The prowler is, in my opinion, one of the best ways in which to do high intensity interval training that exists today. HIIT cardio has many benefits and is based on getting your heart rate up high and really taxing the faster energy systems of the body. The thought process behind this is that it results in a higher EPOC or excess post exercise oxygen consumption and therefore is a more efficient way to burn more fat without investing large amounts of time into steady state cardio. That being said, HIIT cardio is not the only use for the prowler. There are some possible uses for it being used as a therapeutic exercise due to its general lack of eccentric contractions (negative reps would be an example of an eccentric contraction).
My Prowler HIIT Protocol
Let’s first go over the protocol I personally use for HIIT sessions when I have the prowler or a sled at my disposal. I am a huge fan of a 1:6 work to rest ratio for HIIT sessions, for every 1 second of all out intensity I do, it is followed with 6 seconds of rest. For example, when I perform a 20 second Prowler sprint or push, I would take a 2 minute or 120 second rest. I normally will do this for a minimum of 5 intervals following a sufficient warm-up and followed by a sufficient cool-down.
During my work interval, I am pushing the hardest that I can, which means I actually slow down at about the 14 second portion because my body simply cannot continue to put up with the workload. You can change the protocol to suit your needs or personal preference better 12 second work intervals, 14 seconds etc. etc., but the main point is that you are going ALL OUT! The heart rate should be getting up, you should be challenged more as you progress through the intervals and you should definitely not feel like your work intervals are easy.
Excess Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption
One of the ideas behind HIIT cardio and fat loss is tied in with the idea of a heightened oxygen use post exercise. This is “repaying” the oxygen debt incurred by the high intensity exercise performed during the session. Your body needs oxygen to utilize fat as an energy substrate or source. Therefore, the thought process is that increased oxygen consumption for a longer amount of time post workout leads to increased body fat utilization, leading to more fat burned. I have personally found this as a very helpful way to help lose body fat during my dieting phases.
Possible therapeutic us
“The change in exercise-induced muscle soreness is greater 24 hours after exercise for subjects who perform eccentric isokinetic contractions than for those who perform concentric isokinetic contractions of their quadriceps femoris muscles at maximal effort. This observation is probably explained by the greater torque production that occurs during eccentric isokinetic contractions than during concentric isokinetic contractions performed with maximal effort.” (1) This might be a little bit confusing but here is my argument for how the prowler could be used therapeutically with HIIT intervals. Because the eccentric portion of the contraction causes more torque, that means a weakened knee may be at higher risk during that portion of the exercise. Since the sled sprint has very little eccentric portion, then it would allow an individual to perform the concentric motions at a higher intensity than other exercise options. Now, anyone who has an injury should always consult a physician before initiation of any exercise and should always follow guidelines. However, if you are reasonably healthy and maybe j
ust have a nagging knee or something of the like, then perhaps this could be a viable option to help get blood into the muscles and move around a bit without aggravating or re-aggravating an injury.
The “Prowler Flu”
Now, I call it “Prowler Flu” as a joke, but really it is something that you should be aware of when exercising, especially in hotter climates. It is very easy to overdo it with the sleds and end up vomiting. If you find yourself getting very tired, take a longer rest period or perhaps even cut your intervals short to prevent overdoing it. I have seen a lot of people get sick when doing prowler sprints and not a single one of them seemed to enjoy it. The Prowler Flu is real and it will get you if you don’t respect it. Take your time and work up to more intervals if you find yourself under-conditioned in regards to sled sprints.
Even though sled sprints are very high intensity, they are extremely fun. The prowler is a great way to get together with others, challenge one another, and push one another during the workout. It can be productive in helping lose body fat and may even have possible therapeutic uses depending on your current situation. Don’t pass up on the opportunity, just watch out not to catch the flu!