The sled push (aka prowler push) is an excellent exercise that combines the perks of strength training with cardio. But before you (sled) push it to the limit, it’s important to go over the deets on how to do it and why it’s so amazing.

The sled push exercise can look a bit intimidating, but it’s actually super straightforward (and straight forward!).

Here’s how to do it step-by-step:

  1. Load a prowler sled with weights.
  2. Position yourself behind the sled.
  3. Grip each bar with one hand.
  4. Bend at your waist.
  5. Drive your legs into the floor.
  6. Push the sled forward.

Here are our top tips to keep your sled pushes safe and effective:

  • Engage your core the entire time.
  • Keep your knees in line with your feet.
  • Firmly grasp the bars with both hands.
  • Make sure your pelvis and torso are facing forward.
  • Keep your spine in a neutral position.
  • Always perform the push on an even surface.
  • Try not to stop and start — you’ll lose momentum.
  • Wear shoes that have a good grip so you don’t slip.
  • Move your feet as if you’re running.
  • Adjust your arms as needed: Straight arms are ideal for speed, while bent are best for heavier weights.

You can customize each sweat sesh using different distances and weights. If you’re a beginner, you should start with your hands higher on the sled. Why? It’ll put your body at a 45-degree angle, so you’ll have less pressure on your lower back.

If you’re a more seasoned sled pusher, you can adjust your stance to a 90-degree angle. In this position, your neck and spine will be aligned and parallel to the floor. You can also add more weights or go greater distances for a more intense challenge.

3 types of sled push workouts that achieve different results

Sled pushes are versatile AF. Here’s how to tweak the exercise to get the results you’re looking for.

How to use a sled push for power

  1. Put a heavy load (about 70 percent of your maximum load) onto the sled.
  2. Use a medium- or high-grip hand position to hold the poles.
  3. Push for up to 25 yards.
  4. Rest for up to 1 minute.
  5. Repeat 5–7 times.

Pro tip: If you’re not sure what your max load should be, start off with 70 percent of your body weight and adjust accordingly.

How to use a sled push for endurance

  1. Put a light to medium load (about 25 percent of your max load) onto the sled.
  2. Use a high-grip hand position to hold the poles.
  3. Push the sled forward at a moderate pace for 1 minute.
  4. Rest for up to 1 minute.
  5. Repeat 5–10 times.

Pro tip: There’s no shame in using a lighter weight load! Always make sure you stay within your limits. You can work your way up to heavy weight status over time.

How to use a sled push for speed

  1. Put a light load (about 10 percent of your max load) onto the sled.
  2. Use a high-grip hand position to hold the poles.
  3. Push for up to 20 yards.
  4. Rest for up to 1 minute.
  5. Repeat 5–7 times.

Pro tip: If you’re a sled push newbie, you may want to opt not to add weights.

Now that you know the basics, here’s how to incorporate sled pushes into your regular workout routine:

  • Warm up. You can do a sled push at the beginning or end of your workout, but either way, don’t forget your warmup! Some research suggests that warming up your muscles before exercise may reduce your risk of injury.
  • Start slow. Beginners should start with a light sled push workout 2–3 times a week. More experienced folks can do them 4 or more times a week. You can also talk with a certified fitness trainer for more personalized advice.
  • Keep it spicy. Switch up your weight load and distance on the reg. This will help you maximize the benefits this exercise has to offer.
  • Switch it up. You can do sled pushes instead of other strength training exercises if you’re ready for a little variety. But they also make a fun addition to your regular gym to-do list.
  • Use weights wisely. Generally, studies suggest that doing lots of reps (8–12) with moderate weight is better for increasing muscle mass, while doing fewer reps (2–4) with heavy weights is superior for increasing strength.

PSA: Don’t (sled) push past your limits. Make sure you give your body time to bounce back after each workout. And if it hurts, STOP!

The sled push is a great full-body compound exercise. You’ll work out multiple muscle groups at the same time, which can help increase muscle mass and strength. It can also help you hit your daily cardio quota and is a great calorie burner.

Just keep in mind that not all gyms carry sled push equipment. Call your local fitness centers to see who has the goods (and the best membership deal).