Improve Sprinting Through the Use of Sled Sprints

In the bustling world of team sports, athletes and coaches are constantly on the lookout for effective training methods to edge out the competition. Sled training has garnered attention as a promising approach to boost sprint performance, a critical element in the success of any team sport athlete. Santiago Zabaloy’s insightful article, “Narrative Review on the Use of Sled Training to Improve Sprint Performance in Team Sport Athletes,” published in the National Strength and Conditioning Journal, delves into the science behind sled training and its impact on athletes. Here, we explore the key findings from Zabaloy’s work, aiming to translate the scientific jargon into concepts accessible to our health-conscious readers at Flex Affect.

What is Sled Training?

Sled training involves the use of a sled loaded with weights, which the athlete drags or pushes while running. This method is praised for its simplicity and adaptability to various training needs and environments. The resistance provided by the sled challenges the athlete’s muscles, mimicking the demands of sprinting in actual games and matches.

The Science Behind the Sprints

Zabaloy’s review meticulously examines how sled training influences sprint performance, focusing on the biomechanics and physiological adaptations it induces. Sprinting is not just about how fast one can move their legs; it’s a complex interplay of muscle power, stride length, stride frequency, and ground force application. By adding resistance through sled training, athletes can enhance their power output, leading to improvements in these critical aspects of sprinting.

Evidence of Efficacy

The article highlights several studies demonstrating sled training’s effectiveness in boosting sprint speed, acceleration, and overall athletic performance. Notably, Zabaloy points out that the key to maximizing benefits lies in the optimization of sled weight, training frequency, and integration with other training methods. Too much weight can alter running mechanics negatively, while too little may not provide sufficient stimulus for improvement.

Practical Takeaways for Athletes and Coaches

  1. Weight Matters: The optimal sled load should be a balance – enough to challenge the athlete but not so much that it significantly alters natural running mechanics. The review suggests loads ranging from 10% to 20% of the athlete’s body weight as a starting point.
  2. Consistency is Key: Incorporating sled training 1-2 times per week, alongside other training modalities, can lead to noticeable improvements in sprint performance over time.
  3. Tailor to the Athlete: There’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Coaches should adjust the training parameters based on the athlete’s current fitness level, specific needs, and the demands of their sport.

Concluding Thoughts

Santiago Zabaloy’s review offers compelling evidence supporting sled training as a valuable tool for enhancing sprint performance in team sport athletes. For those seeking to gain a competitive edge, it presents a scientifically backed method to incorporate into their training repertoire. Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or a coach looking to refine your team’s training program, sled training, when applied judiciously, could be the key to unlocking new levels of speed and performance on the field.

At Flex Affect, we are always eager to explore and share innovative training techniques that can help our community achieve their fitness and performance goals. Zabaloy’s article serves as a testament to the power of science in advancing our understanding of sports training and its practical application in the quest for athletic excellence.


Zabaloy, S., Freitas, T. T., Pareja-Blanco, F., Alcaraz, P. E., & Loturco, I. (2023). Narrative Review on the Use of Sled Training to Improve Sprint Performance in Team Sport Athletes. Strength & Conditioning Journal, 45(1), 13.



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