training?
Don’t add too much extra conditioning, therefore sledding may not be for you.
Intermediate level of strength training?
You can, and should, add in some strength endurance training like hill sprints, interval training, prowler pushes, or sled pulls.
I was first introduced to sled dragging back in 2005 when a Rugby team friend who was NFL mad started bring his own sled to training and I knew it would be a great addition to my strength training program.
Back when I was playing Rugby League it was crazy to think that sled garage weren’t part of our everyday training, as leg drive is a major component Of the sport, when breaking tackles etc.
Benefits of Prowler Sled Training
The benefits of dragging a sled are many and include:
✓ Active recovery.
✓ Strengthening common weak areas like the hamstrings, upper back, hips, glutes.
✓ Increased work capacity, improve deadlifts/squats.
✓ Flexibility and mobility.
✓ Restorative work for shoulder, knee, back, hip pain.
✓ Reduce risk of injury from weightlifting.
✓ Add variety to training. Get outdoors and use your body in a different way.
✓ Easy to use and doesn’t require a special trip to the gym.
Sled Training Variations
There are a ton of different ways to pull the sled. Here are some of the variations I have used and find awesome benefit from.
Lower Body Variations
1) Targets: hips, glutes, hamstrings
Pull sled with straps attached to a weightlifting belt or harness from behind. Take long powerful strides with upright body.
2) Targets: hamstrings and posterior chain
With straps behind the back and below knees and torso bent over, take long strides forward.
3) Targets: front hips, lower abs, and hamstrings
Walk with the strap around your ankles. Take forceful steps and reap the rewards of this movement.
4) Targets: quads & front of hips
Walk backward with strap attached around the front of your belt.
Upper Body Variations | Entire upper body
Walk forward with strap behind you, pressing like you would on a bench.
Walk backward with strap in your hands in front of you. As you step back row the sled towards you, pulling your shoulders back and squeezing your lats.
3) Rear raises, front raises.
Use the strap as if it was a pulley and perform rear and front raises for shoulder health, strength, and recovery.
How many, How long, How often, How much weight?
To start off: six trips of 20 meters each pull. For example: 20 meters push, 20 meters pull up & back 1 rep so complete 6 for a set.
There are lots of option just be creative to challenge yourself.
How often? Have 1-3 sessions a week, each session a different weight, and use the taper method, heavier than lower.
How heavy? Add weight, start light.
Use the rule of 60%: Start heavy on day 1 and reduce the weight each day for 3 consecutive days. Then go back to a heavy weight the fourth day.
Example – 60 kg., 50kgs., 40kgs., 60kgs., – each weight representing one day.
You could also perform light weight and sprints to work on speed and explosive power. There are endless ways to use the sled, get creative!
Take Home Message
Next to a squat rack, barbell and pull-up bar, I would say the sled is one of the top essential pieces of strength and conditioning equipment for any lifter.
If you are a beginner I would advise to take it easy with conditioning on top of your strength training program. That’s not to say you can’t try it out and still make good progress with your program, but it may slow things down if you do too much and don’t eat/sleep enough.
Personally, sled dragging has enhanced my overall physical fitness level. My squat and deadlift have benefited from the lower body work and I’ve also found my recovery time to improve when I used the sled one to three times a week.
The sessions don’t take long, maybe fifteen minutes to a half hour and it’s definitely worth it.