Sledding Your Way to Better Fitness–Part 1
Push and Anterior Drag
Sleds have become an increasingly popular tool in the fitness world over the last decade. No longer reserved for the football team, more and more individuals are finding the value of weighted sleds for a variety of fitness goals. Louis Simmons started using them at his powerlifting gym Westside Barbell in Ohio as a means of active recovery and to build overall work capacity in the 90’s. Since that time, you’d be hard pressed to find a decent gym that doesn’t have a space where you can work with a sled. At Fenton Fitness, we’ve been using them with our athletes, general fitness population, and geriatric population for the last eight years. Sleds are great for a variety of reasons. While they can be one of the most challenging activities you do, there is less technique involved than most other free weight resistance training activities. The range of motion is not very extreme, and there is little eccentric loading which greatly reduces the amount of muscle soreness the day(s) after using this implement. Because of the friction while using the sled, the jarring impact on your body is greatly reduced as well. You can use a sled to train virtually every part of your body. You can use the sled as a power developer, strength developer, conditioning tool, or recovery tool depending on how your program it or load it. The only thing the sled probably falls short on is hypertrophy since it lacks any significant eccentric loading and typically doesn’t have a huge range of motion. This series will cover some of our favorite sled exercises.
Jeff Tirrell, CSCS, CSFC, Pn1
Push & Anterior Drag:
The sled push, in my opinion, is the most basic and natural movement you can do and is where I start 90% of our clients. Simple, but not easy. To start, grab the handles of the sled toward the top. Keep your arms straight (locked at the elbows) and take slightly longer than normal strides focusing on pushing the ground away from you, being sure not to let your foot get too far in front of you. Lean forward and let gravity work to your advantage. For some individuals with shoulder or neck injuries, the push may be difficult or painful. In these situations. we simply change things up and we can use an anterior (forward) drag. For this, attach a drag strap to the sled, stand with the sled behind you, and drag the sled forward. You can either hold onto the handles or use a harness for this purpose. We still want to lean forward and think about pushing the ground away from us while being sure to not overstride. Most individuals can start by loading 80-120% of their body weight and doing sets of 30-60 yards.
View video of the sled push and anterior drag here