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Prowlers and Sled Pulls: A New Warm Weather Workout

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Roman ditches the gym for an intense outdoor workout

Sometimes, you just don’t wanna be at the gym.

Not because you don’t feel up to a good session, or because you’re tired—but simply because there someplace you’d rather be. This Saturday, I had that feeling times ten.

Leaning against the windowsill, I looked out at the cloudless sky and sighed with more drama than was probably necessary.

“Too fine a day to be inside,” I said to no one in particular. Cocking my head back, I cast a sideward glance at the pull-up rack. Another dramatic sigh. Trapped inside for a workout, and on the bloody Vernal Equinox of all days.

A pull-up bar next to a window on a sunny day does not make for a great workout.

“Too fine a day to be inside.” Which is not what I should have been thinking of between sets of pull-ups. I should have, of course, been thinking of my next set of pull-ups. But I wasn’t.

I was thinking of the sun at my back the wind in my hair, the smell of spring and the sheer pleasure I take in seeing things grow.

Another set of pull-ups (half-hearted at best). Another big sigh.

Three minutes later my resolve crumbled, my spirit dropped. No point staying, I wasn’t accomplishing anything. I gathered my things and prepared to leave.

The cute girl at the front desk (I only hire cute girls, obviously) asked why I was leaving so soon. I simply replied, “Too fine a day to be inside!” and waved cheerfully as I exited the gym.

“After all,” I reasoned, “just because I can’t focus one type of training doesn’t mean I can’t do another. Perhaps I’ll go for a run. “

I hopped in my car, fully intended to drop it off at home and try to spend the day outside, and Fortune smiled broadly on me—my phone rang. It was my buddy Eric inviting me to go lift some heavy shit and push a sled around—outdoors.

Perfect.

So I rerouted my nav, and upon arriving, decided to document a bit on video.

We started with prowler pushes: 4 rounds of pushing the Prowler (loaded with 200 pounds) about 30 yards. Here’s a snippet of that.

After that, we moved to a smaller sled and rigged up some drag handles to it. Here I am doing a set of explosive pulls (and giving some lip). Notice awesome air-humping ability. About 5 rounds of 10 pulls.

Finally, we did some rope rowing. Fun, but murder on the hands. Please ignore Eric mocking me in the background. This sled is weighted with about 235 pounds. Four total pulls, with the total distance being about 50 feet.

Here’s the condensed version:

  • 4 rounds of 30-yard Prowler pushes (loaded with 200 pounds) 
  • 5 rounds of 10 explosive sled pulls with drag handles
  • 4 rounds of 50-foot sled pulls (loaded with 235 pounds)

All told, it was a glorious day—I got to hang out in the sun with some friends, push and pull some heavy stuff, and overall have a shit ton of fun.

Then I vomited.

Sometimes you just gotta blow off the gym so you can go outside and play.

Too fine a day to be inside.

What’s your outdoor training like?

About the Author

John Romaniello is a level 70 orc wizard who spends his days lifting heavy shit and his nights fighting crime. When not doing that, he serves as the Chief Bro King of the Roman Empire and Executive Editor here on RFS. You can read his articles here, and rants on Facebook.

  • @DiAnna – sounds awesome! You definitely don't need a man. Sounds like a great day!

  • DiAnna Hudson

    In the midst of my brief, but glorious run…I found a small desk that needed a home. I finished my run back to the house, grabbed the keys to Goldie (my 02 Accord) and loaded the desk into the trunk and back home into my living room sans man! YES! Little Red is doing ok. It was the same thing you experienced. Finally cool enough in FL and too nice to stay inside to do videos or weights, but I ended up doing a run and lifting heavy/awkward stuff, and getting a free desk all without help from a man!!! ;-)

  • Matt

    Hey John,

    I've recently started noticing some discomfort in my knees, a burning sensation and some cracking noises when I kneel down. I work for a chiropracter, when I asked her about it she said very firmly, “STOP THE SQUATS!” She said that I'm making my knees arthritic. I've always been under the impression that you CANNOT achieve the best leg results without doing squats. So what's your opinion? Should I stop the squats? Is there a good supplement for knees and other joints that you recommend to clients? If I can pop a supplement and keep doing my squats and not have the discomfort that would be great! Thanks for your help.

  • Shawnna

    i just usually climb a tree and chase some squirrels, but your way seems fun too ;)

  • I keep a monstrous sled my brother made me in the back of my truck (that's what happens when you don't give dimensions). A lot of times when I'm in a hurry I'll do that. I love training outside. Other times I'll go to the gravel pit and do hill sprints. I also play in a full contact spring football league so every Saturday I get a good workout that way. And a lot of times I'll head to the local track and do some I say 400m sprints but it actually equates to about a 100m sprint, 100m jog, 100m walk, and 100m crawl! But when my buddies ask it was a full 400m!

  • That was quite sick. CAn't wait to work out outside.

  • Jim Crowell

    Awesome post today, Roman!

  • Per

    Originally Posted By John RomanielloOriginally Posted By PerCurrently, jumping between dry places of ground betwen all the puddles. Once spring/summer acctually strikes here, it will be going to a local 400m track and bring some weightplates with me in a back pack, do alternating sprints and 1 arm db presses as well as pull-ups/inverted rows on the rails surrounding the track.

    Plates in a backpack = hardcore. Good shit, Per. I have a weight vest I use for the same.

    I'm flattered that you think I ment I was going to run with it, it was mainly to transport the dumbbells with me to the track (I have those that allow you to change weight plates on a handle). But, now that you opened up the idea, I guess I could be using the backpack with weights for pushups and pull-ups too. Thanks!

