Underdeveloped legs look physically flaccid and perform limply on the field of play. So if you are a selfie-snapping aesthetic warrior, a bouncer in a belligerent barroom, or an athlete, strong, well-developed legs are not a luxury — they are a necessity.

Exercise: Backward Sled Pulls

Very few people know that the year prior to bodybuilding legend Branch Warren winning his pro card in 2001, he quit squatting and started sled pulling.

About This Movement

Albeit painful, backward sled pulls will take size and strength in the quads to the next level. With the right mix of volume and intensity, sled drags will take you far beyond the training purgatory most reluctantly enter and straight to the depths of anaerobic hell.

Besides blasting the quads and testing your proverbial testicles, this movement will test the strength of your torso and grip and burn body fat in the process.

Backward simply means you are facing the sled and pulling it backward. You will be leaning backward with your arms straight and pulling away from the sled with maximum intensity; if this looks like a relaxing back pedal, add more weight.

National Level Bodybuilder, TJ Clark, Demonstrating Backward Sled Drags

Training Tips

Never let the sled stop! It takes more energy to get an object moving than to keep it moving. The goal is acceleration, so don’t stop.

Use your bodyweight—regardless if you are pleasantly plump or sickly skinny! Lean back, away from the sled, the entire movement. Never row the weight; pull it with your body. Keep in mind, your arms are the weak link, not your legs. Use your legs. Think of your arms as “hooks” that do not move.

When pulling the sled, make sure you are taking fast, short, choppy steps; unlike traditional sprints, long strides will slow you down. Since the goal is to GO HEAVY, force exertion is critical; you will apply more force with small steps.

For hypertrophy we want to go as heavy as possible for six to eight trips of 20 yards, followed with a 60-90-second rest interval. Do not pace these. Start heavy and reduce the weight as needed.

Final Thoughts

If your leg development is lagging it’s time to start dragging! Bruce Lee trained fencing to increase hand speed, now bodybuilders can train strongman events to build quad size!

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