Perhaps because it’s so new to the commercial gym world, the prowler is one of most under-appreciated bits of kit in the gym.
The prowler sled is a heavy sled that can be pushed or pulled along the floor, either as it is or with additional weight and handles added.
It’s used for developing strength and power, with excellent functional fitness cross-over benefits.
We recommend using the prowler after more technical movements, because you don’t ever want to be fatigued when going into more complex exercises. The prowler is physically demanding but technically easy.
Why Use the Prowler Sled?
Anyone who has used a prowler will understand how good it is at building genuine strength and power.
It can be used for fat-burning sprint workouts or serious strength sessions, and you can adjust the workout outcomes by tweaking all the usual variables: adding or reducing weight, distance, speed and rest periods.
The prowler can be loaded with additional weight and pushed or pulled along the track.
This eccentric strength work builds effective strength and power, which crosses over into just about every sport.
Take the weight off the prowler and use it to do a high-volume sprint session.
Keeping the rest times short and the working efforts intense, simply push or pull the prowler along the turf multiple times.
Low injury risk
There’s no impact with a prowler, as it’s always in contact with the floor. There’s limited risk to the user, so can be used by most people safely.
It’s all in the same plane of movement, too, reducing twisting elements.
Unlike other exercises, there’s very limited technique learning required for effective use of a prowler.
With a few pointers you can be ready to go in minutes.
As a final benefit, the prowler largely only produces concentric (shortening) contraction of a muscle, rather than the eccentric contraction where the muscle lengthens.
Eccentric contract is more associated with DOMS, so by using the prowler you’ll be able to train your legs hard without suffering the dreaded muscle pain and stiffness the following day.
How to Use the Prowler Safely and Effectively
1. Stay flat and low
- Your aim is to push the prowler ALONG the floor, not into it.
- Get yourself low to the ground, with your chest parallel to the floor.
- Stay long and push forwards, not downwards.
- This will make your push far more efficient.
2. Keep a straight back
- The back is a huge potential power leak, so you’ve got to keep it strong and tight.
- This will help prevent injury and transfer a lot of power into the push.
- A rounded back acts as a shock absorber, taking force out of the prowler.
3. Strong, straight arms
- Like the back, the arms are a potential source of power leakage.
- By keeping your arms rigid and strong you’ll ensure there’s no loss of power by having ‘soft’ shoulders and elbows.
- Keep them straight throughout.
4. Long, powerful strides
- As you fatigue, the temptation will be to take shorter strides, but always try to take the longest, most powerful strides you can.
- This will ensure better power transfer and keep momentum in the prowler.
TRY THIS: Prowler Shuttle Run
- Shuttle runs make for an excellent finisher.
- Remove all weight plates from the prowler.
- Set three cones out at 5m, 10m and 15m intervals.
- Push the prowler to the 5m cone and back, then to the 10m cone and back, and finally the 15m cone and back.
Beginner: 3 rounds
Intermediate: 5 rounds
Advanced: 7-10 rounds
Words: Steve Hoyles