9 Sled Dragging Variations to Kick Up Your Cardio

There’s been a lot of cardio bashing in the fitness industry. Some say that steady state cardio isn’t the best way to lose weight or burn fat. Some say you should only lift weights with intensity and then perform low level cardio like walking. Others will say HIIT (high intensity interval training) is the only way to get results.

It’s easy to see how the general public could be confused to the point of taking zero action. Everything you read contradicts itself and coaches and trainers spend more time arguing over what’s “better” than actually coaching people to improve their lives.

The bottom line is that everyone wants to build muscle and burn fat. To what degree this will happen is completely individual. This blog post is not the place to debate the “perfect” way to work out, because there isn’t one.

I used to be a cardio basher myself. I grew up playing soccer all the way through college so I think by the time I was done running endless 120’s I was sick of cardio 🙂

But as a young trainer I also got sucked into the dogma of the “only” way is to lift and maybe sprint on occasion.

Now the seasoned vet that I am, I understand there’s different levels for each person, different degrees of weight loss that need to happen and ultimately personal preferences. These all factor in, especially the last one because let’s face it, if you hate it, you won’t keep doing it for very long.

This isn’t to say that if you love laying on the couch watching TV, you should keep doing that to improve your health….

My point on cardio training today is this:

  1. If you like running and doing longer distance stuff, go for it. Just understand that it will take you longer (per workout) to achieve the results of a higher intensity session that’s properly planned out and coached
  2. Cardio work is great for your health
  3. Low level cardio like walking, sled dragging (what you’ll see in a moment) and swimming, can be great for recovery, stress relief and overall stamina
  4. There is no perfect formula, you just have to find the right combination for you so that you can stick to the plan, day in and day out

Today I wanted to share with you 9 Sled dragging variations that you can use to spice up your training and specifically your cardio, recovery and work capacity.

There are dozens and dozens of ways to use the sled. You can load up heavier weight and push for a slow walk, either short or moderate distances. You can go with a lighter weight and go for speed or distance (for a tougher training effect). You can also use it as part of a circuit or at the end, to finish off a session.

You can go for distance, time, relays, a certain number of reps (pushes) or a combination.

This particular sled dragging workout was 20 yards per exercise, done as a big circuit and repeated 3 times (resting while my workout partner went).

Here are the sled drag variations:

  • Reverse Drag
  • Forward Drag
  • Lateral Drag (both sides are done)
  • Power Pull
  • 1-Arm Row (6 reps per side)
  • Reverse Fly
  • Walking Push
  • Forward “Lunges” (more of a lateral stride out front)
  • Reverse “Squat” Walk (walk in a low position to fire the glutes)

By the time you hit all of these exercises back to back, your heart rate is up and you’ve got some blood pumping. It’s not such a high intensity that you can’t maintain that work rate though, which is a great thing about the dragging. It’s intense, but not as all-out as a forward push or sprint.

Check out this video and start incorporating some sled work into your training if you have access. There are multiple options to buy sleds as well, you can always get a small portable one and with a strap you can use it on the pavement or in the grass.