Sleds are an incredible tool for any athlete to build strength, power and conditioning. They are incredibly versatile and can be used for many different upper- or lower-body exercises with the simple addition of a pair of straps. Below are five lower-body sled exercises for strength and conditioning.
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No straps are needed for this one, just the sled and a bit of weight. Place your hands a bit higher on the handles and straighten your arms. Keeping the back flat, drive one knee up toward your chest and back down to the ground. Focus on extending the leg and hip and driving the back leg through the ground. Repeat on the other side. Keep a slower methodical pace.
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Sled Sprints have the purpose of building lower-body power and endurance depending on the distance and rest periods used. Set up with your hands about three-quarters of the way up the handles with arms extended. Explosively drive the knees toward the chest and push the sled as fast as you can. If your focus is on power, keep the distances shorter and the rest periods longer. If you want to build endurance and conditioning decrease the rest periods and/or increase distance.
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This exercise will require the straps. Another note is that this variation will require a bit more weight than others. Grab the straps and face the sled, so you will be walking backwards while you drag it. Drop your butt slightly, step back so your arms are straight and walk backwards. Take small steps, keep the back flat and keep the arms straight as you drag.
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Another drag variation that will require the straps is the Forward Drag. Grab the straps but face away from the sled. Step forward slightly and straighten your arms behind you. With a forward lean of the upper body walk forward, making sure to keep the arms straight. You can change the variation by marching, taking regular steps, or even by heel walking with stiff legs to build the hamstrings.
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The final variation will again require the straps, but this time you will turn your body to face one side. Hold the straps in both hands with your outside arm in front of your body. Lean away from the sled slightly and step your inside foot across your body in front of your outside leg. When the foot strikes, drive back toward the sled. Step across and repeat. This is a great variation to build the hips and can help the day after Squats to alleviate some soreness.
Give these sled exercises a shot and make sure to follow me on Instagram for daily tips, technique and workouts!