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Sunday, January 20, 2013

Training Sled

Written by Larry DeSario (Alternate on the 1972 US Olympic Track Sprint Cycling Team and current Master Track Cyclist in Florida)

Hope all is well.  I've been down with the flu. Not too much fun but I'm slowly getting back on my feet.  I wanted to share a workout idea that has been paying dividends.

"Let my armies be the rocks and the trees and the birds in the sky."  Who can forget Professor Jones quip after he improvised a way to take out the German aero plane that was strafing Indiana and himself with machine gun fire.

Well, as we get older and can no longer do some of the heavy compound exercises due to squawking backs and knees, improvisation is key to keeping in shape.  The latest exercise I've been utilizing is the tire and/or sled drag.  I've found it to really work the quads when dragging the sled backwards and the posterior portion of the legs traveling forwards.  Also, the anaerobic conditioning can be quite intense.

A quality metal sled can cost be expensive, but an old tire can be converted to a drag sled for a minimum amount of cash and just a little elbow grease.  These were some steps I took to put one together:

1.Take an old tire and cut out the center to allow Olympic plates to fit inside.  You can use a hack saw blade or an upholstery scissor.

2. Drill two holes at the corners and insert eyelet screws and 1 1/2 inch washers to both sides.  Fasten nuts on the inside.

3. I placed on the bottom of the tire some flat boards and drilled in some two by fours to hold the flat boards in place.  This will provide a surface to rest the Olympic plates and helps to minimize any elongation that may occur when dragging the tire.

4. Get a good quality tow rope, 20 foot minimum, preferably 30 feet in length.  Get a tow rope with handles.  This will perhaps be the biggest investment for your project but it's well worth it.

You're ready to go.
video

 
The video taken was just after a rain shower and it made it easier to drag.  On a dry surface be prepared to work hard.  You can use as much weight as you want.  So far, I've been using about 125 pounds and find it sufficient enough to get an arduous workout and still maintain good form.  I drag it about 30 yards, turn around, and drag it back.  One drawback is that the neighbors will think you're crazy.

The sled drag is a good finisher exercise after Romanian dead lifts and or trap bar dead lifts.  It makes for a great GPP pre-season cycle.  Give it a try and you will not be disappointed.  What's more, it actually makes my knees feel better and it doesn't bug the back.  Have fun!