What are the Benefits of Sled Dragging?

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  • Written By: Rebecca Harkin
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 18 January 2020
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Sled dragging is a physical fitness activity which involves pulling a sled forwards, backward, or sideways while running or walking across pavement or grass. The sled is usually a metal plate or car tire loaded with weights or left empty and attached to a rope with handles or a harness for pulling. Sled dragging strengthens several groups of muscles simultaneously. It also improves weight lifting, general physical preparedness (GPP), and speed training. This form of exercise can also be a constructive alternative to muscle building with free weights or machines and allows the athlete to work out outside, try something different, and face a new physical challenge.

One of the biggest benefits of sled dragging is that it can strengthen a variety of muscle groups in one exercise, maximizing training time. By dragging the sled backward the athlete can work on muscles in the thigh, lower back, shoulder, and forearms as well as improve grip strength. Forward sled dragging works the back of the leg, buttocks, forearm, and also improves grip strength. Most athletes and trainers feel that dragging a sled a short distance with a challenging amount of weight increases the amount of free weight or machine weight an athlete can later lift.


General physical preparedness is a form of well-rounded physical conditioning including aerobic stamina, strength, flexibility, and endurance. Weight lifters will sometimes become so focused on muscle building that their GPP decays. Dragging a sled a long distance or for a long time using no weight or a small amount of weight is a great form of GPP training. It combines a challenging aerobic workout with muscle strengthening and endurance building. Sled dragging for a long period of time or over a long distance is also a great workout for off days or as a recovery period during intense training.

Increasing the speed of certain movements is necessary for success in many sports. Sled dragging is a great way for athletes to learn how to explode through a movement and strengthen this skill. Placing a moderate amount of weight on a sled and exploding through a movement over and over is helpful because the athlete sees and often hears the sled physically respond. Sled dragging is also a great way to add variety to stale work outs. Using sled dragging to build muscle and strength in a new and challenging way outside the gym can reinvigorate an athlete’s commitment to fitness.


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Post 3

This workout does sound like it could be a decent at home workout. However, I think it would probably be better to do it with a trainer or some kind of other supervision first.

I imagine it would be pretty easy to injure yourself doing this! If you harnessed yourself to a homemade sled the wrong way it would probably be easy to get hurt. The harness could break or something.

And even if you don't experience a mechanical malfunction, you could probably injure yourself by moving the wrong way and straining something too. People hurt themselves doing pull-ups with improper form, so I'm sure the same thing could happen with sled dragging workouts.

Post 2

@sunnySkys - Maybe the general public doesn't know about sled drag workouts, but I think anyone who is into fitness probably does. If you really want to do this workout, don't be embarrassed!

I actually think this is a great alternative workout for people that don't want to go to the gym, embarrassment aside. As the article said, you can get a really well rounded workout just from sled dragging! Also, it seems pretty cost effective. It's not that expensive to get an old tire and weigh it down with various things.

Post 1

I've never heard of sled training, but it sounds really interesting. I like workouts that work more than one muscle group at once and also help general fitness. What's the use of having one group of well developed muscles if you don't have any physical endurance?

I think I would have to have a backyard or something if I was going to do this kind of workout though. It sounds like it would look kind of funny (dragging backward and sideways) and from what I understand that isn't a very well known workout. I don't think I'd want to do this in public!

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