"A Prowler a day keeps a flat butt away!"
Pretty much a staple of most programmes at Paramount Fitness, Nottingham - simply because it's use spreads far and wide, there is a Prowler for every occasion.
I'm talking from the newbie, who has never stepped in a gym, to our most elite machines, the Prowler has always been there to help them along.
Like I say, for every occasion;
- Warming up
- For pure speed
- Raw power
- Brute strength
- Injury rehab
- Pain reduction, yes the prowler can have a therapeutic role too.
- Pre game or competition prep - freakishly works very well!
- Conditioning - aerobic or anaerobic.
and just plain brutality...
Why do I love the Prowler? (more as a Coach than an Athlete!)
The versatility, efficiency and effectiveness!
No other move provides so much within a limited time frame and with such little complexity. You can get down and deep into all sorts of the best protocols, but you simply can't get it wrong, however you do it, as long as you are busting your ass you can be sure it will bite you in it after!
Whether you push it heavy or you push it light - just push it - with all you've got! Wait 30secs and bam! it bites ya, no other exercise demands that a bucket is always close by!
Sometimes there just ain't enough weight!
Here's some of my favourite ways and 'whys' I like to use the Prowler!
1. New gains for new faces.
The cool thing about the prowler is it actually means it is an awesome tool for someone who is new to the level of training we demand at Paramount Fitness, Nottingham.
As opposed to the traditional strength work we do, a Prowler by nature is "Eccentric-less" unlike traditional compounds that all harbor eccentric elements to the moves such as the downward phase in a squat, the eccentric portion of a lift is that portion where the muscle is lengthening under tension and is actually where most muscular damage occurs, the reason why slower eccentrics, negatives create so much muscle soreness.
But the eccentric-less properties of the Prowler mean that it is also awesome to increase the work capacity, strength and muscle mass of individuals very fast within their ability to recover so they don't burnout, in actual fact the Prowler can make you feel better post training - i'll elaborate shortly. .
The Prowler rounds out a programme perfectly.
2. Level up.
From whatever level you come in at, Prowler drills will "level up" your ability to move and apply force.
So they won't just increase your athletic ability, they may simply help you walk and move easier in daily life too.
Everything about it demands getting the body in alignment, and of special importance, is the triple extension required of the ankles, knees and hips.
Extension being the most important word as it is in opposition to the daily posture many of us adopt, being flexion at the ankles, knees, hips, spine, shoulders etc.
The Prowler gets us out of this posture and strengthens the muscles responsible.
3. Speed and Power
To increase strength and sprinting speed we do many short burst sprints, sometimes with full recovery (sometimes) and the Prowler shows direct improvements time and time again when it comes to speed increases, especially the acceleration phase.
Even if the Prowler is loaded so heavy that it moves slow it speeds you up! Not just because of the loaded aspect of it but because it is close enough to proper sprinting form especially the drive or acceleration phase and ingrains the form that transfers so well.
Like I say, we also load that Prowler right up until it barely moves and I have to say it'll probably attribute more speed gains to this than any shuttle runs you'll do!
If you want to get faster, yes technique is important, but it has to be married with an increase in the the force you can put down into the ground. The Prowler is the perfect tool, it puts those two components in action. Using the harness with Prowler behind you is especially useful here as you simply have to adopt the right positioning or the prowler won't move - it is the acceleration position!
That's the reason why most of the time we like to work up to some really heavy Prowler work & you'll know this works if you've also been to any modified strongman/Women sessions on a Saturday morning with us.
And as I have said you can't get the Prowler wrong. Technically it's beautifully stupid-simple. It improves technique, not just for sprinting but in all lifts as it demands total body tension, the "core" must be solid to enable force transfer from the legs through the mid section into the Prowler. That may need teaching many times during traditional compound moves but almost always happens naturally on the Prowler.
If pure speed and power is what you're after then a heavy Prowler to push and pull is what you need. Add in some moderately loaded all out sprints and your good to go, but make sure its short and sweet as they require full recovery - not burning heavy legs and a sick bucket, thats next.
4. The pre-game Prowler switch!
This works particularly well for athletes in power and speed based sports; 1 or 2 days before a game we use the Prowler in a particular manner along with a couple of other tricks as a sort of neural amplifier.
The load and volume will differ slightly person to person, but we basically get the athlete to hit top speed with a moderate prowler and just touch a couple of runs super heavy. But we never go anywhere near fatigue, fresh reps only!
I've also included the Prowler in this particular manner one or two days before competition or a game day for some of the high end athletes many times now and they have repeatedly found performance increases, literally every time! The athletes continually report, and I quote; feeling "sharper" on game day, mentally "more alert", having "power to burn" and I like this one that one of my guys reported back with "I literally felt like I could have skated through a brick wall"
Thats some pretty big statements, but trust me it works.
The Pre game Prowler switch has had success with athletes from Soccer, American Football, Fencing and Ice Hockey. The volume and intensity just has to be in the sweet spot for that individual to get the right response.
But I suggest you experiment!
5. Bucket Runs.
No retreat, No surrender!
Aaaand then sometimes, everything technical and sciency just needs to calm down and take a backseat to some plain old balboa grit and determination! It's not about mechanics or anearobic conditioning - let's just see how far you can push yourself, test your capablites and never give in, sometimes that is the most important component.
This is where the bucket challenges come in, every now and again, not all too often as they are hard to recover from - we can throw down a brutaliser!
Can you keep going when things get tough or do you give in as soon as the boundaries of your comfort zone become stretched?
What benefits can we derive from putting ourself through this torment?
1. Train the Rocky mindset
2. You are gonna burn serious amounts of energy - great for a re-feed
3. Team work and motivation - like holding on in the dying seconds of a football match. Whats better than grinding through something brutally hard work being roared on by your mates and coming out the other side knowing you managed to dig in deep and win!
The Paramount Fitness Prowler Bucket Runs.
Prowler - Sprint - Prowler
We use this a lot as a training tool, but its lslightly different as a challenge.
- Prowler push for 40 yards as fast as possible (the black bin not the green - our members will get this one!) - load the Prowler heavy enough to slow you down - (pressing and not sprinting)
- Sprint 40 yards all out
- Walk back to Prowler
- Push Prowler back to start
- Rest 1 minute 30 seconds and repeat 3 times.
The Defranco - Original Prowler Challenge
This one isn't mine - it's Joe Defranco's - but I like to use it every now and then.
The original Prowler challenge is four, 30-yard pushes, as fast as possible. The Prowler is loaded with two 45-pound plates and two 25-pound plates, for a total of 140 pounds.
Start with the low horizontal handles. Sprint for 30 yards, then rest for one minute exactly. Now grab the vertical poles, sprint back 30 yards, and rest for one minute. Again, sprint the 30 yards with the low handles, rest, and come back using the high handles.
Now, to complete the challenge you have to hold your puke for five minutes after you finish. If you puke after the five-minute point, you've still completed the challenge.
Why the five-minute rule? Because it's not while you're pushing the Prowler or even immediately after, it's that two to three minutes after when the 'Prowler Flu' kicks in. If you can survive that, you've passed the test.
1 Minute Speed AMLAP
You've got 1 minute - the Prowler is loaded with 25 kg per side, 1 length = 30 yards (green bin) start with vertical handles and change to low handles each length.
Rest 2 minutes & repeat
2 Minute Heavy AMLAP
You've got 2 minutes - the Prowler is loaded with 40-50 kg per side, 1 length = 30 yards (green bin) start with vertical handles and change to low handles each length.
Rest 2 minutes & repeat
I think that's enough for now. I'm feeling sick just at the thought of it all.