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If you’re looking to add variety and intensity to your training plan, check out the sled push. Otherwise known as the prowler press, the sled push is an excellent exercise for overall conditioning, strength development, improving speed and acceleration, and torching calories.

Whether you throw it in as a finisher to a leg workout or make it part of a full-body circuit, adding the sled push to your routine will challenge your body to achieve better results.

The sled push is a full-body strength, power, and speed exercise that increases speed, boosts performance, and burns calories. Here are six benefits of adding this move to your fitness routine.

1. Full-body workout

When performed correctly, the sled push will work both upper and lower body muscles. More specifically, this exercise will engage your:

All these muscles will be engaged whether or not you add weight to the sled. When talking about the specificity of training, the sled push is a sports-specific leg press.

2. Calorie burn

If you’ve never pushed a weighted sled, get ready for a heart-pounding, calorie-crushing workout. Whether you incorporate the sled push into a full-body circuit or finish your training with a few sets of sled pushes, you’ll increase the calorie burn of your workout.

3. Overall conditioning

Alternating between heavy and light sled pushes lets you train for both speed and power, according to a 2019 review of literature.

Load the sled with moderate to heavy resistance and you can train both cardiovascular and muscular strength and endurance. To train for speed, lighten the load and push faster.

You can also ditch the weight and push the sled at a slower pace for longer. This can help boost your endurance and general fitness.

4. Improved speed

Pushing a weighted sled as part of a training program may improve speed.

One 2019 study involving 50 high school athletes looked at the effectiveness of unrestricted and resisted sled pushing across multiple loads for sprint training. The researchers determined that pushing a sled with any load is superior to unrestricted sled pushes.

More specifically, they found that heavy loads might produce the greatest gains in sprint performance over short distances.

To determine this, the researchers divided the students into four groups: one unresisted and three groups with varying resistance — light, moderate, and heavy resistance. All participants performed two sled-push sessions twice a week for 8 weeks.

Although all three of the resisted groups improved, gains were greatest within the heavy group.

5. Functional training

While you might not need to push a large sled during your routine activities, you may sometimes need to push a heavy object (for example, pushing a stroller up a hill or moving a piece of furniture).

According to the National Strength and Conditioning Association, to do this safely, you need static strength in your core muscles to stabilize and hold a body position while pushing with your upper arms. You also need to know the proper hip angles and how to brace your lower back to prevent injury.

6. Adaptability to all fitness levels

The sled push is adaptable to all fitness levels. If you’re new to exercise or returning from an injury, ditch the weight and push just the sled. As you get stronger, add weight in small increments.

Athletes and those at advanced fitness levels can challenge themselves by pushing the sled faster and with more resistance.

How you do a sled push depends on your ability, fitness level, and exercise goals. If you’re new to the sled push, it’s safer to start in a more upright high-grip position, with your hands higher on the sled. This places your body at about a 45-degree angle, which is easier and safer for your lower back.

If you’re more advanced, you can drop to a low-grip position, which places your body at a 90-degree angle. You should attempt this position only after you’ve mastered the basic version of the exercise.

How to use a sled push for speed

  1. Load the sled with 25 percent of your maximum load. If you don’t know this, choose a weight you can push for 10 minutes with short breaks. Beginners may choose to push the sled with no weight.
  2. Stand behind the sled and grab the poles with a high-grip hand position.
  3. Engage your core muscles and start pushing the sled forward as fast as you can, powering through your entire leg. Extend your hips and knees as you move the sled forward. Your foot stance should resemble your natural running position.
  4. Push for 10 to 20 yards.
  5. Rest for 30 to 60 seconds.
  6. Repeat 4 to 6 times, resting for 30 to 60 seconds between sets.

How to use a sled push for power

  1. Load the sled with a moderate to heavy load — 70 percent of your maximum load is a good place to start. If you don’t know this, go with a weight that is 70 percent of your body weight.
  2. Stand behind the sled and grab the poles with a medium- to high-grip hand position.
  3. Engage your core muscles and start pushing the sled forward as fast as you can, powering through your entire leg. Extend your hips and knees as you move the sled forward. Your foot stance should resemble your natural running position.
  4. Push for 10 to 25 yards.
  5. Rest for 30 to 60 seconds.
  6. Repeat 4 to 6 times, resting for 30 to 60 seconds between sets.

How to use a sled push for endurance

  1. Load the sled with a light load — 25 percent of your maximum load is a good place to start. If you don’t know this, choose a weight you can push for 10 minutes with short breaks. Beginners may choose to push the sled with no weight.
  2. Stand behind the sled and grab the poles with a high-grip hand position.
  3. Engage your core muscles and start pushing the sled, powering through your entire leg. Extend your hips and knees as you move the sled forward. Your foot stance should resemble your natural running position. You don’t need to push as fast as you can since this is not for speed or power.
  4. Do this for 1 minute.
  5. Rest for 30 to 60 seconds.
  6. Repeat a 1-minute push with a 30-second rest 5 to 10 times.

One of the top benefits of the sled push is that you can adapt the exercise to suit all fitness levels. By changing the grip and weight, you can turn a sport-specific power movement into a general fitness exercise.

Still, there are a few tips and tricks to keep this move safe and effective:

  • Use a natural running stance when pushing the sled.
  • Keep a neutral spine throughout the movement. Don’t round your back.
  • If your core is weak, start with a light weight (or no weight at all) and focus on engaging your abdominal muscles.
  • Focus on knee drive when pushing the sled.
  • The extended-arm position allows for maximum acceleration. The bent-arm position is better for pushing maximum weight.
  • Perform the push on a flat surface. Most gyms have a strip of turf to slide the sled across.
  • Always wear supportive shoes with a sufficient grip.
  • Take rest breaks between sets.
  • If you experience pain during the move, stop what you’re doing and consult a personal trainer or physical therapist. They can make sure you are performing the exercise with correct form.
  • Get clearance from your doctor or physical therapist if you have any issues with your lower back, ankles, or knees.

The sled push (aka prowler press) is a functional full-body exercise that targets your quads, glutes, hip flexors, calves, hamstrings, core, triceps, chest, and shoulders.

Depending on your goals, you can push the sled with minimal weight for a longer duration or stack on the resistance and push for a shorter distance.

As with any exercise, if you feel pain or discomfort while doing the sled push, stop what you’re doing and check your form. If the pain continues, talk with a doctor or physical therapist for further guidance.