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Hand Over Hand Sled Rope Pull

Man, this exercise is brutal for the back, shoulders, biceps and grip. In fact, when performed heavy, your legs take up quite a bit of work just to stabilize the body!

I prefer pulling until the sled reaches my feet, jogging backwards and repeating for distance or time. It sounds crazy, but we’ve had our guys do this for five minutes straight! Our wrestlers did this to improve strength endurance through pulling, since this was a major part of their movement during wrestling.

This can also be done as an alternative to rope climbing for heavier guys and / or for safety reasons.

Do these need to be performed for five minutes non stop? Of course not, you can perform a few sets and call it a day! I believe in going heavy with these, NOT light. You need to really struggle with the pull to make this exercise closely resembling a vertical rope climb! These can be used during sled workouts when working on improving GPP or during an outdoor training day / strongman training day.

You can also see some extra kettlebells loaded on the sled. You can perform the sled pulls until they reach your feet and then immediately follow up with a kettlebell drill. This is an excellent way to perform metabolic conditioning for combat athletes.

Here’s a sample complex:

1A) Back drag x 100 feet
1B) Hand over hand pull to feet
1C) 2 hand kettlebell swings x 10 reps
1D) Hand over hand pull to feet

Repeat for time or predetermined sets.

Heavy Sled Drag Video

On pavement you need a lot more weight compared to grass. On grass, this athlete would pull anywhere from 2 – 4 45 pound plates with a sled. We hold the straps behind us, arms extended or hands clenched close against the chest. Arms extended is the least favorable during heavy drags for shoulder precautions.

The big goal here is to push for improvement in work capacity!

I told this wrestling group about football players dragging five plates. They got all fired up and our heaviest guy, at 195 pound or so did seven plates. Our 120 pound wrestler did five plates, which is what some of our 300 pound football players used.

The point is, wrestlers have way better GPP / work capacity and relative body strength, all because of their constant wrestling. Remember, wrestling IS strength training!

So, I emphasize football players to move their body more often through calisthenics, sled work, prowler work and learning some basic wrestling or judo moves. Of course, those damn video games don’t help woth jack sh*t, and yes, I’m ranting!

Young athletes need to be more active. If you’re BIG you damn well better be strong! If you’re not strong and highly conditioned, drag heavy sleds, push heavy prowlers and perform plenty of calisthenics to improve work capacity!

Notice that at the end of the set we perform hand over hand pulls? This is a better way to finish as opposed to just stopping! Now that we have a gym and don’t have to drive to fields and parks for sled work, we will be performing sleds or prowlers after almost every work out.

I’ve said this so very often, the sled is one of the simplest tools to use, yet one of the most effective and is absolutely imperative that you use a sled!