DIY Workout sled (super easy!)
5 Easy Steps To Build Your Own Sled For Heavy Dragging & Sprinting
Alec Enkiri | 3/26/20
Alright! People have been hounding me to make this post for years now so I figured it was time to deliver. If you follow my training at all then you know that I'm a big fan of making my own workout equipment when possible. Just off the top of my head, I built the lifting platform that christens my gym, I built my farmer's walk handles, my frame for heavy carries, I rigged up a squat stand back in the day, I've built myself a "table top" reverse hyper to go inside my squat rack, and I've also built my own workout sled, which is the subject of today's post!
It's not that I can't afford to buy this equipment, but it's just that a lot of these pieces tend to be overpriced for what they are, and when I know I can build basically the exact same thing for a tenth of the cost with only moderate effort, well, it's hard for me to justify throwing that money at it. Plus, there is a level of satisfaction to knowing that you're getting MASSIVELY strong using pieces of equipment that you built with your own two hands. Can't really explain it, but it adds a new element to the game (at least for me).
As far as the DIY sled goes, you can do pretty much anything with this thing that you can do with a regular Prowler or workout sled, except for push it. I couldn't think of a cheap way to make handles that would be sturdy enough to attach to wood and be able to withstand that massive level of force. For reference, in a gym I have pushed a Prowler sled loaded with 1,000lbs (not including the weight of the sled itself) so you can push massive amounts of weight here and unless you are welding metal onto metal, which I don;t know about you but I don't know the first thing about welding, then I'm not really sure how you would be able to build handles that would be strong enough to withstand this.
1,080lbs Prowler Push
So we are relegated to dragging here, but that's plenty good enough! You can do heavy forward drags, heavy backward drags, and resisted sprints with a multitude of different and easily adjustable resistances. I've talked in depth before about the myriad of benefits to be had from all of these exercises so I won't go into that today, but suffice it to say if you haven't been including sled dragging in your training program then you are sorely missing out. This thing is easy as hell to build (should only take you about an hour, tops) and is only going to run you roughly $50 total in supplies. All the supplies can be found at your local hardware store. The only tool that you will need to assemble this whole thing is a drill and a couple different bits. Just make sure to have the boards pre-cut to the specs you need before you leave the store, otherwise you will need to have a power saw on hand as well.
Do Your Heavy Sled Drags
...but also do your sled sprints
Philip's head bit (or whatever style screw heads you have) for securing the screws
1/8 or 1/4 drill bit to pre-drill the holes for the hook eyes
Channel Lock Pliers
A. (1) 2x12x24 Board (that is 2 inches thick, 12 inches wide, and 24 inches long)
B. (4) 2x6x24 Boards (8 feet total)
C. (1) 1.5 Inch Floor Flange For the Pipe
D. (1) 18 Inch Plumbing Pipe, 1.5 Inch Diameter
E. (2) Hook Eye Screws, at least 4 inches long with a 1 inch opening
F. 12-15 Feet of Rope, 3/4" Diameter (make sure it's rated to 1,000lbs or so)
G. Wood Screws (2.5 Inches)
Secure (2) Piece B perpendicularly along each end of Piece A.
Take Piece A as well as (2) Piece B. Lay Piece A down onto a flat surface and secure (1) Piece B perpendicularly on each end of Piece A using the wood screws. This is now the base of your sled.
Take the (2) remaining Piece B boards and secure them to the underside of the base. These boards should run parallel to Piece A and should be secured on each end of the two Piece B sheets that are already in place. This will give you a 2 foot by 2 foot square for the entirety of the sled.
Be sure to secure these boards from the topside of the sled. These pieces make up the "skates" and are the only part of the sled that touches the ground. They will wear away in time and will need to be replaced periodically (when I use the sled 2-3x a week I need to replace them approximately every 6 months), but you do not want the screws to be dragging on the ground and getting worn away, which is what will happen if you attach these pieces from the underside.
Be sure to secure B(3) and B(4) to the underside of the sled by drilling through the topside of boards B(1) and B(2).
Mark the center of the top side of the base. Secure the flange (C) to the center. It is important to make sure this piece is centered because otherwise once you start stacking weight onto the sled it may not be balanced.
Attach the pipe (D) to the flange by screwing it onto the threads. This is the weight sleeve. A 1.5" diameter pipe holds most standard weight plates perfectly. I used an 18 inch pipe for my sled which can hold (12) 45lbs plates and a couple additional smaller plates for over 500lbs of total weight. When I want to go heavier than this I just slip a piece of PVC pipe into the plumbing pipe to act as an extension.
On the front side of Piece A, mark two spots: one spot 3.5 inches from the left, and one spot 3.5 inches from the right. Both spots should be centered vertically at the 3/4" mark. Pre-drill two holes into the marks using the drill bit.
Secure the two hook eye screws (E) into the two pre-drilled holes. You will be able to turn them by hand most of the way, but once you get close to the end you'll want to use the Channel Locks to really button the things down. These hook eye screws are going to hold the rope which means they have to be able to support however much weight you load up onto the sled without ripping out of the wood, so it is important to make sure they are securely attached.
Loop the rope through the two hook eye screws. Once you have looped the rope through the screws you will want to tie a few big knots onto each end to give you something to grab onto while you are dragging the sled. I've also wrapped my knots in athletic tape at this point to make grasping the rope a little bit friendlier on my hands.
Couple big knots at the end of the rope, first wrapped in duct tape and then wrapped in athletic tape for grip.
So there ya go! Five easy steps to assemble and this small investment will pay off with big dividends in your training. You can use it to build leg and hip strength, calf strength, lower body power and explosiveness, lactic acid resilience in the thighs, mental toughness, and monster levels of endurance and conditioning. The benefits afforded to your training, to your body, and to your overall health by this simple piece of equipment really are invaluable. So what the heck are you waiting for!? Get out there and start dragging some weight!
Resisted Sprint PR's!
Heavy Backwards Sled Drags
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