Climbing the Ladder Part 3: Fun Workout Tools
I’m going to continue with Climbing Up the Ladder Part 3: Tools to make workouts painful Keep Workouts Interesting. In part 1 we talked about rep (repetition) ladders and part 2 we talked about weight and time ladders. This week we are going to talk about reverse ladders and pyramids. A reverse ladder is simply reversing the order of one of the variables either rep, time or weight. In other words, you start from the top and go down or descend.
If you are anything like me you need to see an example of how the numbers work. Here ya go!
Reverse Rep Ladder
In a reverse rep ladder you start with the highest number of reps and work down the ladder. I just picked exercises at random for the examples’ sake.
Push Up Reverse (Descending) Rep Ladder
5 Push Ups
4 Push Ups
3 Push Ups
2 Push Ups
1 Push Ups
(Yes, I can even count backwards.)
Reverse Weight Ladders
In a reverse weight ladder you start with the highest amount of weight and work down. Here are the ladders from last week simply reversed.
Squat Weight Ladder
5 x 45lbs
5 x 35 lbs
5 x 25 lbs
Kettlbell Swing Weight Ladder
10 x 16kg (35lbs)
10 x 12kg (26lbs)
10 x 8kg (18lbs)
(See how the weight decreases. Rocket science, I know.)
Reverse Time Ladder
And in a reverse time ladder you would start with the highest time and work down. Let’s reverse the jump squat time ladder from last week as an example
Jump Squat Reverse Time Ladder
Jump Squats 30 secs
Jump Squats 20 secs
Jump Squats 10 secs
A combination is simply going up the ladder in one exercise and down the ladder in another. I love combination ladders because they make the time really fly and kick my booty. Here is an example of a combination rep ladder. Exercise A could be squats and exercise B could be military presses. Personally I tend to like to use lower and upper body exercises but I’ve also done them using opposing muscle groups.
5 Reps of Exercise A
1 Rep of Exercise B
4 Reps of Exercise A
2 Rep of Exercise B
3 Reps of Exercise A
3 Rep of Exercise B
2 Reps of Exercise A
4 Rep of Exercise B
1 Reps of Exercise A
5 Rep of Exercise B
(I should have been a mathematician with these skills.)
Again, these 5 rep ladders are just an example. The length of the ladder can vary as can the “steps between the rungs”. For instance you may want to “climb each rung” by 5s or by 10s. Also note that you lengthen or shorten the rest periods as needed.
In my kettlebell class we did this combination ladder the other day.
It was wonderfully brutal!
Last of all for today (if you are still with me) are pyramids. A traditional ladder goes up say 1-2-3-4-5 and then starts over from the bottom. A pyramid on the other hand goes up and then pyramids back down, 1-2-3-4-5-5-4-3-2-1. Like ladders you can do weight, rep, or time pyramids. Here is an example where the number of reps is the changing variable.
Deadlift Rep Pyramid
A quick word about rest. I gauge my rest time by how I feel. Typically, I follow an equal work to rest ratio. Beginners may feel more comfortable doubling or even tripling the rest time. I’ll also increase my rest time if I’ve been sick or feeling a dip in strength that day.
Okay, I hope I didn’t make this too confusing. Each type of ladder has its purpose regarding endurance, strength, and/0r speed but as I said before I like to incorporate them into my workouts for torture variety.
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