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Killer Bodyweight Training Workout – Effective Group Training with Ladders


Killer Bodyweight Training Workout

Effective Group Training with Ladders

Killed a bodyweight workout last night and it was pretty awesome so I wanted to break it down for you.  We used a sequencing called “ladders’ for each exercise.  Ladders are super effective for group training as you will learn.  You can run several groups through various ladders at the same time and the workouts are short, high intensity and awesome.  Ladders can be done with any piece of equipment and any exercise.  The trick is picking the top end of the ladder volume according to the number in the group.  I will explain this below.

What are Ladders

Ladders are continuous sets of an exercise done for a particular volume or time.  You pick an exercise and set it up like this.

Each person in the group does 1 rep of the exercise.  Once everyone in the group goes through and it gets back to the first person, 2 reps are done.  This progresses up until the top end of the ladder.  If we are doing a 5 rep ladder, then it would look like this:


Once you hit the 5 reps, you can do two things:

1.  Go back down, 4…3…2…1, or

2.  Start over at 1 rep.

I like option 2 because it manages the fatigue.  Managing fatigue is one of the major benefits of ladders.

Why Are Ladders Effective

With group ladders, there are a ton of benefits:

– each rep is PERFECT because fatigue is managed by the flow of the ladder.  As the reps increase, so does the rest period, i.e. each person in the group is hitting more reps as the ladder increases so that increases the time before your next set.

– short, high efficient workouts

– any exercise, any piece of equipment can be used

– balance in the movements, typically ladders are setup for one exercise, but you can “sneak” in some other simple, recovery movements immediately after each of your attempts.  You’ll see in the video I placed band pull-aparts after each push-up set.

Sample Ladders

In the video below, we setup a 10 minute time limit for the push-up ladder.  We would do as many ladders in this time period as possible.

Here is the way to determine the top end of the ladder volume.

How intense (load) is the exercise? push-ups – moderate intensity

Is there an external load with an additional piece of equipment? no (if there was, the top end volume of the ladder could be decreased)

How many people are in the group? We had 8, so we split in 2 groups of 4 because of the answers to the questions above.  I determined that a 4 person group for a moderate exercise would be perfect for our recovery.

Push-up Ladder

After all of the questions were answered, we made the following ladder.

Exercise: push-up ladder with 5 band pull-aparts after each run, start over at 1 once 10 reps was reached

Total Volume: Work up to 10 reps

Group: 4 people

Duration: 10 minutes

So the ladder would look like this and we would try to go through the ladder as many times as possible.

1 + 5 band pull-aparts

12 + 5 band pull-aparts

123 + 5 band pull-aparts

1234 + 5 band pull-aparts

12345 + 5 band pull-aparts

123456 + 5 band pull-aparts

1234567 + 5 band pull-aparts

12345678 + 5 band pull-aparts

123456789 + 5 band pull-aparts

12345678910 + 5 band pull-aparts


Other Ladders We Recently Did

We also setup the following ladders recently that were awesome!

Exercise: Pull-ups

Total Volume: Work up to 5 reps, start over at 1

Group: 4 people

Duration: 10 minutes

Total Volume Reached: 45 + perfect pull-ups


Exercise: Dips

Total Volume: Work up to 8 reps, start over at 1

Group: 5 people

Duration: 10 minutes

Total Volume Reached: 75 + perfect dips (added weight half-way through with weight vest)

Highly Effective Push-up Ladder

Fat Gripz

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By on April 19th, 2011


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