T Nation

Sled Pulling for Supporting Exercise


Thibs, do you consider sled pulls (facing forward of course) to have a lot of carry over to squat poundages? If so, how would program it into a strength program? So far I've used it mostly on off days with stuff such as good mornings or GHR's as supporting lifts on my leg day.


I use LOTS of various sled pulls. Not only for the lower body but also for the upper body. I'm careful when talking about 'carryover'. Carryover means that the gains on one exercise (e.g. sled pull) directly leads to proportional gains on another one (e.g. squats).

If we take that definition then no, there is no carryover from sled to squat.

HOWEVER sled exercises WILL increase squatting (and deadlifting, power clean, power snatch, etc.) performance if used properly.

Here are some guidelines..

  1. DO NOT limit yourself to only one movement pattern; the results will be limited. For the lower body alone we use 5-6 exercises, not counting prowler pushing (in other words 5-6 exercises that you can do with the sled). We used:

  2. Backwards dragging with the knees bent 90 degrees (more quads, especially vastus medialis)

  3. Forward dragging (although we prefer to do pushing with the prowler) for overall involvement
  4. Forward dragging with the torso bent forward (more glutes and hams)
  5. Pull-throughs (glutes and hams)
  6. Backwards dragging with the leg only slightly bent (quads and calves)
  7. Sideway dragging (whole hips musculature)

  8. Sled dragging can help you increase your squat by increasing lower body muscle mass as well as recovery. But to make it work you must use proper workout nutrition around it.

  9. We do it frequentely 3-4 time per week, and we do a lot of volume. For the lower body I find it to be more effective to focus on only a few strength lifts and a lot of sled volume. You will build more mass, recover faster and keep your nervous energy high.


Thank you so much for such a detailed response. That helps a lot!


CT, I believe you have justed invented a "functional leg extension."


Sure feels like it Mike. It hell on the quads. BTW, next time I'm in Colorado (probably early next year) you should drop by the headquarters for a few workouts. We have Eleiko weights so you'll be fine.


could you explain the sideway drag?

sled/prowler accounts for what percentage of you and your client's training volume on average. I say average because i realize this will vary from person to person.


Thanks for the invite, I will absolutely be there. Just let me know when and a good time. I may be getting a new job in the next month so I hope they at least let me take a day or so to go down there. But work would be the ONLY thing holding me back. Now I have to work to get in shape so I don't come across like a total loser. Speaking of which...

I went ahead and tried dragging tonight. I loaded up an old duffel bag with weights and tied some straps to it. This worked very well. I went to the park and dragged on grass to minimize wear on the bag. This was a brutal workout. I was skeptical about sled dragging - I really didn't think it could be better than complexes or kettlebell work. I was wrong. Walking forward I held the straps in my hands, I used my entire upper body and core (whatever the term "core" means anymore) to stabilize the straps. I actually feel my abs now - no kidding. I also tried the backwards drag with the bent knees. Yeah, it was like a leg extension but better. Sled dragging gives new meaning to "functional, total-body, core exercise."