Why We Love Sled Drags

When I first walked into Telos, one of the first things I noticed was the pile of metal sleds near the back door. Sled drags are a staple in our personal training programming and they can be used as a warm-up, accessory work, or finisher. The Telos coaches use sleds very often in our own training; the exercises we use in our own training is what we prescribe to our clients as well because we believe highly in them…the sleds is definitely one of them!

Sleds are a great tool to build strength in the lower body, power, and enhance GPP (general physical preparedness)– which is what every person needs, whether they are professional athletes or the average gym-goer. 

Side note: GPP is defined as “the preparatory phase of training that is intended to provide balanced physical conditioning in endurance, strength, speed, flexibility and other basic factors of fitness.”

If you ever look at the back parking lot, chances are you’ll see someone wearing a belt attached to a sled with plates and taking big powerful steps to drag the weight. 

How long should I use sleds?

It all depends! You can use sleds as a warm up, accessory piece, or finisher exercise. Below are a few guidelines:

  • Warm up: Sleds used for warm ups should be done within 10-15 minutes. This gives the body enough time to get blood flowing and warm up the muscles needed for the main strength lift (deadlift, squat).

  • Accessory: For our accessory piece, we typically use sleds for 3-6 sets of ~120 meters. But this also varies! If we’re focusing on heavier weights, we may go only 60 meters; if we have lighter loads, then 200 meters may be the option we use. 

  • Finisher: At this point of your workout, you may be fatigued therefore the weight loaded should be light to moderate.

How often should I sled?

The cool thing about sleds is that they can be used everyday! Unlike barbell training, there is not much impact on the joints when you sled drag so you will not feel that similar fatigue as you would with weight training. 

What variations are there?

The typical sled drags are often used to build power in the hamstrings, glutes, calves, and hips but there are variations that can target the upper body as well. 

  • Forward Sled

  • Backward Sled

  • Lateral Walks

  • Goblet Carry Sleds

  • Chest Press sled drags

  • Tricep extension sled drags

What should I vary in order to avoid accommodation?

  • Vary distance

  • Vary weight 

    • More weight, less distance

  • Vary your step direction: 

    • Forward walks

    • Lateral walks (inner thigh and outer glutes)

    • Backward walks (quad focused)

  • Vary Stride Length

  • Vary Tempo

The sled is a great training tool and something that should be added to your training if you haven’t already. It’s a great tool to build power and conditioning, and can be used in replace of sprints and other conditioning tools. The only downside is it’s pretty noisy when the metal sled drags across the concrete, so you can’t really do it at 5am unless you want to bother your neighbors.