Texas Method Your Conditioning and Prowler Work

Posted by on Jan 17, 2013 in Articles | 211 comments

We put together an earlier article about incorporating conditioning into your strength program.  We kept it pretty simple, gave a couple guidelines to follow and finished up with a few conditioning workouts that fit well with most strength programs.  This time we wanted to get a little more specific and show how we use the prowler in our programming.  Most of our intermediates will start off on some version of the Texas Method after a basic Starting Strength set-up has run it’s course and novice linear progression has been exhausted.  We do not add any conditioning while running a basic Starting Strength program.  All the athlete’s time and effort is dedicated to strength acquisition and recovery.  Once we begin TM programming basic conditioning can be added.


Over the last couple of years we have began using the prowler for our primary source of conditioning for the intermediate strength athlete.  The more we use it the more we understand just how effective the Prowler is at increasing work capacity, eliciting cardio vascular adaptation, aiding in recovery, and maintaining/increasing strength.  Pushing a sled seems to condition the athlete as well as any method we have used with the added benefit of virtually no risk of injury.  It requires nearly no coaching, form does not break down as the athlete gets tired, and our coaching time can be spent with other athletes under a bar while several athletes condition simultaneously.


When an athlete adjusts to the TM set-up we will begin adding Prowler work when conditioning is needed.  For those unfamiliar with the TM set up it’s a basic three day a week program of Volume/light/intensity work.  A basic TM set up looks like this:



5×5 work on main lifts (volume)


80% work on main lifts (Light)


5RM on main lifts (Intensity)


Sets and reps can change and we make all sorts of adjustments dependent on the lifter but the basic set-up remains the same.  Simple and effective.  It works so well we have set up our Prowler work based off the same structure, Volume/Light/Intensity.  We usually run prowler work on lifting days or on the off days based on the lifters schedule.  For the athlete able to train more than 3 times a week the best option seems to be to train the prowler on Tuesday (Volume), Wednesday (Recovery), and Friday or Saturday (Intensity).  Both seem to work well but you will need to see which works best for you.  Below will give you an idea of what a volume/light (recovery)/intensity set up would look like with the prowler.  This is only and example and you can also adjust to fit your needs.



5X5 on main lifts


Prowler work:

10 x 25 meter trips (with turn around at half way point) with moderate to heavy load.  Rest 2 minutes between efforts.


80% light work on main lifts

Prowler work:

3 minute on 3 minute off for 3 rounds with light load.  Prowler weight should not be heavy and athlete should be able to easily walk with the prowler for all the 3 minutes without stopping.  Light work in this time domain does an amazing job of recovering the athlete from Monday’s squat volume.


5RM on main lifts

Prowler work:

5-10 x pushes for max distance with rest as needed.  Load the prowler as heavy as possibly and push until the prowler stops.  Rest as needed and repeat.  The prowler should be loaded heavy enough that the distance covered is around 10 meters on the first effort before the athlete cannot push it.  These are all out short efforts much like the 5rm strength work.  Push as hard as you can until the sled stops.  recover fully and repeat.

The prowler intensity is surface dependent.  You will need to adjust loads based on the surface you are pushing on.  Higher friction surfaces will make the prowler harder to push and loads may be much lighter than on surfaces with less friction such as grass.  When you start using the prowler you will want to record the work in your training book.  Keep track of loads, distances and time so you can make linear progress over a training cycle.


If you have access to a prowler run this over the next 6 weeks or so and let us know how it works for you.



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