Sled Drags - "The Tai Chi of Speed and Strength Training"
Looking to get faster for the upcoming season? Ditch the sprints and and drag a sled instead. Sled drags are great for targeting the primary muscles used in sprinting and often the muscle groups that many athletes are lacking.
Louie Simmons of Westside Barbell calls power walking with a sled “the Tai Chi of speed and strength training”
Power walking while pulling a weighted sled will build powerful hamstrings, glutes, calves, and hips. Not only that, it is a low impact exercise that actually decompresses the spine as you walk making it also an effective rehab exercise. Putting less strain and impact on your body will allow you to recover faster while still being able to build the muscles that will make you a better athlete on the lacrosse field.
In order to perform this exercise, you are going to need the following:
Don’t have a sled. There are many different sleds on the market that you can purchase some more affordable than others.
Here some links below to buy:
Don’t wanna spend that much money? You can build your own for as little as 35 bucks using an old tire, wood boards and hardware.
The below video shows you how.
Always use caution and parental supervision when working with power tools and saws.
How to Perform:
You can utilize sleds for a variety of different exercises for both lower body and upper body, however for the purposes of this article, we are primarily focused on speed development.
The sled should be behind you and the lead/harness should be attached either to your chest or waist if you are using a belt.
When you walk, you should strike the ground with your heel first picking the toe up with each step. This is crucial as it will allow you to maximize hamstring and glute engagement.
You can experiment with the number of sets, weight, and trip length, but for sprinting. Louie Simmons recommends 6 to 8 trips of ~60 yards per trip.
Like any exercise, your body will eventually adapt to the stimulus you put on it. So in order to avoid this and maximize results it’s important to mix up your routine every 3 to 4 weeks. Below are some suggestions on how to achieve this.
- Side Step: Instead of walking forward all the time, try doing a side step variation. This will engage more of your inner thigh and outer glute muscles which will help you develop more strength and power when moving laterally on the lacrosse field.
- Vary Stride Length: Pretty self explanatory → Experiment with taking longer and shorter steps.
- Vary Tempo: Also self explanatory → Experiment with slow tempo walks, fast tempo walks, and medium temp walks.
Vary Toe Direction: When walking forward try pointing toes outward and inward instead of keep toes pointed straight. This will also engage different areas of the hamstrings and glutes. Remember, that even when changing toe direction, always strike with the heel first.
When to Perform:
The great thing about sled walking is that it is low impact. There is no limit to when or how you decide to incorporate sled walking in your strength and conditioning program. It can be used as a separate workout or included as an accessory exercise in your normal weight training regimine. In order, allow for optimal recovery it is recommended that you do not exceed 3 times per week and have at least 1 recovery day in between your sled walking workouts.
In summary, sled walking is a simple yet effective exercise to give yourself a leg up (no pun intended) on the competition. It is very effective at building strong hamstrings, glutes, hips, and calves, which are all crucial for building speed, quickness, and power.