Workout: Ladder Challenge


I love workout ladders. There’s a distinct start point and end point. As you see yourself getting closer to the end, fatigue starts to kick in while both your physical and mental push factor is really being tested…

Here is a 5 part ladder challenge that you can include in your fitness routine.

Part One: Down the squat ladder

I typically like to do this sequence with T-Jump Squats, but you can do any variation you like.

  • Begin with doing 10 squats or jump squats (with or without weights)
  • After 10 full squats, hold the bottom position of a squat for a 10 count
  • Immediately go into 9 full squats followed by a hold at the bottom for a full 10 count
  • Continue all the way down the ladder 8 squats, 6… all the way down to 1 squat being sure to hold for a full 10 count between each set of squats.

Notes: Be sure to pause for a full 10 count between each phase and don’t be afraid to challenge yourself. If by the end of this ladder, your legs are not on fire, then be sure to modify the type of squat you are performing to increase the intensity. This is after all – a challenge.

Part Two: Down the push-up ladder

With this sequence, you can use traditional push-ups, modified push-ups from the knees or any form of advanced push-up.

  • Begin with 10 straight push-ups followed by 20 seconds of active recovery
  • Immediately go into 9 push-ups followed by active recovery
  • Continue all the way down the ladder with 20 seconds of active recovery between… 8, 7, 6 etc until ending with 1 final push-up

Notes: Your active recovery time can vary to increase or decrease the intensity of this workout. The less time you have between push-ups, the more difficult the routine becomes. Your active recovery workout should be slow to moderate work that gives the upper body a break – something like jogging in place or jumping jacks typically work well with this sequence. You can of course use your recovery time a a rest period if needed.

Part Three: Double Workout Reverse Ladder

Reverse ladders are my favorite type of ladder sequence. Here, we will be combining two exercises. These exercises will be paired with a downward ladder and an upward ladder. Here’s what it looks like…
For this challenge, we will combine a dumbbell curl / press combo with flutter squats.
sequence one: perform 10 dumbbell curl / press combos followed by 1 flutter squats.
sequence two: perform dumbbell curl / press combos followed by 2 flutter squats.
sequence three: perform dumbbell curl / press combos followed by 3 flutter squats.
…continue in this sequence (reducing exercise one while increasing exercise two) until you complete the ladder.
final sequence 10: perform dumbbell curl / press combos followed by 10 flutter squats.

Part Four: Ladder Against The Clock

We’re getting close, we have this sequence and one more… This ladder has two exercises, but instead of modifying the repetitions of each exercise, we’ll by working against the clock.

  • Perform 1 minute of suicide planks (going back and forth from a traditional plank to a push up position)
  • Now, immediately perform 1 minute of high intensity cardio (jump-rope or running in place typically work well with this sequence)
  • Repeat the above 2 sequences for 45 seconds, then 30 seconds and finally 15 seconds each.

Note: with this routine, you will perform a total of 8 rounds. Two one minute rounds (suicide planks and cardio) followed by two 45 second rounds, two 30 second rounds and ending with two 15 second rounds.

Part Five: Up the squat ladder

For this routine, you will want to refer back to the “Part One” sequence of the squat ladder. We are now repeating that sequence, only this time, going up the ladder.
So, we are starting with 1 squat followed by a hold (in a squat position) for a 10 count. Then 2 squats and hold… all the way up the ladder ending with 10 squats followed by one final hold for a SLOW 10 count.
Note: all the exercises in the above routines can be found in our exercise video section. Also, now that you understand ladders, you can create your own challenges by modifying the exercises.