by Steve Pedersen
We train a lot with picking heavy stuff up and putting it down. This is the core of what external resistance training relies on. What is missing here is the functional accessory work that comes from pushing or pulling a weight across a plane.
This is where a weight sled comes in. Put a stack of 45s on a weight sled and you now have yourself a good time.
Unfortunately this is a tool that a lot of gyms don’t have. In order to get a decent one, you will likely fork out $250 or more. So, we decided to create a way to cheaply build a sled you can use without breaking the bank. The following build cost $92, all materials bought new. You could probably bring that cost down to around $50 but cutting a few items out, which will be highlighted in the instructions.
Materials Needed to Build a Weight Sled
First you will need to get your materials. This build used the following materials:
- One 4x4, 8 feet in length
- One 2x10, pictured is a 10 foot board but you really only need 4 feet total
- One 2x4, pictured is a 8 foot board but you only need about 5 feet
- Two 1 inch iron pipes, 36 inches with threading*
- One 1 inch iron pipe, 18-24 inches with threading*
- Three 1 inch iron pipe flanges*
- One ring hook to attach a pulling rope or tow strap
- Box of 2-1/2 inch deck screws
- Box of 1-1/4 inch deck screws
*Note of iron pipes: You can save some money by buying an 8-10 foot iron pipe and having your store cut to length and add threading. This built used the pre-cut and threaded pipes available because the employee that was certified on the pipe cutting machine wasn’t available. Also, you can save some money on flanges by only buying one for the center pipe and drilling 1-1/4 inch holes to slide the push handles into.
Building Your Weight Sled - Cutting the Wood
Now you need to make most of your major cuts. You will need to cut the 4x4 in half, making two 4 foot sections. Next cut each end at a 45 degree angle to complete the bottom of the skis.
Cut your 2x10 into two 24 inch sections. This will be the base your weights rest on.
Make one 24 inch length of 2x4. There are two more cuts to make on the 2x4, but we need to measure them exactly, so let’s start the build.
Measure the centerline of one of your skis (45 degree angle cuts down). This will help you line up your first base board. Place a 2x10 with its edge on this line, ensuring the board is square. Use 2-1/2 inch screws to secure.
Place the second board on other side of the center line and secure this piece with 2-1/2 inch screws. A tip to make sure this step goes smoothly is to clamp together the other end of the base. Place a single screw in the 2x10 to secure it and use a clamp, rubber band, string, etc. to hold the other end together. This will make your life easy when you put the second ski on.
Mark your center line on the second ski, square up your base, and attach the second ski with 2-1/2 inch screws.
Now for the final 2x4 cuts. Measure the length of one end of the skis. In this build I had 14-7/8 inches of space. Cut two lengths of 2x4 to fit in this space. This will be the base for your push handles. Attach to both skis with 2-1/2 inch screws. Also, you will know if you did not square your base properly at this point if you get two different measurements on each ski.
Take the 2 foot section of 2x4 and place it across the skis in the front of the sled. This will be where you anchor your pull strap. I placed mine 6 inches from the edge. Secure with 2-1/2 inch screws.
Find the exact center of the front end 2x4. It will be 12 inches from each side edge and about 1-3/4 inches from the top and bottom edge. Place your anchoring device on this mark and secure with 1-1/4 inch screws. I use a four screw ring hook in this build, but there are a variety of other ways to do this.
Assembling Your Weight Sled
To install the center pipe, place a 1 inch pipe flange in the center of the base. You should have two of the four screw holes on each separate board. Secure the flange with 1-1/4 inch screws.
Now it is time to install the push handle flanges. Place the flanges on the top of the rear 2x4s. Make sure the four screw holes are parallel to the edges of the board. Also make sure you make a measurement of how far the edge of the flange is from the back. In this build I chose to place them 5 inches from the rear. Secure the flanges with 2-1/2 inch screws. If you opt to omit these two flanges, you can drill a 1-1/4 inch hole through the top of the 2x4 to slide the pipe into.
Finishing Your Weight Sled
Now you have a complete sled. Take your threaded pipe and screw them into the flanges. Start stacking weight and push this thing around. Note that the pipes are interchangeable, so if you wanted 36 inches of stacking ability, just put the 36 inch pull in the center. The handles are also far enough apart that you could literally have three stacks of weights on this sled.