I have a prowler shipping to the house and will be here in a day or two.
Long story short: My cardio is shit and I can’t bear the boredom of long distance cardio, so I’ve always done sprints of one form or another. Lately I’ve taken to the stairmaster and just trying to get a good sweat going before I lift (5-6 mins/400 stairs) but nothing overly taxxing as I’ve been in a deficit or at maintenance for months now.
I can’t high rep squat or deadlift to save my life, and frankly all leg movements >12 reps has my legs dying regardless of weight… I have managed to do a few 20-rep squats at 275 but not with my 10RM (315) as prescribed for “true” breathing squats. I guess what I’m saying is that I recognize high-rep leg movements is absolutely my weak point.
I’ve always done bodybuilding/powerbuilding type training routines and I’m a relative noob to most cardio/energy systems and prowler/sled work.
I need to have better conditioning all around, but also would like to use this as an implement to help burn some extra calories. I wouldn’t be turned off at the idea that this could also build up my legs a bit more, though my legs are already big(ish). I’ve read into the 5/3/1 Prowler Challenge (5/3/1 Forever) and think this may be a good way to go assuming I can hang with the prescribed weights, but I have little other reading material revolving around this piece of equipment… So I was hoping one of you beautiful people might have some advice for me.
What do you all recommend to burn calories, improve cardio (V02 max?), and maybe add some muscle? (I can add in any muscle groups not targetted by sled work myself, let’s just call this “accessory work” like Jim Wendler would.)
I’d not worry about any of these and set a performance goal that you know will achieve the above. For example:
There is a 100ft course. I want to push the sled (loaded with what ever is challenging) up and down it 10 times in 15mins. Then start working on getting to this goal. On the way you will burn calories, improve VO2 max (and other CV fitness markers) and get bigger legs.
As an idea - I would suggest there is a “sliding scale” of time taken to complete a push (directly correlated to weight of the sled) and desired result. For instance sub 10 second efforts are more strength related and 120 second bouts are more fitness. But being at one end of the scale does not mean the other end is not getting any love. On this note - I’d aim for 30 seconds or there about. And over time work on bringing rest periods down.
30 on 90 off
30 on 75 off
30 on 60 off
The key thought will be in the effort not the plan.
So I added a sled pushes yesterday as my single leg work.
I upped to load from sled + 60kg, to sled + 100kg.
I did 3 X 15m return. Each 15m takes about 20 seconds to complete. So each Push, turn, push took about 45 seconds. Each trip there and back took a real toll on my conditioning. But as it was really hard on my quads I had to take a long time off between. This allowed me to recover. If I was working in my VO2 max I’d want less rest time. I’d want to start each trip slightly out of breath.
That said I did my VO2 max no harm. But this was more size / strength focused.
You likely need more lower-intensity work (eg. zone 2) to build your aerobic system.
Yes, it can be boring, but there are many ways to keep it interesting.
And no the adaptations, particularly in the heart, are not the same by doing sledpushes, HIIT, etc.
Here’s an example using an EMOM format.
Minute 1: 45s Jumping Rope (fast pace)
Minute 2: 45s Air Bike (not a sprint but a moderate pace)
Minute 3: 45s BW Box Step-ups
Minute 4: 45s of Air Bike (same pace as interval 2)
Minute 5: 45s Alternating KB Swings
Also - check my article on the “Cardiac Output Method” here:
@Jason_Brown I’m hugely interested in improving my heart and seeing another decade. I don’t really care whether or not I’m bored, but would like to kill two birds with one stone as much as possible (i.e. walk the dogs and get in some base work). Do you have any longer form articles (usually these “tips” come from a full article, but I apologize I can’t find one here) that go into your thoughts on how much of what zone, etc. you recommend for cardiac health?
Also, I don’t know why, but I was previously unfamiliar with your work. After reading this post, I scrolled through what I see on T-Nation and I like the cut of your jib! I highly recommend to anyone reading these forums; very practical, real-world type stuff.
I would propose that there be a “sliding scale” of the amount of time needed to push (which is directly connected to the weight of the sled) and the desired outcome. For example, efforts lasting less than 10 seconds are more focused on strength, whereas 120-second efforts are more focused on fitness. Being at one end of the scale, however, does not imply that the other end is unloved. On that topic, I’d shoot for 30 seconds or so. Additionally, work to reduce rest periods over time.
Start with what I suggested in an EMOM fashion (keeps it more enjoyable) done 2x per week for a minimum of 30 minutes at 60-70% of your MHR you’ll likely notice a difference pretty quickly. The aerobic system is highly adaptable so it responds fast!