I would respectfully disagree with your statememt about no carryover. If you are only pulling the sled on your toes, then you are doing something wrong. I can tell you that my glutes, hams, and lower back are all getting hit when I pull the sled. Has there been carryover to my squat and deadlift? Absolutely, since I incorporated sled dragging 2 months ago, they are both up 5%. Now is that strictly due to sled dragging, probably not. Does sled dragging help, absolutely? If nothing else, the conditioning that you get from pulling the sled gets you prepared for RE and DE days.
I appreciate the respect in your post.
I did some sleg dragging in my pre-season work for track and found that its nearly impossible to NOT get up on the toes. Unless you have a very short lead, the force is mostly horizontal (along the ground) and most people (exluding Barry Sanders) have the ankle flexibility to push through the heels when doing this movement.
Its just nearly physiologically impossible when keep the foot/knee/leg lined up. Now, if you were to “duck walk” dragging the sleg I could see that. But, to minimic the PL’s why would you want to flare out the leg/foot? In order to even perform a hip extension movement (like the DL) your knee must flex, putting the calf/foot into a deep dorsiflexion (foot toward lower leg). I just don’t see most people being able to push through the heels without risking an achilies rupture?
And, I TOTALLY agree that its a monster of a posterior chain develper. But, based on the physiology of the movement, I just didn’t see in mimicing the PL’s BETTER than other vertical isolateral exercises (i.e. step-ups).
Granted I don’t have very flexible calves, but even walking up a 10-15% grade you almost have to go up on your toes or you’ll lose your locomotion/conservation of energy. Each step would be like its own lift, lifting more vertically than horizontally.
Still, even if you could maintain heel pressure, you would have no choice but to also drive through the ball of foot which is exactly what PL do not want to do. Again, while the posterior chaine is being worked, a different motor pattern and balance has to be used.
I’m all for doing an unconventional movement in support of your event/sport. But, I guess I’m missing how sleg dragging can be done by pushing through the heels alone?!