  • Ylwa

    @John Romaniello – It's a good start. And since you descend from a line of dragon slayers you have a clear advantage. It's to cold for the poor fellas up here in the north, but I'd like to think of polar bears as a furry version of a dragon

  • GOOD JOB, I get the same way, love mountain biking when its nice out esp around Brooklyn and in City lots too look at YESSSSSSSSS LOL . I have an alley next to my house need to purchase the prowler have room to do it and im on it!

  • Originally Posted By PerCurrently, jumping between dry places of ground betwen all the puddles. Once spring/summer acctually strikes here, it will be going to a local 400m track and bring some weightplates with me in a back pack, do alternating sprints and 1 arm db presses as well as pull-ups/inverted rows on the rails surrounding the track.

    Plates in a backpack = hardcore. Good shit, Per. I have a weight vest I use for the same.

  • Originally Posted By Mike AroneAh love training outside….big fan of running hills. Strap a belt with a chain and some weight on it.

    Throw in some sprints and you're money.

    I also will travel to my old college and workout on their field where I can do sled pushes and other sweet things you can't do ina gym.

    There are times when I go to the nearest jungle gym (trying not to scare all the 8 year olds and cougar mom) and bang out pull ups.

    Simple but just the change I need!

    Jungle gym pull-ups and muscle-ups are the best. Channeling the Bartendaz is great =)

    I prefer the prowler to more traditional pushing sleds (football ones)–much better solo workout.

  • Originally Posted By ramonGood idea, it would be ideal if you could offer an outdoor equipment free and/or bodyweight version of each gym routine, particularly since the nice weather is coming up

    I'm actually working on this =) In the meantime I'm learning a lot from some of the big bodyweight dudes in the industry and figuring out how to put my own ideas to tried and true stuff they do.

  • Originally Posted By Megsounds so much fun. i just need a buddy with an outdoor gym then.

    my outdoor workout consists of hill sprints and pushups and playing with some resistant bands :P

    If you have resistance bands you can pretty much train anywhere in the world — add in the hill sprints and you're good to go! Great idea.

  • Originally Posted By YlwaVery macho-man indeed! I miss spring! It slowly beings to find it's way to the land of the polar bears.

    The sled pulls are actually to practice Polar Bear harnessing.

  • Per

    Currently, jumping between dry places of ground betwen all the puddles. Once spring/summer acctually strikes here, it will be going to a local 400m track and bring some weightplates with me in a back pack, do alternating sprints and 1 arm db presses as well as pull-ups/inverted rows on the rails surrounding the track.

  • Ah love training outside….big fan of running hills. Strap a belt with a chain and some weight on it.

    Throw in some sprints and you're money.

    I also will travel to my old college and workout on their field where I can do sled pushes and other sweet things you can't do ina gym.

    There are times when I go to the nearest jungle gym (trying not to scare all the 8 year olds and cougar mom) and bang out pull ups.

    Simple but just the change I need!

  • Clement

    Hi John, I don't go to the gym often, especially if I'm working out out of school (the school gym is great, with free weights, a squat rack, a bench station, a pullup bar…), because I dont feel it's necessary to pay for fitness when you can do bodyweight exercises. Of course, I make a point of going to the school gym to do fpfl or some of Craig Ballantyne's tt workouts on regular school days, but it's the mid-term break now. It's an uncanny coincidence that you wrote on outdoor training during this time!

    Anyway, I've devised a week-long bodyweight-only plan. It has pike pushups, decline pushups and regular pushups (I'm working up to a one-armed pushup), pullups and inverted rows and standing broad jumps, pistols, tuck jumps, split jumps, squat jumps, lunges, Bulgarian split squats (with the 1.5 rep technique that I learned from you), glute-ham raises… Wow, ok, I'll stop. The plyonetric exercises are often done as tabatta intervals and I superset the other resistance workouts. I do them for 3-5 sets, one rep short of failure, and I keep rest periods minimal. I also do interval sprints 2-3 times a week, either 12x200m at 30sec with 90sec rest, 8x10m shuttle runs in 20sec for 6-8 repeats with 40sec active rest or just a 2.4km run in under 10min. If it rains, I do stair sprinting instead, tabatta style. I usually reach the top of my 12-story block after 4 intervals, though, so I just add in some quiet tuck jumps to finish the workout. I love swimming 100m intervals too if my body's too sore – hydrotherapy works a charm for curing doms! It's important to keep my sessions to 40-50min to optimise intensity and minimise cortisol release, of course.

    I feel that bodyweight exercises, given their higher volume, are a cardio workout in themselves. I generally keep from going upwards of 20reps for strength supersets, as they would become too cardio-esque, and progress to a more difficult variation of the exercise instead.

    Alright, it's been a really long post, and I apologise! I just love bodyweight exercises and I really believe a gym is unnecessary, unless you're deadlifting or doing hip extension movements – the glute-ham raise or 1-legged dl can only get you so far! But even for squats, you have pistols. You have one-armed pullups too, which I'm light years away from mastering! Bodyweight exercises can certainly pack a punch, as can lifting heavy in the gym, of course. However, most intense programmes are planned with gym access in mind – craig's bodyweight workouts aside – and I guess you really can't do much about it other than follow the programme. I'd love to see a bodyweight fpfl-esque programme in future. An idea to the future, perhaps?

    Once again, my apologies for the essay-comment. You've really got me excited with this post!

    P.S. I'm sure you've read convict conditioning. Remarkable book…

  • ramon

    Good idea, it would be ideal if you could offer an outdoor equipment free and/or bodyweight version of each gym routine, particularly since the nice weather is coming up

  • Meg

    sounds so much fun. i just need a buddy with an outdoor gym then.

    my outdoor workout consists of hill sprints and pushups and playing with some resistant bands :P

  • Ylwa

    Very macho-man indeed! I miss spring! It slowly beings to find it's way to the land of the polar bears.