Building “power” is one of the most underrated aspects of training for athletes and fitness lovers alike. Power movements are generally trumped by aerobic training, strength training, and mass building. Building power is something which can be extremely taxing on the body, but can create results for your body at lightning speeds compared with any other measurable characteristic. Whether you are looking to improve your vertical jump, 40-yard dash, or burn off stubborn fat; training for power will accomplish all of these goals equally as well!
The Prowler Sled
There is no doubt that the Prowler sled is an extremely versatile piece of equipment which provides several benefits, yields incredible results within a short time, and gives you great value for your money.
Depending on how you use it, the Prowler can help you develop power, speed, or strength predominately. Interestingly enough the Prowler sled actually mimics the lower body mechanism of running, but with less wear and tear on your body than sprinting or running for distance. People who may not be able to run for any extended period of time can obtain similar or even better results by using the Prowler sled.
The Prowler sled allows you to train a large variety of movement, with the additional option of using a mini sled for even more unique purposes. When using the Prowler sled, your body is in a more horizontal position and is actually conducive for those who have lower back or lower body issues when compared with traditional squat and deadlift movements. You can choose to attach a harness around your waist and then to the sled as well for moving in multiple directions, along with the traditional pushing motion. Just like running, you have the option of sprinting backwards, forward, or sideways, with many other unique motions possible as well.
Making progress with the Prowler sled is exceptionally straight forward; as you can decide to cover a greater distance, add more weight, go faster, or workout for a greater length of time. Whatever you choose to do with the Prowler sled will be based on your goals and fitness level, and the possibilities are seemingly endless.
The Treadmill Push
Before I continue with the benefits of the Prowler sled, I first want to give an option for those who do not have the advantage of one close by for use. Treadmill pushing actually offers you with very similar benefits that you get when you use a Prowler sled. Although it is much more limited for options, there are several advantages you get from treadmill pushing, including that it is an equipment which can be found in almost every gym.
Treadmill pushes are done with the machine’s power switched off, rather than running. To perform the movement, you have to drive the unpowered belt with your feet. It will provide you with some of the best cardio you have ever done. The resistance of the belt will quickly show itself, and working up in overall time is the easiest way to prove that you are improving on this exercise. Working for set periods of time and decreasing rest is also very effective with this.
For an athlete of any level, this is an extremely functional and useful exercise which is not commonly known or used!
Benefits of Treadmill Pushing
The treadmill push offers similar benefits that the Prowler sled provides making it a great alternative.
- One of the key benefit of treadmill pushing is that it provides the benefits you get with the Prowler sled without the need to purchase one or find a gym with one, if you do not currently attend a gym with a sled.
- It does not require much space and it provides opportunity for group or semi-private training sessions when there are more treadmills available
- Anaerobic and Aerobic conditioning are both worked by increasing force or increasing amount of total work done
- Lower body power is effectively gained through a functional manner which serves to increase your ability on all other lower body movements
Benefits of Prowler Sled
The Prowler sled hosts a number of benefits which make it a desirable piece of equipment for people of all training levels to use!
Prowler Sled is Easy to Use
The Prowler sled is relatively easy to learn and surprisingly it is not as technical as other types of lower body exercises. Due to the simple nature of the Prowler sled, it is suitable for virtually all fitness levels and will definitely assist people to quickly achieve their fitness goals.
One of the biggest advantages of the Prowler sled is that your body is nearly forced in too perfect position every time you use it, and your body generally will adapt to a better “form” as you go heavier in weight. It is nearly impossible to push a heavy Prowler sled with bad form; your body just won’t allow it!
Superb for Sports Specific Conditioning
By using the Prowler sled, you will be able to improve both your anaerobic conditioning and aerobic conditioning at the same time! Not many other exercises in the entire world have the same ability to improve both of these energy systems synergistically as the Prowler, and any and all athletes need to take advantage of this! By having the ability to perform weighted sprints that have short duration and high intensity, you can push on both of these energy systems incredibly!
To differentiate which you are using more is also very simple. For anaerobic energy or power, simply work with a heavier weight or shorter distance, and lengthen your recovery time between sets.
