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Create Explosive Sprinting Strength with Sled Pulls

When using sled pulls to build speed, use a load that allows you to keep sprinting. Image from
When using sled pulls to build speed, use a load that allows you to keep sprinting. Image from

Running is easy, but learning how to run fast, and sprint is not. Learning how to accelerate to top speed is one of the most difficult skills.

You’ve seen this in CrossFit boxes and Obstacle Races, why are people pulling weights / other people as weights while trying to run? Looks silly but it works.

Pulling a sled can improve your sprinting speed and create an anabolic environment conducive to burning fat and gaining muscle. This article will discuss what the research says about using sled pulls to build explosive sprinting strength

Sled Pulls Improve Acceleration

Acceleration is important for most sports, and sled pulls are commonly used to improve it. A research between two rest groups saw  the sled group also increased maximal speed by about 1.3 percent. These are well-trained athletes, so the effects could be even more significant in athletes with less training.

More Load Isn’t Better

When pulling a weighted sled, you have to make sure you don’t lose your sprinting technique.

If you load the sled with too much weight, you won’t be sprinting anymore – you’ll be walking.

Walking with a heavy load might have benefits, but it does not improve sprint acceleration as much as a lesser load.
A study by Winwood and colleagues (2016)5 trained rugby athletes with sled pulls. One of the research team’s goals was to find out how weight improved maximal acceleration. The researchers found that sled pulls with 75 percent of the athlete’s body weight worked better than 150 percent. 

When and How to Recover

Keep in mind, sprinting more than than 25 meters with the sled can cause a breakdown in form, so allow a good amount of rest between sets. I would suggest between 3-6 minutes to allow the alactic system to recover.


  • Sled pulls with 75 percent of your body weight can lead to greater acceleration in sprints.
  • Longer rests between sets will allow for better recovery.
  • Heavy sled pushes or pulls might be good for absolute strength, but they aren’t as good for sprinting.
  • The key is to choose a weight and distance that does not cause a breakdown in running technique. Make sure you can maintain proper running form for up to 25 meters.
Read the full article at Breaking here.