Sled Workouts: Your Fitness Secret Weapon for 2024

If you have not tried sled workouts before, you are missing out on the chance to burn calories, build serious strength, and have fun during your next workout session. These exercises work your muscles effectively and offer a degree of customization and versatility that allows you to change it up in countless ways.  

Let’s look more closely at how you can use sled workouts in your training and the full-body benefits they can bring you. 

Top 10 Sled Workouts for Strength and Conditioning 

Let’s get into the workouts you can use with the sled workout system. The workout strategy you choose will let you target different muscle groups for muscle growth or weight loss. You should aim to do the exercises in sets, such as three rounds of 12 repetitions. Here are some of the most common exercises people will do with sled systems.

Sled Push

With a sled push, you will stand behind the sled and hold onto poles directly on the sled. Use a high grip on the handles to obtain the best body position. Engage your core muscles and begin to push the sled forward.

This basic push is highly customizable. For example, if you want to work on your speed, use about 25% of your maximum weight. On the other hand, if you want to build power, use 70% of your maximum load. 

sled push exercise

Sled Pull 

With a sled pull, you will face the sled. Position your body in a squat-like stance with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees and your hips a bit and engage your core. Then, grab onto the rope attached to the sled and begin to shift your body back, starting with the hips. In this position, begin pulling the sled. 

Sled Drag 

With the sled drag, you will face away from the sled. For this exercise, you will use a harness to attach the sled directly to your waist. Then, position your body by getting into a squat position again with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees and hips slightly bent. Keeping your back straight, you will walk forward at a slow pace. 

Lateral Sled Drag 

The lateral sled drag allows you to focus specifically on your lateral muscles, particularly the hip and leg strength. You will stand with the sled to one side of you and attach the sled to your waist. You will then move slowly away from the sled, keeping it always aligned with the side of your body. 

Sled Row 

The sled row targets your upper back as well as other muscles in the arms and back. Face the sled with your knees and hips slightly bent. Position yourself so that both arms are extended while holding onto the rope or handles of the sled. Then, pull your arms towards your body as though you are rowing. Step back until your arms are extended again and repeat. 

Chest Press Sled Drill 

With the chest press, you want to have one rope handle in each hand while facing away from the sled. Step away from the sled until the line is tight between you and the sled. Then, press your hands forward with a tight core until the arms are extended. Step forward to reposition yourself and repeat. 

Sled Sprint 

During a sled spring, you will sprint about 40 yards while attached to a sled. This is not done with a particularly heavy sled, but instead a lighter load. Often, athletes will time themselves without the sled, then attach the sled with a little weight and rerun the sprint.

You will know you found the right amount of weight to add when the sprint with the weights is about 10% slower than the standard sprint. You then repeat the sprint with the weights for the desired number of repetitions.  

weight sled pull

Farmer’s Walk with Sled Drag 

A farmer’s walk is an additional step you can add to your sled drag. Perform the sled drag as described above. The farmer’s walk then involves carrying weights back to your starting position. 

Sled Bear Crawl 

With a sled bear crawl, you will want to use some of the heavier weights you can manage. You will then use your harness to attach the sled to your waist. Get down on all fours so that you can crawl on your hands and the balls of your feet. Begin to move forward with the sled. 

Sled Bulgarian Split Squat 

Do the Bulgarian split squat, you will use the sled to hold one leg bent up off the floor. Once you have your balance, sink down into a squat on your other leg. After you finish your reps for one leg, switch legs. 

Safety Tips for Sled Workouts 

Like any type of exercise, you do need to be careful as you begin workouts to abide by best practices and protect yourself. Here are our safety tips for your workouts: 

  1. Do not try to add too much weight too quickly.
  2. Make sure you keep your core muscles engaged to avoid strain and keep your muscles positioned properly. Similarly, keep your back straight and maintain a neutral spine position.
  3. Perform your sled exercises on an even surface. 
  4. If you cannot maintain your form properly during an exercise, take a break and consider decreasing weight. 
  5. Do a warm up before beginning your sled workout to ensure your muscles are ready to go. 
  6. Provide your body with proper recovery time after a workout. 
  7. Always listen to your body! If something hurts or doesn’t feel right, stop. 

sled exercises in a gym

Benefits of Sled Workouts 

Sled training works muscles throughout your body, allowing you to target different muscle groups, especially under the guidance of a personal trainer. You can also increase or decrease weight loads depending on your workout goals for the day and how often you go to the gym. Together, this creates a workout that brings together several benefits. Here are a few central ones. 

Improved Strength 

Depending upon your sled workout, you can target muscle groups throughout your body, including your upper body, core, and lower body. These strength training exercises allow you to adjust the amount of weight you use, so you can effectively push your muscles and improve your body strength. 

Increased Endurance 

Sled work can be done incrementally. This means you can steadily increase the amount of weight you load onto the sled. You can also increase the number of reps or the distance you pull the sled. All these variations improve your endurance. 

Enhanced Speed 

As you build your muscle groups and experience the improved strength, you can also increase your power and speed. The sled can also be used to provide resistance as you start an exercise, which can then improve your overall starting speed in a typical performance scenario. 

Better Mobility 

Sleds can be used to help with cross-body training. It helps to improve knee health by strengthening the joints. These workouts are also low impact and do not compress the spine, which makes them a good choice for recovery after an injury. 

Fat Loss 

If you want to improve your body weight with fat loss, these workouts engage the entire body and provide an effective means of burning fat. Since the workouts designed with sleds tend to be anaerobic, they provide an effective means of dropping weight. 

Essential Equipment for Sled Workouts 

Now that you can see some of the reasons why so many have eagerly added sled workouts into their training routines, you need to know the equipment required to get started with your own sled workout. 


The sled is the core training tool of your workout equipment. The sled will drag along the ground as you move, providing resistance and forcing you to use your muscles to get it moving. There are a few different styles of sled designs, but most will typically feature a pole in the middle where you will add the appropriate weight plates and then smooth components on the underside that drag along the ground. 

weight sled in a gym


The harness will attach you to the sled. You might want to have a few different options, depending on your goals for the sled workouts. Some people want to have ropes they can use to pull the sled while others will want handles on the sled itself to push.

Still other workouts will call for people to attach the sled to their waists directly to pull behind them. Look for the setup that offers you the versatility you need to succeed. 

Weight Plates 

Weight plates get stacked on top of the sled to determine how challenging the sled will be to move. You can add or subtract weight plates depending upon your goals for a given day and the exercises you are doing. As you build strength, you can adjust your weight as well. 

Incorporating Sled Workouts into Your Training Routine 

Sled workouts offer great fitness options to incorporate into your workout routines. With the opportunity to improve strength, burn fat, and increase power and speed, you can use these versatile exercises in a variety of different ways. 

Rather than investing in the space and equipment yourself, check out one of the several Chicago Athletic Clubs locations. Aside from weight sleds, you’ll find a host of other top-tier gym equipment, classes, yoga, Pilates, and more.