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Weight sleds — those metal sleigh-like devices with a peg in the middle — are great for pulling poundage either with a shoulder harness or handles. The following sled moves might not be as traditional as regular pulls or drags, but they will increase your leg strength and power, and are great for interspersing between your regular strength moves to keep your heart rate soaring.
Want to try your hand at “sledding?” See if your local gym offers this equipment, or find a supplier online. To get started, mark the ends of a distance 20 to 25 yards in length and place your sled at one end; this will be your starting position.
Target Muscles: leg abductors and adductors, glutes, core
Set Up: Start at one of your predetermined marks and attach a waist belt to the sled. Secure it around your waist and step away from the sled, standing sideways and ensuring there is no slack in the rope. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart, knees and hips slightly flexed. Keep your shoulder blades retracted with your arms bent, as shown. (Don’t have a belt? Instead, attach two handles to your sled. Holding one in each hand, extend your arms in the direction of the sled with the rope taut.)
Action: Step away from the sled, crossing the foot closest to the sled in front of your far foot. Step your rear foot out from behind your front foot to open your stance, and continue in the same manner. As you move, pump your arms in opposite directions to the front and rear of your body. (If using handles, omit this step.) When you reach your mark, switch directions – if you were originally leading with your left side, you should now be leading with your right – and continue until you end at your starting position. Rest for up to two minutes and repeat up to three times.
Tip: Make sure your straightaway is clear before starting this move. You will want to keep your focus in front of you, not in the direction of your path, so that your shoulders and hips remain square.
Target Muscles: quadriceps, deltoids, core, calves
Set Up: Get behind the sled on all fours. Your feet should be about hip-width apart with your hands gripping the sides of the sled, keeping your arms extended so your hands are not directly below your shoulders.
Action: Start moving the sled by pushing off with your legs. Don’t let your hips raise too high into the air as you travel; they should stay relatively in line with your body as you move. Continue stepping until you reach your mark, then turn the sled around and continue back to the start. Rest for up to two minutes and repeat up to three times. (Our model is pushing the sled with its runners horizontal instead of facing forward, like a toboggan. This increases the intensity of this exercise, so if you want a bit less of a challenge, turn the sled so that the runners are pointing in the same direction as your body.)
Tip: Don’t have a sled? If you are training indoors, simply use an Olympic weight plate, which can be pushed on a carpet or turf – just make sure you don’t pile them dangerously on top of each other.