Zercher Sled Drag: How To, Common Mistakes, Exercises

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You’ve probably seen it at the gym: someone pushing or pulling a sled, often called a prowler, up and down the floor until they collapse into a heap. If you’re unlucky, you might see someone suffering from “prowler fever, and no one wants to clean it up. But have you heard of the Zercher Sled Drag?

The sled push or pull exercise may look simple to the naked eye, but wait until you try it. You will soon feel the burn in your lungs and muscles. Sled drills are a powerful exercise that improves posture, mental toughness, and muscle development while being easy on your joints.

Well, Tasha “Iron Wolf” Whelan, World Powerlifting Champion and Head Strength and Conditioning Coach at the Pro Club, is bringing a new sled pull to town. The exercise, known as the Zercher Sled Drag, offers a different twist to the traditional sled drag and gives you an added challenge.

If you love the Zercher squat (and who doesn’t), you’ll love this brutal, fun variation of the sled pull that will fire up your legs and more.

Why Sled Pulling Is The Best Job You Can Do

Whelan explains that sledding is for everyone regardless of your training or experience goals.

“Sled training is very beneficial for athletes, fitness enthusiasts, and rehabilitation patients. It improves strength, power, cardiovascular health, muscular endurance, and performance flexibility. Notably, sled drags are low-impact, reduce joint stiffness and support faster recovery, especially beneficial for rehabilitation purposes. Whelan said

The secret sauce to most sled training is its highly focused, low-impact nature on the joints. These features make it great for working around injuries and not cutting into your recovery from traditional strength training.

Zercher Sled Drag

Okay, so what makes the Zercher sled drag special? Whelan explains why he uses it in his training arsenal.

“The Zercher reverse sled drag is essentially a non-axial loading exercise, meaning it doesn’t put direct stress on the spine. This reduces the risk of spinal compression and joint stiffness, making it safer for those with joint problems, especially the lower back and knees.

The Zercher variation improves core stability, engages the upper body (due to the Zercher loading position), and strengthens the lower body, promoting strength and muscle development without joint stress. ” explained Whelan.

How To Make A Zercher Sled Work

Iron Wolf Whelan explains how to get the most out of this great job.

Proper Setup

Place the sled in front of you, load it with the weight you want, stand next to it, and bend to grab the handles or the belt with your arms bent, holding the weight in the hollows of your elbows.

Body posture

Keep your chest up and shoulders back to maintain a strong posture. Engage your spine to prevent excessive back rotation.

Arm and Elbow Position

Make sure your elbows are close to your body, keeping a close 90-degree angle at the elbows.

Execution of Movements

Walk back in controlled, deliberate steps to maintain balance and stability. Push through your heels, engaging your glutes, hamstrings, and quads to drive the movement. Avoid closing your knees; bend slightly to absorb impact and maintain muscle tension.

Common Zercher Sled Drag Mistakes to Avoid

He’s in a bad mood

Don’t arch your back, lean too far back, or lean too far forward; maintain a strong, straight posture.

You don’t have a good grip

Do not let the handles move away from your body; keep them close to ensure better availability and control.

Not in Control

Don’t take too big steps; small, controlled steps help maintain stability and muscle tension.

a dark day

Zercher Sled Drag Programming Suggestions

Loads, sets, and reps can be adjusted to suit your strength goals. Iron Wolf Whelan offers planning suggestions to get the most out of this adventure.

Amazing Power

Sets: 3-5

Reps: 20-40 meters per set (or heavy load for short distances, eg 10-20 meters)

Downtime: 2-4 minutes between sets

Upload: It’s heavy enough to challenge strength without compromising form

Muscular Endurance Exercise

Sets: 3-4

Reps: 40-60 meters per set (or long distances and light load)

Downtime: 1-2 minutes between sets

Upload it: Medium, focused on maintaining movement for a long time

Hypertrophy performance

Sets: 3-5

Reps: 30-50 meters per set

Downtime: 1-2 minutes between sets

Upload: Moderate to heavy, enough to cause significant muscle fatigue at the end of the set

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