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Innovative Sled Dragging Variations – Incorporating Animal Movements

Innovative Sled Dragging Variations – Incorporating Animal Movements

I’ve written many articles discussing the benefits of sled dragging and their potential for developing work capacity, multi-planar strength and stability, and strength mobility (mobility and stability throughout this new range of motion) in the engaged joints.  A simple example of strength mobility can be seen in the increase in movement potential across the ankles and hips is great enhanced when performing accelerative exercises.  This is due to the athlete driving on the balls of their feet and flexing / extending at the hips in non-linear patterns.

Get Outside of the Box

The “box” is there for a reason, as Mike Boyle states.  It provides the foundation and the basic movements that must be mastered.  But then, as with all training, we can have some fun.  We can get “outside of the box” and get creative.  As I wrote about in the Chaos Manual, we can enhance the benefits and adaptations for the athlete through “extension of the movement.”  This means taking a basic exercise, for sled dragging this could mean forward walking, backward walking, lateral shuffles, triple extensions, face pulls, etc., and changing them.  Modifying them to increase the demand on the athlete and force them to overcome these complex and integrated challenges.

Check out some of my previous sled dragging variations that you might have missed.

Tire Crush Sled Dragging

Original Article:

Slosh Sled Dragging

Original Article:

Anti-Rotation Sled Dragging

Original Article:

So let’s look at the new sled dragging variations incorporating animal movements.

Animal Movements and Sled Dragging

The topic of an upcoming article that I wrote discusses training considerations for older lifters.  Since I have been lifting for approximately 26 years, I feel I’m very qualified to speak on this subject.

In the article, I talk about the importance of overcoming the rigidity and tightness that most older lifters feel from years of high volume training, sedentary jobs, poor breathing, and poor hydration.  Opening up the potential for better movement means that we have to get outside of the “box” of conventional warm-ups and training methodologies.

Bret Contreras has spoken in-depth about load vector training (LVT), Scott Sonnon utilizes flow and clubbells, and Steve Maxwell incorporates animal movements.  I glean inspiration from these pioneers and incorporate “my style” into the techniques.

Bear Crawls

Dragon Crawls

Lateral Plank Shuffles

Crab Walks

When to Incorporate These Sled Dragging Variations

I like to incorporate the animals movements (unloaded) as part of the warm-up, but for the sled dragging variations, we put them in at the end for the conditioner or finisher.  2-4 runs with whatever variation is most beneficial to each athlete or is in line with the goal of the training session.

The purpose of this article was not to just show you some cool new sled dragging exercises, it was to also inspire you to think “outside of the box.”  Don’t restrict yourself to what others are doing but don’t ignore it either.  You need to learn from other coaches and continue to develop yourself, but you also have to be an original.  There are so many copy-cat, “cut and paste” trainers out there, that when someone is an original, they stand out.  Take a stand and be an original!

By on May 28th, 2012


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Comments (6)

  1. Posted by - Jon Chacon on May 29, 2012

    Smitty, you blow my mind brother. How are you always coming up with these “outside the box” ideas? It seems like you have a new one once or twice per week. Keep it up! This is great stuff for any athlete or coach.



    • Posted by - Smitty on May 29, 2012

      Thanks Jon. Really appreciate your support and kind words.

  2. Posted by - Conor on May 29, 2012

    This is awesome stuff!

  3. Posted by - Janila on May 29, 2012

    Really innovative. I haven’t seen sled variations like these before.

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