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The World's Best Piece of Cardio Equipment: The Prowler

by Andrew Heming

​Want to melt fat off your body and get in great shape? If so, what tool are you using the get the job done? Should you use a bike, treadmill, elliptical, rower, stepper or some other expensive piece of cardio equipment? What is going to give you the best possible results? What if I told you there was a better option to get the job done... Interested?

A Sad Story

As a young trainer working in a big box gym filled with all the latest cardio equipment, I saw many regulars who were continually sweating away on their favorite machines. However, as time when by, I noticed that despite their amazing consistency and the countless hours these dedicated folks invested, they had not changed at all. What happened? Isn't cardio supposed to be the holy grail of fat loss?

The truth about fat loss 

I now know that permanent nutritional change is the real key to fat loss. I know that is not what you wanted to hear. Trust me, as a trainer I want there to be an exercise solution to fat loss more than you do – it would make my job so easy. However, once you have come to terms with the nutritional reality of fat loss, exercise can help – if it is the right type of exercise! 

Now, when it comes to exercise, strength training can be amazing for getting and staying lean. However, this really only works if you have enough skill to safely and effectively do the best exercises (e.g. deadlifting, squatting, lunging, pushing, pulling, swings, etc.). It also requires sufficient strength to move some respectable weight.

So what if you don't have sufficient strength or skill yet? (Start working now!) Or, what if you are already doing some intense weight training? Can cardio help – you bet. But it has to be the right type. While there are lots of good cardio tools, the best of the best is the prowler.

Prowler magic

The prowler is a simple, loadable, triangular weight sled that offers some amazing benefits over traditional cardio equipment.

Here are 12 reasons why the prowler is the world's best piece of cardio equipment:

1. Cardiovascular fitness 

Repeated prowler pushes is a very intense form of interval training. This type of training is fantastic for getting you into amazing shape.

2. Fat loss

The intense intervals with the prowler are a fantastic, time-efficient way to strip off unwanted body fat. Not only do you burn a lot of calories during the training session, but you also produce a huge amount of EPOC and thus you burn extra fat and calories long after the training session is over.

3. Time efficiency
The single most important thing for time-efficient training is selecting the right exercises. Even if you can only invest a short amount of time to train, by using the prowler you will get a great return on your time investment.

4. Work capacity

If you have a sedentary lifestyle, you likely have limited work capacity. This is your body's ability to do physical work. This is your base. If your base is small, you can't handle the amount of exercise needed to transform your body. Prowler work is an excellent way to build this base so you can do the training needed to reach your goals.

5. Real-life strength

It is hard to get more functional than pushing or pulling a weighted sled. After the prowler, everything in real-life feels easier.

6. Easy to learn 

While I love barbells, a huge downside to barbell training is that it takes time and coaching to learn how to do the exercises safely and effectively. While this time is well worth it, this learning phase is frustrating and leaves you feeling like you are not really training. Prowler pushing is a skill you can pick up instantly. This rapid learning process allows you to get right into the good stuff – hard, effective training!

7. Safety 

Fatigue and high-skilled activities do not match. As you get tired, you get sloppy and that is when you get hurt. Because of the low technical requirements, you can train hard with a lower risk of injury then you can with other higher-skilled exercises. Also, the prowler doesn't move without you – it is not like a treadmill where if you can't keep up, you fly off the back.

8. Universally beneficial 

Some forms are cardio are great for beginners and useless for advanced folks. Others are great once you are already in great shape, but too much for beginners. The beauty of the prowler is that you can load it to exactly what YOU need. 

9. Easy to progress

One of the challenges with many forms of training (especially cardio) is the ability to progress your training. Take jogging for example. The more you do, the better you get at it and the less effective it becomes. With the prowler, you get the opposite effect. The better you get at it, the more weight you can use and the harder it becomes. You can progress by just adding a little weight at a time. This keeps the results coming!

10. Good different

Let's face it. Exercise is not the most exciting thing in the world. That's why people are always demanding something new and different. However, this often ends up being stuff that is cute – but delivers inferior results. Pushing a prowler is like nothing else you've ever done in a regular gym. It is a fresh change for your mind and your body.

11. Little to no soreness

While I don't see the prowler as a replacement for traditional resistance training exercises, it offers a unique opportunity for concentric-only training. This means you do the lifting part without doing the lowering or eccentric part. This is easier to recover from so you can train more often. Also, it is the lowering part that causes the soreness. When this is eliminated, you don't get sore. This is extremely helpful if your life requires those little things like walking and getting up from a chair.

12. Mental toughness 

Intense prowler pushing allows you not only to build a strong body, but a strong mind. It allows you to learn one of the most important life lessons that training can teach – you are stronger than you think you are.

Bonus Benefit for Athletes

Speed Prowler pushing and pulling is a fantastic way to improve speed. Heavy sled pulls provide a special strength exercise that builds strength in the sprinting motion. Light prowlers pulled while sprinting are great for acceleration training. The prowler also forces you to lean forward and maintain a positive shin angle thus enforcing proper mechanics.

The downside of the prowler 

The biggest downside to the prowler (besides the fact that you can get what is affectionately known as the "prowler flu" if you over-do it or your trainer tries to kill you instead of make you better) is that most gyms don't have one. Also, most gyms are not designed in a way to even have open room to push or pull a sled. Thankfully, at Coastal Fitness you have access to this amazing piece of cardio equipment, space to push it and the expert coaching required to put it all together for you in an effective program. Check us out online!

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Disclaimer: Specific results may vary from person to person.