Power with the Prowler

Power with the Prowler

The prowler can be used for effective power training.

However, there are prerequisites to its use. It requires someone to have enough absolute strength to produce power.

Secondly, it requires great technique in order to get the required affect of the session.

This particular education piece will not discuss technique NOR pre-qualifications BUT how to ensure it is powerful training.

prowler 2
Photo Courtesy of CrossFit HQ Media

The prowler in itself can be used for a variety of things at the right time for the right person.

It can be used in a sport specific situation to enhance motor patterns required for the sport.

It can be used to metabolically derive and challenge the metabolic process for purposes of conditioning.

It can be used to improve mechanical changes in ground contact and hip extension coordination.

It can be used in aerobic grinding pieces, short fast bursts with turnover, unsustainable efforts for threshold work, training or testing.

The last use is an area I’d like to discuss in how you know you are possibly getting a training affect for the time period of 30-40 seconds of work.

This area of work requires an idea of the client, the load, the intensity and where it sits in the training day to determine what the effect is we are getting at that time frame.

If someone does 30 seconds of “work” with the prowler, and it is done for a certain distance and effort, and they rest 30 sec and repeat that SAME work over and over a few more times all with 30 seconds of rest between efforts, this is called possibly sustainable work, or aerobic.

If someone does 30 sec of “work”, followed by 30 seconds of rest like above, over and over, and they DECREASE output per round, this is called unsustainable work, or work done for the purpose of capacity or testing.

If someone does a 30 sec piece of “work”, and requires 4-8 min to recover from that piece of work to do it over and over – this is ALSO unsustainable work, but with the rest period it allowed a full recovery to REPEAT the work the SAME each set. This is called sustainable power work.

This style of work and learn scenario is how you truly dictate what the EFFECT is you want with the prowler.

Anyone can make someone suffer with the prowler. There is NOTHING to learn in that for other users or coaches.

If you want to train the prowler for power and adaptation TO that power, then work/rest scenarios of a 30-40 sec time frame, with 4-8 min rest is the RIGHT kind of work for the right audience.

It does not make other work/rest scenarios wrong, it just makes you question why the other methods are done.

The positive aspects of the 30-40 sec time frame with the prowler are many;

  • High contraction rate in a short period of time
  • Intensity mixed into a work/rest scenario that can build on future anaerobic endurance sets
  • Specific bilateral hip musculature function that is NOT used in traditional weight lifting environments at those angles and speeds
  • Work output places the client close to an O2 debt scenario without pushing over to enhance mitochondrial function without fatigue
  • Creates progressive efforts for builds towards specific power testing
  • Allows a litmus on power output for how the CNS is trending in the training program
  • Eloquently balances power output and the start of breath control with power

To know if you are doing the correct power training for the prowler, use the guidelines above as a review.

prowler 3If the person can do 30-40 seconds at a high output and can rest 4 min and repeat that same effort FOR THE SAME WORK OUTPUT again, then add load or effort to the next subsequent set.

The idea around this area of time for work is that the client should comment that it, “will NOT be sustainable for a few more seconds”.

This is when you know you have the right person doing the intervals AND the right dose response for the work being done.

After all, it is NON-sustainable activity that is being done, which requires a longer rest, which requires the right power, which requires the right person!

With this work/rest scenario, you can watch closely for a SMALL drop off in total work performed on a set.

When this happens, you have 2 choices – kill the workout OR increase intensity and do one more.

For younger aged trainees, offer the latter, for more trained people, kill the workout and save it for another time.

This style of training can be properly placed alone as conditioning for some, or on back end of training for others.

If someone is in a setting where they have the force requirements AND are doing other weight lifting obligations in the week, this style of training works REALLY well alone in the week on a session by itself.

like this:


A. Snatch work

B. Power Jerk tech work

C. FS – singles

D. supplementary muscle endurance work

E. core


prowler power time 

If someone is in a setting where the power for must occur for them in the SAME training session, its best done like this:

A. jerk off blocks

B. BS singles

C. upper body work

D. prowler power time

In most cases, the prowler work requires so much timing and motor coordination that when its done under fatigued states of the core and hips, there is a chance of;

  • faulty patterns being built – then compensatory actions in HOW to do the prowler
  • power work for the CNS becomes learned in a tired state, not in a learning state
  • overloading of the hip muscles and overuse or strains or injuries occurring because of muscle contraction rates not being able to work

Just be cautious of training the hip muscles too much PRIOR to the training of the prowler for power. The hip work should ENHANCE the power work, and not diminishes what you are trying to accomplish in the session.

Start with small sets – like 2!

Why 2? Because at least you can create some ideas on what the pace needs to be and effort to create REPEATABLE almost unsustainable work.

Like this: 35 sec work hard effort, rest 5 min x 2 – then place the scores (distances achieved and load used) side by side and compare.

This allows TRAINING for the power system.

It’s possible you have under trained the power you are capable of but you are better off training UNDER the top end power at the start of low sets and reps than OVER DOING it from the get go and now learning how to fight your way back to pacing.

Next session: 3 sets @ 35 sec hard, rest 5 min….next session after that: 35 sec hard, rest 5 min x 4…..over and over.

Add sets over time with same time variable (volume works best first for power development, when volume is achieved, then add speed)

Keep at this time variable of 35 sec in the example above, and same rest with a little more sets for 4-8 weeks. It will take time (and each person is different) to adapt to and learn the required effort.

You want to make those working sets MORE efficient over time with higher volume, that is the key.

THEN you can re-test a 40 sec all out test and see if you have improved POWER!

To increase then again, move to 40 sec of work, 5:20 rest x 2…etc…and build again.

These are good practices in training the prowler for power, and ensures you and your clients are getting the right dose response for the work you are trying to do.

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