Sledding Your Way to Better Fitness–Part 3
Posterior and Lateral Drags
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
Posterior & Lateral Drag:
The posterior (backward drag) will take your hips and calf significantly out of the movement and will shift a major focus to your quads (front of your thigh). Simply attach a drag strap to the sled. Using either handles or a harness, walk backwards, sit your hips down, and try to get as much range of motion as you can out of your knee. Keep your shoulders behind your hips. If using handles, keep your arms straight, with your shoulder blades pulled back and down slightly. The lateral drag is unique in that it gets us into the often neglected frontal plane of movement. Use the drag strap and handles, grabbing the handle with only one hand with the sled at the side. Lean to your side and drag the sled sideways using a karaoke pattern with your feet/hips. For posterior drags, individuals are typically pretty strong and can typically start with 80-120% of their bodyweight for 30-60 yards. For lateral drags, grip can often be a limiting factor so starting in the 40-70% range is probably better.
View video of the sled march and sprints here