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Tough Sledding at Westside by Louie Simmons - CrossFit Journal

Tough Sledding at Westside

By Louie Simmons

In Powerlifting, Videos

February 23, 2010

Video Article

Powerlifters may be specialists, but without a good level of conditioning, they aren’t going to be able to train hard enough to keep improving. To keep his lifters in shape, Louie Simmons of Westside Barbell uses sled dragging as a main part of his general physical preparedness training.

According to Simmons, sled dragging can be used on almost any training day because the nature of the exercise prevents the excessive soreness seen after exercises with a heavy eccentric component.

For CrossFitters, Simmons recommends eight to 10 trips of 60 yards. The weight should be reduced during the week, while the number of trips should be increased. As for weight, Simmons has a pretty clever way of determining the upper limit:

“You’ve got too much weight when you’re walking like you’re drunk.”

Video by H5 Productions.

5min 18sec

Additional reading: Unleash Your Power by Mike Warkentin, published Jan. 20, 2010.

Free Download


33 Comments on “Tough Sledding at Westside”


wrote …

I think we're about to see sled dragging in a WOD.


wrote …

excellent video, so simple yet so informative


wrote …

I really enjoy these videos. Thanks.


wrote …

I too enjoy all Louie Simmons videos, keep em coming!

has anyone seen Louie in the movie "Bigger Stronger Faster"

If so... your views may change a tad, not taking anything away from his experience and knowledge.


wrote …

How does sled dragging mesh with pose runing?


wrote …

Got to get a sled now. Thanx!


wrote …

nice videos!


wrote …

Can't afford a sled? Get a regular car tire, punch a hole in it so that you can tie a rope through it and then tie said rope to your weight belt. Load the tire up with plates and voila!


replied to comment from Jeff Chester

Nice idea. I'll keep it in mind.


Zach Even - Esh wrote …

Sleds are awesome, we have about 8 sleds here, a prowler and a wheel farrow.

These things kick the crap out of our guys.

We usually do things like:

power walk forwards

power walk backwards

sprint forwards / sprint backwards

we attach long ropes and straps to the sleds and perform high repetition hand over hand pulling, sometimes we superset the pulling with push ups and go for 5 - 6 minutes of push / pull to develop strength endurance in our athletes

We also use them extensively for our beginners because it's so damn easy to perform yet super effective in developing strength and work capacity




wrote …

I love this guy...Louie Simmons is the one guy who knows strength and conditioning! Sleds are awesome, but I was impressed when he told the group that the Law of accomodation will hold you back. Watch this video again, because that fact alone will tell you a lot. Louie will soon be considered a genius by CrossFitters who don't even know him yet! Great job, Louie!


wrote …

It's amazing how in-line Louie's philosophy to power lifting is to CrossFit's philosophy to training.

What did he say at the end, exactly, about spelling your name?


wrote …

Is there a downside to running with the sled? I noticed he was adament that they walk.

I ask because I've been going through DeFranco's prowler challenge as a finisher for squats and deadlifts, and one of my favorite is prowler sprints (6x w/1:00 rest between). I go full out.

Some of the other challenges (prowler marathon) call for long walks like Louie was talking about.

I really like this aspect of my workouts. It is fun (in a sick twisted way)


wrote …

Really great videos. It's such a serendipitous coincidence that the conjugate system happens to implement a variance very similar to CF. Also, I'm really frightened of ever having to do that hunched over sled drag!


wrote …

Great stuff, already thinking of ways to incorporate this into next season's wrestling training for my wrestlers.

We did a lot of bear drags (from Speal's articles on wrestling), but this gives me more ideas on ways to do drags, both with weights and with a partner.

Keep the Louie stuff coming! I'm not a powerlifter, but I enjoy watching the videos and adding what I can into my own personal strength training :)


Joe Stephens wrote …

i love these informative, educational thought stimulating vid's. Louie i like your quote about the law of accomadation it fits the crossfit model well.
just need a space to do some dragging. just had an idea of putting a sled on one treadmill and walking on one in front of that! if it works out i'll let you know? nice one crossfit


wrote …

Sleds are awesome. Bring on the prowler. More video's please. Louie is the man!


Rob McBee wrote …

Did this one last night after watching the video.
Forward + Backward + Forward/Bent-over x 135# x 60m
One trip per variation and again at 100# for 6 trips total.
Rested as long as it took partner to complete.

The Backwards walk was the toughest for me but my POS is a weak point. These will be great for addressing that.

My legs could really feel it after I finished but feel great this morning. No soreness as billed and I could do it again today.
Appreciate the video so big thanks to all involved...


replied to comment from David Nittler

Hi David,

At the cert, Louie recommended walking because he believes running with resistance can change the mechanics of the movement. Swinging a weighted baseball bat in the on-deck circle might be a common practice, but I doubt Louie would do it.

