Ask Me Anything: The Prowler
Q: Hello I have seen your images and videos and I have a few questions about that sled device that you guys push around during training.
- What is your primary objective for using the sled? Single leg strength, improved speed or just to kick their asses?
- Whatever your prime purpose is, how do you make your decisions about how much to load the sled? Do you want them to be able to just keep it moving (more strength) or almost sprint with it (more speed)?
- Also, for a group, I would assume any weight would be too much for some and not enough for others. How do you manage that or do you not care that much about it?
- Can they be used on grass or just the blacktop? If you do use it on the blacktop does it wear out fast?
A: Thanks for the great questions. The sled, that I believe you are referring to, is called The Prowler and it is made by Elite Fitness Systems. Check it out here.
Primary objectives of The Prowler can be a few things. General Preparation Work (GPP) which gets the people using it “in shape” without a ton of running or other activities that can put more stress on the joints. Also, it is a great posterior chain (all the muscles of the back of the legs; glutes, hamstrings etc.) training tool. When they use The Prowler they are generally in the “athletic position” which trains hip extension via the muscles mentioned. The Prowler helps to properly coordinate those muscles and makes them stronger. Therefore, you have a stronger, faster and potentially, “less-of-a-chance-of getting-an-injury” kid. Most sports require great strength in the hip extending muscles.
Weight or speed? I am from the school that you should only move the amount of weight that allows you to maintain decent speed of movement and one that does not technically break down. If the weight is too heavy then they will be moving at a snail’s pace and most likely have to alter their body position to accommodate for the heavy weight. Generally speaking, if you want to focus on strength, load it up within the parameters mentioned above and if you want to work out their GPP and cardio keep it lighter and have them go longer.
For bigger groups with different weight pushing abilities you can have the strong kids move faster, within their technique, and have the weaker kids move it slower, but the weight should be something everyone can do. You may also have the stronger kids push on the lower handles in front and the weaker kids push on the higher ones. The low bars are a nightmare for anyone at any weight. If you want to feel the quads blasted and have a sick stomach at the end of your workout, the low bars are where it’s at.
One protocol I like to do is set a group of 4 people about 75ft.apart (2 on each side) and have them take turns going for 5-10 min in relay fashion. The weight is considered light but their conditioning will be trained like no other.
I have used the Prowler on grass. It works ok if the grass is short and dry. The grass makes gaining traction to push the Prowler harder, especially if you plan on using the low handles. Obviously the blacktop is better and I have not worn my skid plates out yet, but they do sell replacement pads.
Thanks for the questions, hope it helped.