Joe Bennett, better known in bodybuilding circles as the Hypertrophy Coach, will be a feature presenter at the 2019 elitefts Strong(er) Sports Coaching and Success Summit from April 26th-28th. Recently, Joe wrote about some of the best ways to exercise with a Prowler.

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[The Prowler is] One of the most intelligent, brutal, effective, and underutilized tools in bodybuilding. Mainly because it’s hard. Now, I’m not judging from upon high - I’ll be the first to admit, there have been plenty of times I’ve intentionally kept these out of my programming because of how horribly painful it is (depending on how you use it).

First and foremost, the unique benefit of the Prowler or any sled is the fact that it’s a “concentric only” exercise. There is no eccentric (“negative”) phase. Why does that matter? A couple of reasons: 1) Concentrics are the more metabolically demanding (compared to eccentrics) and 2) Eccentrics produce the most muscle damage. Number 1 is the main reason the sled is so widely used as a metabolic/conditioning tool. Because it’s a continuous succession of concentrics, you can get crazy metabolic output in a relatively short period of time.

But I want to speak mainly of its benefit for muscle building. As you may know, I’m a huge fan of finishing workouts with metabolic/pump work. I’m also a fan of relatively low volume work because of the toll volume takes on recovery and its overall effect on an athlete’s longevity. The Prowler fits the bill for the end of a leg workout perfectly. You still need your squat variations, leg press, etc., because I think you need the muscle damage from eccentrics. But heavy Prowler pushes produce near unparalleled pumps, with a minimal toll on recovery (to the point that I would actually say they can aid in recovery). But you need to treat it like any other “pump” exercise. My favorite is to build up to one top set that lasts 90 seconds to 2 minutes. And you finish at failure, where you literally can’t push it anymore. If you’ve never done this before, you’ll know why I'm occasionally a bitch and avoid them. I’ve never come across anything the produces this amount of lactic acid in such a short period of time (wingates a close second). You can literally become “lactic acid drunk” (I’ve been there, not fun). The entire lower body pump is also unparalleled.

In addition to some of the above points, you also get the benefits of any “triple extension” exercise.

Glutes/hams, quads, and calves all get worked. And similar to a lunge, you get some unique hip muscular demands but with some added stability from the sled itself. Also, similarly to other single leg variations, you can load the shit out of the legs, with much less load on the spine. And if you set up and push right, much less of the force on the spine is compressive (compared to a squat). Lastly, because you determine how far you pull up the leg before you drive with it, it’s much easier to stay within your active range (again, assuming set up is right - namely hips and spine).

So to recap: massive pumps/metabolic output, little muscular damage, low injury risk, and it taxes your entire lower body. Today was my first day putting these back in with my trusty Prowler I’ve had since 2009, I believe (first time I’ve had access to it and turf in over a year). I’ll be building back up from here. Again, the programming is easy. Hit your normal leg session, add these at the end: working-up to one set that fails around 90 seconds to 2 minutes. Give them a go for at least 6 weeks, with consistent/brutal effort and I guarantee noticeable progress with your leg development.

Be sure to follow Joe on Instagram and come to his presentation and workshop at the elitefts Strong(er) Sports Coaching and Success Summit.