You can certainly argue in favour of parachutes, band sprints and weighted sled runs, but Louie didn't make that argument.

CrossFit Journal


wrote …

Sled dragging really is fantastic. After years of powerlifting, I had to fight for every single pound of progress on my squat or deadlift. After incorporating heavy sled drags into my routine ,however, MY SQUAT WENT UP 40 LBs over one summer!

Louie mentioned it briefly, but for those who missed it, having no eccentric (negative) movement keeps you from getting sore and is absolutely great for recovery.

For anyone who wants to do this but doesn't want to shell out $120, do what Jeff Chester said. Punch two slits in the side of a tire and choke a rope through it. Les Schwab will even give you the tire for free. Find one big enough to hold some 45s on it and you are good to go. The rubber creates enough friction you won't need a whole stack of weights like in the video.

Keep the Louie Simmons videos coming!


Jack Wiggen wrote …

In the video, Louie recommends 8-10 trips. Does that mean 8-10 trip of each different exercise, or 8-10 trips total?


William Davidson wrote …

Louie is the man. More power videos!
I just have to get my total up a quarter ton and maybe I too can lift at westside.


replied to comment from Troy Becker

Once you learn how to spell it right.. you can only spell it wrong. haha


Darren Coughlan wrote …

As a rugby player in Australia [20+ years], we've known about Louie for quite sometime. The info and methods he's collected along the way work!



wrote …

Brilliant. Sitting at the feet of the master for $300/day - are you kidding me? I must go.


replied to comment from Luc Rosson

Kudos to Louie in my opinion for being open and honest about it. You think some of the top performers in CrossFit dont use steroids your nuts, its human nature to want to win at almost any cost and whether we as a community like it or not we attract that type of personality. Please dont tell me that we dont, we have t-shirts that say "If CrossFit was easy it would be your mom", and "Our workout is your warm up", thats just the way things are.


replied to comment from Michael Miller

Not saying your for it's use, Michael. Nor directed at you, I am simply just rambling and making the blog interesting..

You have a point. I guess steroids are a way of life in the competitive world of grueling sports/ unlike baseball for home runs/wrestling and bodybuilding for vanity. We have already been desensitized to this common use. We thought top competitors were naturally great athletes.

We attract the personality of wanting to win but there has got to be a limit somewhere. If not for morals, for saving face in the CF community. Its simply a bad rep. All of us in CF community are part of a scientific experiment for health, years down the road. I would hate for us to have a bad reputation and ruin the experiment.

As far as Louie Simmons goes, I think he is great! I think his ideas and workouts make sense. I would love to try new things like sled dragging etc. "Open and honest about it" is the best policy. But is much of Louie's success and results in power lifting natural, No. He said it himself, he has been on a constant cycle of steroids for decades now. So I have the smallest amount of trouble taking to heart some things he says. I guess I need to look past that and ignore the "supplement" and listen to his mathematical and physiological methods.

As far as top Crossfit competitors using steroids, I would naively hate to think that's happening, why, because speaking for thousand in CF, my results come from without steroids. I have about 5 buddies back home that that take them, and I can't wait to surpass their desires by doing CrossFit and become "bigger stronger and faster."

Keep the Videos coming CFHQ


wrote …

Hmmmm, I must say it bothers me when people make posts which seemed aimed at diminishing Louie's credibility because he is honest about his thoughts on performance enhancers such as anabolic steroids. Just so you know, Louie has worked with MANY a natural athlete over the years and his methods work equally well with them.

With respect to the health aspect, L Ross stated that Louie has admitted to decades of continuous use and in the same post he laments their safety relative to CF being a long term study of health etc. Well, if steroids used with care are such a health issue then one might conclude someone like Louie would be dead, and yet he is actually quite the opposite... I am not condoning their use, but what you see in the media is a gross misrepresentation of what they are and their relative health risks.

Finally, steroids work, that is to be certain, but no world champion ever took them and slacked. The best of the best in most sports (physically athletic sports) use them AND train with incredible intensity. They merely augment the results those trainees get from their blood, sweat, and tears.

Focus on Louie's training methods and ideas and you WILL benefit.


wrote …

i love these vedio's. louie is amazing and his knowledge can really bring only positive to crossfit. I personally use a westside/crossfit mix for my work out and my squat has gone up by 100lb in 6months. Im hoping to gain aniother 60-70lb this year maybe sled dragging will help me, i will be getting a tire and dragging it.


Frank DiMeo wrote …

A big "thank you" to Louie & the Westside crew!
We are going through the "Westside Barbell Book of Methods" and implementing everything we can out of it.
It's a great mix with the WOD's.


wrote …

I'm off to get myself a tyre for the summer! Great vid, :)


wrote …

great video. I would love to see one dedicated to accessory work and how to blend it with crossfit.


wrote …

I must try this out.

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