Many Crossfit and gym lovers, especially newbies, are intimidated by the sled. Hardly anyone uses sleds unless they have a personal trainer and can teach them how to use it.
However, the Prowler Sled is easy to use and safe when used correctly, which means that we are unlikely to get injured using one. Incorporating the marauding sled into a workout also offers a host of benefits.
A prowler sled is essentially a sled with a platform on which weight plates can be stacked and rails, bars, or handles (location and height may vary) that can be grasped to push or pull the sled across the ground from the gym.
Many people simply push or pull the sled with the rails, bars, or handles, but some have an attachment that allows a harness to be attached. In this way, we can put the harness on our shoulders and pull the sled with our body, facing the sled or away from it.
Benefits of its use
There is a lot of versatility with the sled. We can push it, pull it, drag it in a harness, and easily manipulate it by varying the weight, sets, and work/rest intervals to achieve different training goals. Pushing or pulling a weightless (or light) sled for a longer period of time will definitely test cardiovascular endurance so that we can sustain activity for longer periods of time.
Increased muscle hypertrophy
The prowler thrust engages the quads, glutes, abdominals, erectors, and upper body to remain rigid and contracted for extended periods of time.
This stiffness helps increase the time your muscles are under tension. Studies suggest that increasing time under tension can help increase muscle hypertrophy more than conventional resistance training. Since the prowler push helps challenge your entire body, it’s a great way to build muscle all over.
Improved sprint performance
The sled push helps increase lower body force production and ground reaction forces during running, sprinting, and other athletic movements. This helps create faster, stronger strides.
We can change the angle at which we move, which mimics the hip and knee drive found in running mechanics. Studies suggest that implementing sled training with any load can help produce greater sprint performance, compared to sprint training without resistance.
Throughout most sports and much of daily life, the ability to contract the trunk and upper body to carry, pull, and push heavy loads can be helpful.
The sled push is a functional exercise that challenges the entire body. This movement pattern translates into everyday activities. Studies suggest that functional training may have a greater overall effect on strength, endurance, and power compared to traditional training.
Pushing the sled means that we keep our upper body rigid while moving our legs. This makes it similar to exercises like single-leg squats or unilateral leg presses, where we’re training both sides of the body equally.
Bilateral exercises are beneficial, but if there are weaknesses or imbalances in the body, they can be compensated for by the stronger side. Unilateral training can help improve muscle imbalances and help improve overall performance, not to mention reduce the risk of injury. This is because the more symmetrical the force, the less likely we are to develop compensatory movement patterns that can hurt us in the long run.
body fat loss
The prowler push is versatile and can be adjusted for beginners or more advanced fitness levels. Either way, it’s a beneficial way to get your heart rate up. And, if one of your goals is to reduce body weight, it is also useful for burning calories and body fat.
Studies suggest that performing high-intensity functional exercise like the Marauder’s Thrust can change your overall body composition and help reduce body fat. So if losing body fat is one of your goals, sled pushes can help.
How is it used?
Although the sled is fairly simple to use, many people make the mistake of pushing or pulling the sled with their feet too close together, which is an inefficient way to move. We also don’t want to place our feet too far apart: widening your base of support can decrease power.
Instead, we will use a natural foot position, where the feet are in line with the pelvis and shoulders. In this way, the mechanics of pushing or pulling a sled is similar to running or walking, with the torso leaning slightly more forward or backward during the push and pull of the sled.
From a security perspective, we will make sure to keep the column neutral at all times. Because the weight of the sled is on your shoulders and not your head, back, or neck, there is less risk of back pain or injury with the lurker sled than with an exercise like the back squat.
However, there is always a risk of back problems if we repeatedly arch or round our spine while pushing or pulling on the sled. To protect the spine, we will make sure to always hold onto the core when pushing or pulling the sled.
To try the sled or prowler sled, there are several movements that can raise the pulse.
- We will stand up, facing a sled with our feet hip-width apart.
- We will lean forward and grab the rails, handles or bars at the desired height. We can do this move with our arms outstretched, or We can hold the sled with our hands close to our chest (as in a push-up position).
- We will stagger the feet so that one foot is in front.
- We’ll engage the core and drive through the forefoot of the foot to push the sled forward.
- We’ll continue to step forward, pushing through the front foot to generate force.
- We will keep the abdomen activated, the knees in line with the feet and the feet in line with the pelvis.
- We will continue to push the sled about 50 feet, or as far as training space allows.
- While holding the Prowler sled rails, handles, or bars at the desired height, sit back on your hips until your arms are fully extended.
- We will engage the core and pull the sled towards us while stepping back with one foot.
- We will continue to take a step back with our arms fully extended.
- We will keep the abdomen engaged, the knees in line with the feet and the feet in line with the pelvis.
- We will continue to pull the sled about 50 feet, or as far as training space allows.