How to Do a Sled Push to Strengthen Your Lower Body?

The sled push is an exercise that is intrinsically Instagramable. For example, Brie Larson and Kate Upton have posted videos of themselves pushing sleds loaded with weight plates and husbands, respectively. Nevertheless, while pushing a heavy sled looks macho, the lower-body exercise has several health advantages and improves stamina. Here’s a description of a sled push, which muscles it works, and how to execute one with excellent (Instagram-worthy) form.

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How to Push a Sled?

Understand that the namesake sled in a sled push is not the same as what you dragged out of the garage on snow days as a youngster. Both have a low platform with skis or flat “feet” below, allowing the sled to move easily on a turf or smooth surface (although some fitness models feature wheels instead). On the other hand, an exercise sled (also known as a prowler) comes with at least one pair of attached poles that the user holds to push the sled forward.

The platform of the prowler sled will also have another set of poles around which weight plates can be placed for further challenge. (FYI, depending on the type, prowler sleds range in weight from roughly 65 pounds to 90 pounds without any extra weight.) Hinging at the hips, bracing the core and back, and propelling the legs forward to move the sled are all part of a weighted sled push. To receive a cardio challenge, put less weight on the sled and push for speed, or load the sled with weight plates to create greater strength. In any case, the sled push will undoubtedly be a major challenge. Here’s an in-depth look at the sled push.

Sled Push
  1. Stand behind the sled’s end with the high poles closest to you, feet forward. Hinge forward at the hips and hold the upper poles near the top. Step back as necessary to ensure your hands are at shoulder height when your arms are completely extended. This is your starting position.
  2. With your back flat and your core engaged, begin pushing the sled forward by pushing through the balls of your feet and walking forward (heels should not touch the ground). To move the sled, drive your knees toward your chest and activate your quads and glutes.
  3. Keep pushing the sled forward for time or distance.

The Primary Benefits of Sled Pushing

The sled push is slightly different from your typical deadlifts or biceps curls, but it’s still worth including in your normal training plan. Take a deeper look at the benefits of sled pushes.

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Enhances Tendon Health

Breaking news: Tendons (the fibrous connective tissue linking muscle to bone) also require strengthening. Tendons are important because they absorb the impact of your exercises (think box jumps, burpees, and other plyometrics) and protect your muscles from damage by functioning as levers that move your bones in reaction to your muscles tightening or stretching. Sled pushes, in particular, can help strengthen tendons prone to injury. Sled pushes can put a lot of pressure on your Achilles tendons and hip flexors. When carefully applied, the external load can make participants much stronger and less prone to ruptures. The idea here is to move forward safely: Overloading your sled with too much weight too rapidly might result in harm, so move forward cautiously.

Strengthens Lower Body Muscles

Although the sled push challenges your arms and shoulders, the most important benefit of a sled push workout is that it develops your lower body (read: your hips, glutes, and quads). You’re loading the body with more weight than it’s used to, much like a squat or a deadlift. The additional weight will promote strength adaptations similar to your well-known strength activities. If squats, lunges, and deadlifts become monotonous, a sled push can offer diversity to your lower-body exercises while providing similar benefits.

Sled Push

Furthermore, the sled push isolates your lower-body muscular groups, requiring them to work separately and addressing any muscle imbalances. It’s also wonderful for separating the legs and hips – your legs must work separately. Remember that addressing muscle imbalances is critical because unbalanced muscles increase your risk of injury. Therefore, unilateral exercises assist in making your strength more symmetrical and minimize overcompensation (aka when your more powerful side takes over for your weaker side, further widening that gap in strength).

Enhances Sprinting Ability

sled push

If one of your fitness goals is to become quicker and more agile in general, including sled pushes into your workout routine is one way to do it without running. This is because the sled push (an anaerobic activity in which your body does not use oxygen for fuel) helps create the explosive strength required for sprinting. Sled pushes are a highly safe way to load ballistic, dynamic activities like jumping and sprinting. Participants will also gain sprint speed due to the following improvements in lower body strength. Remember that anaerobic activities need greater effort for a shorter period than aerobic exercises. Therefore, you won’t be doing sled pushes for more than 90 seconds in your workouts. On the other hand, Sled pushes are performed at or near your maximum effort, allowing you to add “improves stamina” to your list of sled push benefits. 

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Challenges Cardiovascular System

Searching for a HIIT exercise for fat-burning workouts that don’t require using a treadmill or a rower? The sled push provides the same cardiovascular health benefits as these two traditional gym machines and all of the benefits listed above. While you’re training, the brain doesn’t know what it’s doing; it simply knows how hard it’s working. A quick set of sled push drop sets can raise your heart rate, which has physical benefits such as lowering your chance of developing cardiovascular disease.


Because the sled push works similar muscles to the squat, you can substitute it when you want to branch out from more traditional strength-training routines. Emphasize strength gain by using a heavier load, positioning your hands lower on the poles, and moving slowly and with control. For a more cardio burst, skip the weight plates and opt for short, rapid intervals to improve your sprinting abilities. Whatever your goals, the sled push and its numerous variations can help you gain strength and stamina while bringing variety to your exercises.

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