Sled Pulls

Sled pulls are a brutal functional exercise that hits the upper body, developing both aerobic and anaerobic capacity and targeting the back, shoulders, biceps and grip muscles.

Primary Muscle Back
Secondary Muscle(s) Biceps, Shoulders, Forearms
Difficulty Intermediate
Also known as Sled Pulling, Sled Dragging, Sled Drag, Hand Over Hand Sled Pull, Rope Pulls
Equipment Climbing Rope, Weighted Sled

How to do Sled Pulls

  1. Secure the weight plates onto the sled with the rope attached to it. Hold the other end of the stretched rope as far from the sled as possible.
  2. Face the sled, standing either side of the rope, gripping tightly. You should be bent at the hips and knees with legs well spaced apart for stability.  
  3. Pull the sled toward you with a hand-over-hand action at speed, until the sled is up close to you and you're out of rope.


  • If you don't have a weighted sled you can try making your own using a large tire or pallet.

Sled Pull Guide

The sled pull is a true functional exercise that really exhausts the upper body, focusing on the back, shoulder and biceps, whilst developing a crushing grip.

Essentially, this exercise involves pulling a heavy, weighted sled toward you, that's tied to a rope. If you don't have a plate loading fitness sled (or even better, a prowler) you can fashion your own using an old tire, or loaded pallet. The amount of friction you get from the exercise will greatly differ between your sled and surface combo choices.

How you train with the sled should depend on your fitness goals. Loading the sled with a minimum amount of weight and training for longer distances will help build endurance and cardiovascular capacity, whereas using heavy weights over shorter bursts will develop strength and power skills.

Advanced Sled Pulls

As your strength and power develops through sled training you can progressively add more weight to the sled to increase difficulty.

Set yourself challenges and when the sled reaches your feet, job backwards until the rope is pulled tight again and repeat the process until you hit a certain distance or complete the set in a fixed time.

This is also an effective exercise when combined with pushes as well as pulls. If you're sled is suitable, or you have a prowler available, you can push the sled away to the end point, jog back to the start and pull it back towards you, repeating the exercise as required. This is a real test of strength and endurance both physically and mentally!

Take a look at this video to see what we mean -

Progressing from Sled Pulls

When you're proficient with the sled and pulling weights that are approaching your own bodyweight, why not start training for the rope climb. This supreme upper body exercise puts you well on your way to bodyweight mastery.


Always consult your GP before undertaking any form of weight loss, fitness or exercise.