KB ladders

Use Ladders to Increase Strength

Ladders are a great way to increase your strength and endurance. You can also do quite a bit of volume in a short period of time and it’s a great way to break up your normal routine.

What are these ladders, you ask? Ladders are a rep scheme. You use the same weight for all reps, but the reps keep increasing. Here is a basic example with the clean and press:

Do 24kg for 1 rep
Then 24kg for 2 reps
Then 24kg for 3 reps
Then 24kg for 4 reps
Then 24kg for 5 reps

Once you completed the 5 reps you start back over with 1 rep. One set is the completion of one rotation of the reps 1,2,3,4, and 5. A normal training session may consist of 3 to 5 sets. One set is 15 reps and 5 sets is 75 reps. As you can see from the numbers, the reps start to add up quickly.

Repetition volume is one of the reasons why ladders are great for building strength and muscle. Ladders allow you to get more volume with a heavier weight. Also, starting back over at the beginning is a nice mental break. Using the example of the ladder above, reps 1, 2, and 3 may be somewhat easy, but reps 4 and 5 create a real challenge for you. Once you get done with those 5 reps, it will feel good knowing that you only have one rep coming up next.

While performing the ladder sets, never force bad reps. If you cannot perform the required reps with good form then you have two options. Option 1: use a lighter weight. Option 2: only climb the ladder to the reps that you can do.

For example, let’s say that you can do reps 1, 2, and 3 with good form, but when it comes to 4 reps you struggle on that 4th rep and can barely get it up or fail to lock it out. Instead of going on to 5 reps stop after the 3 reps and skip reps 4 and 5. Just follow the ladder rep of 1, 2, and 3. After 3 reps start back over at 1 rep. In time, you will be able to do reps 4 and 5.

When it comes to resting between reps and sets, only rest as long as needed. Using the example above, you may not need much rest between reps 1 and 2. However, reps 3 and 4 might wipe you out. Go ahead and take a little longer rest between those and even longer rest for 5 reps.

Don’t rush through the ladder with bad reps. This will just do more harm than good. Always focus on quality reps. After doing ladders for awhile, you will notice that you will not need as much rest as you did when you first started.

You know you are ready to progress and increase the weight when you are able to perform all of the reps in the prescribed ladder with good form. If you don’t have a heavier weight to increase to then just add on another set to the ladder scheme you are using. Ladders are not always just 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 reps. There are many different variations you can use. Here are some different ladder schemes that you could use in your training.

1.) 1,2,3,4,5,7,8,9,10
2.) 2,4,6
3.) 2,3,5
4.) 5,10,15
5.) 3,4,7

As you can see, there are many variations you can do with ladders. Ladders will make you stronger and increase your endurance. Incorporate these into your training to reap the rewards.

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