For old school powerlifters, bodybuilders, and athletes, power sled training takes you back to the Rocky movies, specifically when he’s training in Russia. Although it began rough around the edges, the sled is now a modern-day fitness staple with an updated look.
Sled training can increase power, strength, and muscle while promoting fat burning. Given the focus on raw power in Strongman workouts, sled training can be especially valuable, regardless of your experience level.
Let’s take a look at the benefits of power sled training, how to use a power sled, and how you can incorporate one into your Strongman workout.
What is a Power Training Sled?
Also called a prowler, the power training sled is a double-sided platform that holds traditional weight plates stacked on top of one another. You can push or pull the power sled across multiple surfaces such as grass and concrete for an intense total body workout.
Power Sled Benefits for Strongman Workouts
Don’t let its simplistic look fool you. There are several key power sled benefits, especially for athletes training for Strongman events.
Versatile: The power sled is one of the best all-around fitness tools you can own, regardless of your goals. By manipulating the weight load and intensity, you can focus on different training aspects such as sprints, raw power, peak strength, muscle building, and endurance.
Improves Raw Power: Power sled training can increase all-out power. One study found that sprinters increased their performance when using power sled training compared to their peers who were only using sprint-based drills. 
Ideal for Functional Strength: You don’t need to be a Strongman to use a power sled. Providing you with a total body workout, a power sled can help to improve your functional movements. This can be extremely beneficial for anyone going through rehabilitation where the focus is on the basics like walking.
Low Impact: While intensity can be high during workouts, the power sled provides you with a low impact workout, ensuring reduced force impact on muscles and joints.
Low Risk – High Reward: One thing you may immediately notice with power sled training is that the eccentric portion or the lowering phase of exercises is minimal. This makes it ideal for anyone who is at a higher risk of injury given their age, fitness background, or medical history. It’s also great if you want an intense workout without the post-workout soreness.
How to Use a Power Sled for Strongman
Place the power sled on a flat surface and check to make sure there is nothing on your path. Put the desired number of weight plates on to the power sled.
As a rule, use 10% to 15% of the sled weight for acceleration work. If your goal is strength or muscle mass, use up to 40% to 45% of the sled weight.
As for the exercises, there are two primary types:
- Place both hands at equal height on the side bars.
- Bend at the hips and maintain a neutral spine throughout.
- Keep your head between your arms – ears near the biceps – with your gaze down.
- Lock out the arms.
- Take a small step forward with the right foot and brace the lower body, preparing to push off.
- Step forward with the left foot, pushing the sled forward with your locked-out arms
- Continue stepping forward with the sled in a smooth and even motion.
- Attach straps with handles to the center of power sled bar. A battle rope also works for longer distance pulls.
- Grab the handles and step back until the straps are taut.
- Bend your knees and lower your butt towards the ground while keeping your hips back and your chest up.
- As you stand, pull the sled toward you with the handles, squeezing the back muscles tight.
- Take a few more steps back until the straps are taut again and repeat.
- If you’re using a battle rope, continue squatting in place and pulling the power sled towards you until it reaches your feet.
Incorporating the Power Sled in Strongman Workouts
The power training sled can be used in a few ways during your next Strongman workout.
Warm-Ups: Depending on what you have planned for the day’s workout, focus on a lighter weight load and use the power sled for a warm-up.
Complementary Work: In the same way that you would use failure sets during hypertrophy training, you can complement your skill work with sled pushes or pulls to achieve complete muscle fatigue.
Primary Focus: Depending on your experience level, you can load up a power sled and use it as your primary focus for a lower-body power day or a back workout.
Want to Start Using Power Sled Training?
Which type of power sled workout will you use: push or pull-focused? Do you already incorporate a power sled into your current strongman workout? Have a video of yourself crushing it with a power sled? Tag us on Instagram so we can share it!
- Pantoja PD, Carvalho AR, Ribas LR, Peyré-Tartaruga LA. Effect of weighted sled towing on sprinting effectiveness, power and force-velocity relationship. PLoS One. 2018;13(10):e0204473. Published 2018 Oct 5. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0204473.