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Why most people misuse sleds

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When used properly, pushing a prowler can do far more than make you feel sick, including improving explosive strength and adding muscle mass, says Jack Lovett

Jack Lovett is a strength and conditioning specialist and the owner of Spartan Performance. He a two-time British natural strongman champion and world natural strongman competitor. He is based in Consett, County Durham.

Watch videos on YouTube of people using sleds and prowlers and it’s easy to assume that personal trainers simply use them to make their clients sick. It’s very simple to make someone very tired very quickly using these bits of kit, but that’s not necessarily the best way to use them.

The beauty of them is that they’re very easy to use. You don’t need a lot of gym experience to be able to use them effectively. In fact, the prowler itself is the coach because you’ll know straight away if your body is not in the right position. If you stand too high, it’ll tip forward. If you stand too low, you’re going to put all your force downwards into the ground, and it’s not going to move forwards very fast, if at all.

The prowler is also a coach because it encourages you to work hard and fast. No one wants to push a heavy sled slowly. So it makes you push it quickly, which results in greater benefits.

On the prowler
Prowlers and sleds can be used as frequently as you wish, so long as you programme carefully. For example, I will use them to bring people back from injury; to improve their explosiveness; to get their central nervous system fired up, so they will squat and deadlift better; to promote hypertrophy to increase muscle mass; or to improve conditioning and promote fat loss.

So you can use this kit anywhere in your workout. Do some light ones at the start of your workout to get your nervous system fired up; or some short, fast heavy ones at the start of a squat or deadlift session. And you can do longer ones at the end of the session as a tremendous tool for metabolic conditioning.

I also love them as a recovery aid between heavy squat or strongman sessions. You don’t need to go heavy, just enough to get blood and nutrients pumped into the muscles.

Finally, how do you know if the prowler or sled is too heavy? It doesn’t move.

For more tips and advice go to spartanperformance.co.uk

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