I'm a big proponent of dragging objects as part of a fitness regimen. Dragging fulfills a number of fitness objectives, but it also trains the body for certain types of activities that law enforcement officers must perform in the line of duty. As part of my workouts through Survival Legion, I tend to drag an object such as a large tire or a weighted workout sled.
A resistance exercise, dragging builds muscle power, burst power, and endurance. This means it helps improve strength as well as the ability to use that strength in short bursts and over extended periods of time, all of which are important for police work. A 2010 study (Strength and Power Development in Women) found that such exercises improved the overall strength and endurance for the approximately 15% of women (at the time) who made up civil and federal law enforcement and the military.
Walking backward with a rope/sled combo works the quadriceps—the muscles located on the front of your thighs. Walk backward at a good clip and you'll smoke your quads, guaranteed. This is also a viable alternative to squats.
Turning around and dragging a weighted sled, by comparison, is useful in preparing for those times when you have to run or sprint on the job or grapple with someone.
Dragging from a squatting position not only works your legs but also your back muscles—which is really handy for those of you who must move mountains (and large people) for a living.
This isn't an exercise you need to do every day, but incorporating it into your routine a couple of times per week isn't a bad idea, especially if you're looking to build strength and endurance in your lower body more quickly.
Drag Move Workouts
To incorporate drag moves into your exercise routine, here are several suggested workouts. For these exercises, secure a heavy tire (like the one you may use for tire flips) or a 100-pound weighted sandbag.
Drag Workout 1
• Drag for 10-15 yards
• 10 tire flips
• 10 box jumps*
*You can substitute simple box step-ups if you're wearing your gear
Drag Workout 2
• Drag for 10-15 yards
• 40-yard kettlebell sprint
• Overhead weight carry (45 pounds) for 50 yards
Drag Workout 3
Or you could simply make your dragging the workout, and supplement it with periodic sprints of 50 yards.
Drag for 100 yards in graduated distances:
• Begin with 10-yard drags and a sprint
• Rest, then repeat
J.D. Dougherty, a former paramedic, firefighter, and 15-year military veteran of OEF, is co-founder of Survival Legion (https://survivallegion.com), a vet-owned company that stresses functional fitness and draws its uniqueness from the Roman Legions.