What Muscles Does a Sled Push / Pull Work

July 04, 2024 5 min read

What Muscles Does a Sled Push / Pull Work

What is the Sled Push

The sled push involves pushing a prowler sled forward for distance or time. All you have to do is grab hold of the vertical handles and push. It's commonly performed on artificial turf or any other slick surface. Generally speaking, it's a great exercise to build powerful legs in a form that's easier on the knees.

Benefits of Pushing a Sled

    Sled pushes are a compound exercise that will improve your anaerobic capacity, explosive power, and mental toughness. By adding weights to the sled and adjusting your body's position, you can achieve both aesthetic and performance goals.

    • How can sled pushes help improve your fitness?

    Sled pushes and pulls are excellent for building lower body strength and power. They engage multiple muscle groups simultaneously, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. This full-body exercise also helps improve cardiovascular endurance and overall conditioning.

    • Are sled pushes suitable for all fitness levels?

    While sled pushes can be challenging, they are scalable to accommodate different fitness levels. Beginners can start with lighter weights and shorter distances, gradually increasing the intensity as they build strength and endurance. Advanced athletes can add more weight and incorporate variations to keep the exercise challenging.

    What is the sled pull?

    The sled pull involves pulling a weighted sled either forward or backward using a pulling strap or handles. This exercise primarily targets the muscles in your posterior chain, including your hamstrings, glutes, and lower back. It's a strength-based cardio exercise that can help improve your overall fitness level.


    Which Muscles Does a Sled Push Work?

    Let's break down the key muscles that are trained during the sled push:

    • Quadriceps

    As you push the sled with your body leaning forward, your quadriceps are heavily engaged. The movement involves both hip flexion and knee extension, making the quads the primary driver of the sled push.

    • Glutes/Hamstrings

    Your glutes and hamstrings play a crucial role in generating power during the sled push. By forcefully extending your hips, you activate these muscles to propel the sled forward. Both the glutes and hamstrings are essential for maximizing your performance during this exercise.

    • Adductors

    In addition to the major muscle groups like the quads and glutes/hamstrings, your adductors also come into play during the sled push. These muscles help in flexing the hip and stabilizing the knee as your foot makes contact with the ground. While they may not be as prominent as the other muscles, the adductors contribute to the overall effectiveness of the sled push.

    • Calves

    When you push the sled forward while walking, your gastrocnemius, which is the posterior calf muscle, is primarily engaged. This muscle works hard to propel you forward and is essential for calf strength and endurance.

    • Abs/Core

    While pushing the sled, it's crucial to keep your mid-section stable. This stability allows the larger muscles in your lower body and upper body to do their job effectively. Engaging your core muscles helps to support your spine and maintain proper form during the exercise.

    • Hip Flexors

    As you push the sled, your hip flexors come into play as well. By bringing your knees up towards your torso, you help to preload your quadriceps and glutes, which are essential for generating power and speed during the push. Strong hip flexors are key for explosive movements.

    • Chest, Shoulders, and Triceps

    While the focus of the sled push is on the lower body, your upper body also plays a significant role. Your chest, shoulders, and triceps contract isometrically to stabilize your upper body as you push the sled forward. This helps to maintain balance and control throughout the movement.


     Sled Push & Pull Workout Technique



    Which Muscles Does a Sled Pull Work?


    Have you ever wondered which muscles are targeted when performing a sled pull exercise? Let's dive into the primary muscles worked during this challenging workout.

    • Hamstrings

    When you engage in a sled pull by walking backward, your hamstrings play a crucial role. They are responsible for flexing your knee and extending your thighs and hips. This means that the hamstrings are the main muscle group targeted during backward sled pulls.

    • Glutes

    Your glutes are also heavily involved in the sled pull exercise. They help stabilise your hips and core while assisting in hip extension as you walk backward. With the sled pull, the glutes are a key focus area for strengthening and activation.

    • Quads

    During sled pulls, your quadriceps come into play to stabilize and extend your knee joints. If you opt for forward walking sled pulls using a belt attachment, the quads will be engaged to a greater extent. This variation shifts the focus to the front of your thighs, providing a well-rounded lower body workout.

    • Calves

    As you walk backward during a sled pull, your calves are also involved in the movement. They help with the push-off phase and contribute to the overall stability and power generation required for this exercise. While not the primary focus, the calves still play a supportive role in the sled pull workout.

    Have you ever wondered which muscles are engaged when you perform a sled pull? Let's dive into the specific muscle groups that are targeted during this intense workout.

    • Anterior Core/Erector Spinae

    The anterior core and erector spinae muscles play a crucial role in the sled pull exercise. These muscles prevent excessive rotation from side to side, allowing the larger muscles to perform their function effectively. By stabilizing your core and spine, these muscles ensure proper form and alignment during the movement.

    • Forearms/Biceps/Back

    As you grip the straps and walk backward with the heavy sled, your forearms are heavily engaged to maintain a secure grip. Additionally, your biceps and back muscles come into play to stabilise your upper body throughout the exercise. If you are actively pulling the sled through arm flexion, your biceps and back will work dynamically in a stretching and contracting manner.

    Overall, the sled pull is a full-body workout that targets a variety of muscle groups, including the anterior core, erector spinae, forearms, biceps, and back. By incorporating this exercise into your training routine, you can strengthen these muscles and improve your overall strength and stability.


    Concluding Thoughts

    Overall, the sled push and sled pull are dynamic exercises that engage a variety of muscle groups in the lower body, including the quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, and calves. By incorporating these movements into your workout routine, you can effectively target and strengthen these key muscle groups for improved strength, power, and overall performance.

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