Workout Routines

Sled Drag Strength Training for Massive Quads

Give this strongman favorite a try to take your quad development to the next level.

josh bryant thumbnail by CSCS, MFS, PES
sled drag
Duration 40 Min
Exercises 5
Equipment Yes

With American Independence Day approaching, it’s time to quad bless America!

I am going to share a trade secret of the great strongman that will catalyze quad growth to a new level. Of course, one can stick with more traditional modalities that at best, produce traditional results. For the more adventurous, here's something outside the norm that will produce unique results—sled dragging

Dragging a sled is like skinning a cat -- there are numerous ways to do it.

We are going to focus on backward drags, which will help build size and strength in the quads and provide a trip to anaerobic hades, which will help take your conditioning to a record high and your body fat to a record low. Additionally, this movement will test the strength of your torso, grip and testicular fortitude.

Backward simply means you are facing the sled and pulling it backward. You will be leaning backward with your arms straight and pulling away from the sled with maximum intensity; if this looks like a relaxing back pedal—add more weight.

Keep the following tips in mind when dragging a sled:

  1. Never let the sled stop. This is straight from the mouth of my former training partner and professional strongman, Odd Haugen. Keep this in mind with other pulling events. Think back to high school physics class, it takes more energy to get an object moving than keep it moving—the goal is acceleration. NEVER STOP!
  2. Use your bodyweight—a 500-pound sumo wrestler or 99-pound Abercrombie model—both has bodyweight, so use it. Lean back, away from the sled, the entire movement; never row the weight, pull it with your body. Keep in mind, your arms are the weak link not your legs. Think of your arms as “hooks” that do not move.
  3. Take fast, short, choppy steps; unlike traditional sprints, long strides will slow you down. Since we are going heavy, force exertion is critical; you will apply more force with small steps.
  4. Never quit!
  5. For strength do short, heavy drags that take less than 20 seconds, take a full recovery between sets. For hypertrophy go as heavy as possible for a continuous 45 seconds. Rest 1-2 minutes between sets.

The Workout

Exercise 1

Barbell Squat You'll need: Barbell How to
Barbell Squat thumbnail
3 sets
3, 6, 12 reps
90-120 sec rest

Exercise 2

Walking Dumbbell Lunge You'll need: Dumbbells How to
Walking Dumbbell Lunge thumbnail
3 sets
3 reps
90 sec rest
20 yards in as few lunges as possible.

Exercise 3A

Romanian Deadlift
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3 sets
15 reps
120 sec rest

Exercise 3B

Lying Leg Curl
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3 sets
6 reps
-- rest

Exercise 4

Sled Pull
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4 sets
4 reps
-- rest
*Face sled and drag for 45 seconds. Go as far as you can.
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