The Prowler is a phenomenal conditioning tool. Sadly though, it’s often misused. Making a speed/power athlete get into a lactic zone, while performing long prowler pushes with incomplete rest until they vomit is a perfect example as to how many people are misusing this powerful tool. While this type of training will raise most athletes’ level of conditioning, it’s going to have a significant detriment to their development of explosive strength and alactic power.
Here at Juggernaut Training Systems, we utilize a conditioning test with our American Football linemen and big skill players. This includes: tight ends, fullbacks and linebackers. The test serves as a measure of their specific conditioning. This test is the Prowler Sprint Test.
The general guidelines of this test are as follows:
- A timed, relatively heavy sprint is performed with the Prowler over a short distance.
- Sprints are continued until the athlete fails to stay within 10 percent of their original pace.
- Rest periods are relative to the approximate the length of the play clock used in their games.
At Juggernaut, this test is performed over 12 yards. The sections of our turf are four-yards wide, so this is a natural break for us. However, 10-15 yards is also acceptable. The weight used should vary depending on age and position.
High School Big Skill – 140 pounds
High School Lineman – 180 pounds
College Big Skill – 180 pounds
College Lineman – 230 pounds
Rest periods vary from 30 – 45 seconds, depending on the length of the play clock for the respective level of play.
The first sprint is timed and will provide the standard for the remainder of the test. Sprints are continued on the prescribed rest interval until the athlete fails to remain within 10 percent of their initial time. For example, if a college lineman performs his first 12 yard sprint with 230 pounds in 4 seconds, he’ll keep performing 12-yard sprints every 40 seconds until he fails to keep his time under 4.4 seconds – 110 percent of his initial time.
At Juggernaut, it’s our goal to have an athlete able to perform 15 prowler sprints under the time standard. In our eyes, this means that an athlete will have the ability to come off the line with at least 90 percent of their maximal power for 15 plays in a row, which is likely the longest drive they’ll ever endure.
The Prowler is a great tool that can dramatically improve your athlete’s conditioning levels – just make sure you’re thinking critically about the ways you’re implementing it into their training programs and the results will speak for themselves.
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