T Nation

Prowler Pushes and Rope Training as Assistance


#1

Hi all,

I am a novice at strength training, about a year in. I'm making significant strength gains every month but I have hit a point where I am not leaning-out simultaneously anymore. I want to get my body fat percentage down and I know that relatively short, intense bursts of conditioning work are very effective.

However, I want to be able to condition on days that I strength train without having to dedicate separate days to conditioning work. As of right now, the prowler kicks my ass. I get an intense workout from doing it but I also feel the same burn/exertion in my legs that I do from strength training.

My question is this. On squat and deadlift days, could I cut out some of the assistance work and replace it with prowler pushes as a conditioning finisher? Could I do the same thing with rope training after bench and overhead press days? Currently I do something like this.

Squat Day
Main Lift (Juggernaut)
Front Squat
Lunges
Split Squats
Abs
Back Extensions
No Conditioning Work

What if I did something like this?

Squat Day
Main Lift (Juggernaut)
Front Squat (5/3/1 minimum reps)
Split Squats
Abs
Prowler Push 40yds x10-15

Would doing something like this lead to injury or burn me out? Would this seriously compromise my strength gains (some compromise is expected and fine). Please advise.


#2

A bunch of Wendler's more recent 5/3/1 templates work this way.

You can also try the sled on upper body days. You can do many rows, presses, fly, curl or tricep extension moves.

Check out "Matt Wenning making the Military Bigger, Stronger, Faster" on YouTube for ideas.

Last month, I dropped out all the "main lifts" and "secondary lifts," to figure out how much assistance work and sled dragging worked for me. Basically, no barbells. Lots of calisthenics, Some dumbbells, and the sled every workout.

I know that approach won't appeal to everyone, but it really helped me figure some things out.


#3

Look at the thread "New 5x5 FSL Plan" from Wendler's forum, last month. Post #2 lays it out.


#4

This is my major squatting day:

High bar squat
Pause squat
Front squat
RDL
Prowler

So I think you're on the right path if you can recover from the work.


#5

I really appreciate it guys. I read all of this stuff on the internet like "oh don't do lower body cardio the day before lower body weights, you'll sacrifice strength" "don't do cardio day of, you'll injure yourself" "don't do it the day after, your recovery will be shot!". With two lower body days per week I was like "when am I gonna condition then?". I'll definitely be giving this a try!


#6

Yes, you could do that.


#7

It would totally be gravy.

I've actually started that type of conditioning work and while my strength hasn't gone up, it certainly hasn't gone down. My breath and heart are a lot more conditioned it seems like. That is, I don't run out of steam as easily doing anything in or out of the gym. So when I do my main work, I don't need as much rest over time. I've noticed that my all of my muscles seem to like to grow from this type of work. My best guess is that my muscles happen to do best when exposed to a high amount of time under tension. Granted, that is just an educated guess at best.

I typically do 4-6 sets of tire flipping, some type of carry, sled pushing/dragging, seated sled dragging which means using only my upper body, sled upper body pushing, short jumps or KB swings, med ball slams, different kinds of med ball tosses ,rope work, jump roping, bodyweight circuits, or any combo for about 45s-90s at a time with 2-3 minutes of rest in between. I'm working on adding more and more sets. I started at 3. Pretty much, I do what I feel like and know that I'm doing it right when I feel a little nauseated and lightheaded by the end. Allegedly, I've heard that's the lactic acid and growth hormone at work! That kind of work to rest ratio falls into what's known as anaerobic lactate training if you want a fancy name to peg to it.

Just understand that you may not make strength gains as easily if you prioritize this. But it's totally okay to put one trait on the back burner to focus on another. Even specialists like powerlifters will often emphasize a trait like conditioning over other work far out from a competition.

Granted, when you add one thing you often have to take away from another. Granted, if you work at it you can gradually add your work capacity over time.