Ladder Workouts

Introduction

Ladder workouts are a way to structure volume in your workouts to balance the load you're moving with a degree of strength endurance.

We're all familiar with the standard way of structuring workouts that look a bit like this...

3 sets of 10 reps with 1 minute rest (3 x 10)

OR

5 sets of 5 reps with 3 minutes rest (5 x 5)

Ladder workouts allow you to build volume over a number of sessions quite quickly with the same weight. Instead of simply adding weight each workout, this approach manipulates volume and density (rest periods), a good way to train if your interest is in work capacity instead of simply how much you can lift or how much muscle you can build.

You simply perform a repetition of an exercise, rest, perform 2 reps, rest, etc.

In the beginning, you may only get to 2 or 3 reps for 3 ladders but over time you'll build to 5 reps for 5 ladders (or more).

If you do the maths, you'll see how quickly this adds up in volume increases.

  • 3 Ladders of 1, 2, 3 = 18 reps
  • 5 Ladders of 1, 2, 3 = 30 reps
  • 4 Ladders of 1, 2, 3, 4 = 40 reps
  • 5 Ladders of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 = 75 reps

Also, by using rest periods where you go when you're ready to go, you learn what "enough" recovery feels like and as your fitness increases, those rest periods will naturally decrease. This increases the density of your work.

Ladder workouts work much better for lifts where you want to increase volume and work capacity. For heavier, low rep stuff, there are better rep schemes.

It's also worth noting that if you're pressed for time, 5 ladders to 5 reps takes a while. But then, if you're pressed for time, work capacity probably isn't your main goal.

How to do it...

Do a thorough dynamic mobility warm up for at least 10 minutes.

Then (for example)...

  • Perform 1 rep of your exercise
  • Rest until you're ready to go again
  • Perform 2 reps of your exercise
  • Rest until you're ready to go again
  • Perform 3 reps of your exercise
  • Repeat the ladder, starting at 1 rep again

Cool down by doing mobility exercises that address your weaknesses.

Related Posts

Italian-Style Meatloaf

Italian-Style Meatloaf

Katsu Chicken Recipe

Katsu Chicken Recipe

Your Warm-Up Matters, This is Why

Your Warm-Up Matters, This is Why

Freestyle Swimmer: Why You Should Swim All Four Strokes

Freestyle Swimmer: Why You Should Swim All Four Strokes

Grip Training Drills

Grip Training Drills

Ladder Workouts

Ladder Workouts

Will Newton


In over twenty years of coaching, I have coached everyone from absolute beginners to world champions. My interest in getting the best results for people who train for health and fitness or the love of sport, rather than as professionals, drives me to find the most effective ways to get results. My mission is simple: Be in better shape at 70 than most people are at 20, and to help you do the same.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}
>