The simple act of pushing loads across the floor using the legs, core, and upper body as one that demands the utmost strength, muscular endurance, and cardiovascular fitness, no matter who you are.
In earlier prices we discussed the benefits of the sled pull, another sled training variation. In this article we will discuss the prowler push, how it differs from the sled, and some beneficial alternative exercises one can do for whatever reason in place of the prowler.
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What Is a Prowler Push?
Below is a video on how to perform the prowler push, as well as some common prowler push variations.
Prowler Push vs Sled Push
The prowler push and sled push are very similar movements, often so similar they are sure interchangeable. The true difference behind he prowler push and the sled push is that prowler pushes require a specific type of sled, called a prowler, whereas a sled is any weight bearing piece of equipment that can be used push, pulled, dragged, etc.
Prowler Push Alternatives
Below are a few effective alternatives to the prowler push exercise. Please note that most of the exercises below should be done with a training partner or supervision. This is strictly an information piece rather than an instructional guide.
In the event you like prowler pushing so much yet find yourself without a prowler or sled, fear not. Simply place a bumper plate on the floor or a few on a flat sheet of metal with a lip, such as many low cost portable “sleds”, and get to work. The only limitation with plate pushes is that it doesn’t allow for a great amount of loading to be trained with, which could actually serves as a great way to increase speed of the movement and stamina rather than strength.
Sprinting uphill mimics a lot of the same lower body leg stamina and force outputs of the prowler push, with the added bonus that the athlete can assume a more upright and transferable body positioning to human locomotion. I often find when doing prowler pushes, the awkward positioning of the athlete (really really low to the ground) can limit overall training rather than the actually markers I am trying to train (leg stamina and strength, aerobic/anaerobic fitness, and sprint mechanics).
Similar to hill sprints, stair runs are a great way to increase leg drive and power. Running at your local high school stadium or simply up the stairwell of a 5+ floor building will do the trick. The increased need to drive the legs higher, and faster (as you pick up speed) makes for a great metabolic total body workout to build cardiovascular endurance, leg stamina and power, and sprint economy.
Sled or prowler drags are a slight variation of the push, which entails a harness or tether to be attached to an athlete as they run or walk with the weight trailing them. The prowler push can place people in odd positions, not very natural to the actually running mechanics. Dragging the load behind allows the lifter to assume a more natural posture and emphasize upright running mechanics, forward lean, and core stabilization.
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