Prowler---Carl

So what’s the most feared piece of equipment at your gym…

When it comes to effective conditioning tools the leg buckling, vomit inducing and oxygen depleting apparatus’s called the Prowler is in league of its own and is rated by our crew as the most respected… (well lets not bull-shit, the word is actually feared)… piece of equipment we have here at Muscle Pit.

People tend to get very busy in other areas of the gym (and deaf!!!) when the call goes out for volunteers to participate on the prowler.

Like the devil who goes by many names, here in Australia the prowler goes under various names such as The Hurt Terminal, The Sledger, The Conditioner and The Punisher – to name a few. Make no mistake thou, whatever name it goes by, like the devil, once you have engaged its services you will feel your life force being drained from your soul such is the intensity it can deliver in a few short minutes.

Origins

The Prowler was originally invented around 2004/2005 in the U.S by Joey Batson who I believe was a strength coach with Clemson University in collaboration with William Strength Systems.

However it was Elite Fitness who marketed the product and gave the prowler its initial popularity amongst the coaching fraternity which then saw it sky rocket to fame through countless YouTube videos from the end users who also coined the infamous phrase “Prowler flu” for the debilitating effect it has on the body.

Benefits

Apart from the obvious benefits of helping boost overall fitness, endurance, increasing lower body strength and power and combined with a good diet it melts fat faster than a frying pan the prowler caters for all ages and body shapes, as it is easy to use. Basically anyone with 2 legs and 2 arms can participate – there is no learning curve… just push.

 From an injury perspective the prowler is pretty safe as once fatigue sets in, you stop…. (or collapse) and rest before you re-start. The only injuries we have had in five years apart from broken pride are two pulled calves from prowler sprints.

The device can be dragged, pulled (like a mini sled) or pushed, opening up a range of movements and training sessions for the switched on coach or user.

Weight loads can be quickly varied and adjusted to suit participant’s strength or fitness levels.

Its flexibility also enables users to target specific training needs such as interval training, speed work, cardiovascular workouts and maximal strength development.

There are a countless number of routines that can be performed both individually and as a team. Personally I prefer the team approach as there is nothing like a bit of competition – even if the people training with you don’t realise they are in a competition… in my mind its happening and it keeps me going when the other side of my brain is telling me I’m too old for this shit and I should just stop!!

Routines for the Prowler:

Here is a sample of two of the routines for vertical pushing we’ve used to good effect this summer:

Timed vertical pushes for 35 seconds:

Weight the prowler and sprint over 20 meters as fast as you can, drop off the prowler and run (sprint) back to the start as fast as you can – then recover by walking back to the Prowler and get ready to go again. When you hear the beep you are off again…

If you are doing this as a team movement aim to stay ahead of the guy you are racing either with the prowler or by foot.

10 runs should do the trick.

 Weighted Runs (this is usually done with 4 participants 2 each end):

With this exercise we load double body weight on the prowler up to 200Kg and do one way shuttle runs.

Push for 20 meters as fast as you can – wait for the next three to do their runs (which should take a minute combined…more if you are lucky) – Then go again.

Once you have completed two runs (there and back) de-load a plate a side for another two runs until you are down to 1 plate. This should equate to 10 run throughs.

If you are doing this by yourself set your timer to 30 seconds. Start on the first beep and when you complete the 20 metres as fast as you can, rest for the remainder of the time with a further minutes rest before you commence your next push.

Both the above drills should have you on all fours gasping for air and for most a combination of your calves, quads, hamstrings and gluteus should be fried.

Summary

I have used a variation of the Prowler now since 2006 on both myself and others and it has proven to be one the most effective training aids for developing cardiovascular endurance and strength quickly – not to mention mental determination.

That said I’m not saying this piece of equipment is the be all and end all as there are many ways to get the job done and I’m a firm believer variety keeps you fresh. However it is a favourite inclusion for many of our training programs here at Muscle Pit…… because it works.

I hope you all get an opportunity to get a dose of “Prowler Flu” this summer.

Below: Smashing out a few sprints on the Prowler