To preferentially work your aerobic conditioning with the Prowler sled, you can do this by simply engaging in reps that have a longer duration, or you can perform many shorter pushes while having little rests between sets.
You can also achieve this by combining the sled with other exercises as part of a conditioning circuit. Although such training will be extremely intense, it will not affect your muscles and joints in the same way running does; especially running that is done on cement, court, or turf. Adding the Prowler sled in to a circuit certainly will make it more aerobic, but it still will help you improve your anaerobic threshold regardless!
Low Risk with Fast Recovery Time
Due to the concentric nature of the Prowler sled and all its variations, you will experience less wear and tear on your body while training with it. Generally speaking, the eccentric portion of your lifting is what makes your muscles “sore.” If you have ever done a full workout with using mass amounts of negative reps, you will understand what I mean. For you though, this means that you will recover within a very short time.
Because there is less wear and tear, you can actually perform Prowler workouts more frequently, add volume to your workouts, and you can even train at a higher intensity without having to risk suffering from injuries, muscle, and joint soreness. This spring while I was recovering from my ankle injury my trainer had me working Prowler sled variations at least 3x per week! The functionality and benefit of avoiding muscle soreness makes it an incredible tool that you can use often!
This feature is a great benefit for athletes since it enables them to train hard during their season, without affecting their recovery between competitions or games. Training in season is great to maintain muscle mass and effectiveness, but being sore all the time is risky!
The Prowler sled and many of its variations mimic the lower body mechanics of running more than any other type of exercise would do, and when compared to running; there is remarkably less wear and tear on your body.
Helps to Improve Your Strength, Power and Speed
By adding as much weight as possible and pulling/pushing the sled, you can actually develop strength as well as speed and power. Slower sets on the Prowler will predominately work strength, which carries over well to the squat and the deadlift. If you can push a heavy prowler, you will say good bye to many of your other leg exercises for sure.
You can also develop your power by adding approximately 70-85% of your maximum weight and moving the sled as explosively as possible. This will provide tremendous carryover effect for sports and movement where you are needed to perform explosive and dynamic movements such as sprinting, bounding, changing direction, jumping, planting and others. You will not be able to cheat with your form and to get the sled to move, you will have to perform the exercise with a technique which is functional for almost every single sport in the world. This will help you to establish proper motor patterns and help to strengthen your muscles that are essential for running. These muscles include
The prowler sled helps you with the capacity to accelerate in all directions which will improve your acceleration technique and quickness. To focus on speed training, go with a lighter weight (around 50% of max capable), and push the sled for a shorter distance. This is similar to power training but the lighter weight will help your legs move quicker and faster overall, transferring more to direct speed.
Combining all three of these types of training provide an incredible Prowler workout!
The Prowler sled is a great tool that can be used as part of your performance enhancement training plan, and can also be used in both injury prevention and rehabilitation.
The Prowler greatly enhances the strength and the stability of your entire body with special emphasis on your lower body. Although this is important for both performance and aesthetics, it is also very important in preventing joint sprains that could be caused as a result of stability issues, imbalances, and overall weakness.
Whether you know it or not, you are leaving yourself vulnerable when you are required to run, stride, jump, plant and change direction if you lack strength and stability in your lower legs and feet. When you use Prowler sled, it will help to safeguard your body against chronic injuries like planter fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis, or other types of injuries that are caused due to weak feet and lower legs.
The Prowler sled is hands down one of the most critical pieces of equipment that any athlete can add to their current training program. When working with my own trainer while rehabbing an ankle injury this past spring, we personally devoted time almost every session to working with the Prowler sled because of its immense benefits. In some ways, the Prowler can replace almost every other leg exercise that you use! Obviously there are some small exercises which are necessary as well, but the Prowler covers such a wide base of needs for an athlete or anyone who is training it really is remarkable!
If you do not have access to a Prowler sled currently, Give the treadmill push a try! It is easy to use and conveniently found in just about every gym in the world!
Make sure to consult a medical professional if you are thinking about trying any of these for the first time and do not feel comfortable with the movements, because staying safe and being healthy is the most important factor in achieving your fitness goals!
If you feel comfortable, I definitely recommend both of these movements to you for creating your own personal, best body!