In part 1 of this series, I discussed the drive sled and why it is such an effective training tool.
In this post, I’m going to show you the very best sled techniques, and then give you some actual sled workouts. Alright, let’s get to the good stuff!
Technique 1- Forward sled push
This is an awesome technique that involves standing behind the sled and pushing it for a prescribed distance. There are a few variables that need to be considered when using this technique, depending on your goals:
1) Speed- During a forward sled push, you can either power walk or run with the sled. The decision on which speed to use will depend on the desired training effect.
If lower body strength training is your goal, simply load up the sled heavy and focus on driving force into the ground (with your body at a 45-60 degree angle to the ground) while power walking. Treat this as you would a unilateral lower body exercise.
On the other hand, if conditioning is more your goal, you should run at 85-95% of your max speed for maximal benefit.
2) Distance- For pure strength work or acceleration training, keep your distance short. 15-25 yards is the distance I most commonly prescribe for this training effect. For conditioning, you can go as far as 25 yards down and back.
3) Body position- As a rule of thumb, standing upright and grabbing the handles high will work your core and hamstrings more, while grabbing the handles low will work more quads and glutes.
Note: I typically recommend grabbing the handles as low as possible while being mindful of the athlete’s shoulder health and hip mobility.
Technique 2- Forward sled drag
This is another one of my favorites. It involves standing in front of the sled and pulling/dragging it for a prescribed distance. There are a few variables to consider when using this technique:
1) Sled connecting- There are three useful ways to connect your body to the sled.
a) Holding onto sled straps behind your body
b) Having a belt around your waist and attaching a sled strap or chain to the belt
c) Wearing a harness and attaching the harness to sled strap or chain.
2) Speed- During a forward sled drag, you can either walk (for restoration), power walk (for strength and hypertrophy) or run with the sled (for acceleration).
3) Distance- For restoration, I usually prescribe walking for 100 yards. For pure strength work, power walk for 20-30 yards. For acceleration training, run for 15-20 yards. And for conditioning, you can either power walk for 30-100 yards or run for 20-25 yards, repeating with short rest intervals.
4) Body position- During a restorative walk, you will remain in a walking stride. For everything else you should lean forward (without rounding your back) and stay angled throughout each set.
Technique 3- Backward sled drag
This technique is great at blasting the quads. It involves standing in front of the sled while facing it. Here are the considerations when using this technique:
1) Sled connecting- I recommend holding onto a pair of sled straps or wearing a belt around your waist that is looped through a sled strap.
2) Speed- During a backward sled drag, you can either walk (for restoration) or power walk (for strength, conditioning and hypertrophy).
3) Distance- For restoration, I usually prescribe walking for 40 yards. For pure strength work, power walk for 20-30 yards. For hypertrophy and conditioning, power walk 30-60 yards.
4) Body position- During backward sled dragging, you can either remain upright or do a partial squat while dragging. Either is good, but make sure to take the athlete’s knee health into consideration.
I do use other sled techniques for special situations or variety, but the above techniques will definitely give you the most bang for your buck.
Now let’s put the pieces to the puzzle together show you some sample workouts.
Sample conditioning workout
Technique- Forward sled push running at 90%
– 4 sets of 20 yards down and back
– Rest 120 seconds in between sets
– This can be done in isolation or at the end of a strength training session.
Sample acceleration workout
Technique- Forward sled drag running at 95%
– 5 sets of 15 yards
– Rest 120 seconds in between sets
– This can be done during a sprint session or at the beginning of a strength workout.
Sample hypertrophy workout
Technique- Backward sled drag walk
– 3 sets of 40 yards
– Rest 60 seconds in between sets
– This can be done at the end of a strength training session.
Try these on for size. The sled will infuse a fun and super effective aspect to your training. Get to it and drag yourself to the next level!
Dedicated to your success,