5 Benefits of Prowler Push

In this article we will discuss the prowler push, a versatile piece of equipment to train muscle hypertrophy, leg strength, metabolic conditioning, and more. We will cover five benefits of prowler pushes and a thorough exercise demonstration and guidelines for coaches and athletes alike.

What Is a Prowler Push?

A prowler is a specific type of sled that allows you to load multiple plates onto it to increase the resistance that one must work against when pushing (or pulling the sled/weight). This can also have a variety of handle placements (high, low, vertical, horizontal) to help coaches and athletes train a wide array of angles.

In the below video, Mark Rippetoe goes in great detail about the two different ways to push a prowler (1) being highly compressed on the spine vs the other (2) being more disruptive and challenging to the core, trunk, and hip musculature. Be sure to watch the video below, where I fast forwarded to the specific part in which he goes in great detail about set up and pushing considerations (about the 10:00min mark).

5 Benefits of the Prowler Push

Below are five benefits of the prowler push that coaches and athletes can expect to see when done for either time, max effort strength, distance, or other training metric.

1. Leg and Core Hypertrophy

Increased muscle hypertrophy is a primary benefit from doing long duration (45-90 seconds) prowler pushes. By pushing the sled at the above angles (described in the video by Mark Rippetoe), you challenge the quads, glutes, abdominals, erectors,and upper body to stay rigid and contract for prolonged periods of time, which has been shown (time under tension training) to increase muscle growth. This is a great way for lifters who have injuries and/or are trying to limit spinal loading yet looking to add quality muscle mass and training volume within their training programs.

2. Active Recovery

Prowler pushes and sled training is a great way to increase blood flow to active tissues for recovery purposes (when done at lower intensities). Prowler pushes involve concentric muscle contractions, meaning that they do not induce eccentric strains upon the muscles (which have been linked to delayed onset muscle soreness). IN doing so, you limit muscle soreness all while helping to increase blood flow to damaged muscle tissues (from previous training to ultimately increase the recovery process of the body.

3. Work Capacity / Conditioning

The prowler push is a great modality for low impact conditioning and work capacity training for nearly every athlete. Whether you goals are power, strength, muscle endurance, or weight loss, the prowler push can be modified (based on loading, time intervals, rest periods, etc) to fit the needs and exercise physiology of the sport.

4. Sprint Mechanics

When angles are changed so that they are similar hip and knee angles found in sprint mechanics, the prowler can be a great way to increase leg drive and force output (unilaterally). By doing so, you can increase the force output and ground reaction forces of the lower body during running, sprinting, and other athletic movements, helping to create faster, stronger strides.

5. Functional and Sport Training

Pushing the prowler, cars, opponents, and handling loads in dynamic ways is a key skill and foundational movement pattern that many humans should have within their skill set. Throughout most sports, human interactions, or daily life, the ability to contract the core, upper body, and carry/pull/push heavy loads can come in handy. Doing this safely by learning proper hip angles, leverages, core stability, and developing enough muscle mass are al benefits of the prowler push and can have a drastic impact on one’s athleticism and functional fitness and strength.

Prowler Push Alternatives

In an earlier article we discussed a few prowler push alternatives for individuals who may lack proper space or equipment to perform prowler pushed. The above benefits are not necessarily exclusive to the prowler push, but rather the movement patterning. Therefore, many of these exercise in the above link can be substituted into any training regimen to bring about similar training outcomes.

Featured Image: @leiwillbefit on Instagram

Editor’s Note: CJ Murphy — ISSA SSC, MFS, IKFF Level 1, RPR Level 1, KMS Level 1, C-ISSN — had the following comments on this article. Murphy is a former strongman competitor and former National Powerlifting Champion, with almost 30 years as coach and nutritionist. He’s also a member of the Advisory Board to Muscle and Fitness Magazine, and a member of Team EliteFTS. He owns and coaches at Total Performance Sports.

The Prowler is one of the most versatile tools we have available.

It can be used for:
Strength
Hypertrophy
GPP
Recovery
Conditioning

At TPS we use Prowlers daily for many goals with our athletes and clients.
A favorite drill that we use that is not listed is and Arm over arm pull to a push.
Attach a rope to one end and stand up and arm over arm pull as if in a Strongman event, when you get to the end of the rope, sprint it back.

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Mike holds a Master's in Exercise Physiology and a Bachelor's in Exercise Science. Currently, Mike has been with BarBend since 2016, where he covers Olympic weightlifting, sports performance training, and functional fitness. He's a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and is the Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach at New York University, in which he works primarily with baseball, softball, track and field, cross country. Mike is also the Founder of J2FIT, a strength and conditioning brand in New York City that offers personal training, online programs for sports performance, and has an established USAW Olympic Weightlifting club.In his first two years writing with BarBend, Mike has published over 500+ articles related to strength and conditioning, Olympic weightlifting, strength development, and fitness. Mike’s passion for fitness, strength training, and athletics was inspired by his athletic career in both football and baseball, in which he developed a deep respect for the barbell, speed training, and the acquisition on muscle.Mike has extensive education and real-world experience in the realms of strength development, advanced sports conditioning, Olympic weightlifting, and human movement. He has a deep passion for Olympic weightlifting as well as functional fitness, old-school bodybuilding, and strength sports.Outside of the gym, Mike is an avid outdoorsman and traveller, who takes annual hunting and fishing trips to Canada and other parts of the Midwest, and has made it a personal goal of his to travel to one new country, every year (he has made it to 10 in the past 3 years). Lastly, Mike runs Rugged Self, which is dedicated to enjoying the finer things in life; like a nice glass of whiskey (and a medium to full-bodied cigar) after a hard day of squatting with great conversations with his close friends and family.