Climbing the Fitness Ladder

For most, finding the time to get a sufficiently challenging, monotony -fighting workout can be difficult.  A person can only do so many leg extensions, wait 30 seconds, and follow that up with another exciting set of leg extensions.
Sometimes, the key to keeping your workout intense and interesting at the same time isn’t constantly changing the exercises you’re doing but changing the way those exercises are organized.
Almost everyone who has spent time in a gym has heard of a super-set.  That is one exercise followed by another, different exercise with little or no rest in between.  That is one way to organize two different exercises in a challenging and time efficient manner.
On that same thought and in that same family comes the ladder set.
The ladder set involves two or more exercises, preferably working opposing muscle groups (or upper body, lower body) organized into a set where each exercise is assigned a number of repetitions which goes up BY ONE every time you move from one exercise to the next.
For example, a barbell squat and a dumbbell chest press in a ladder set organization would look like this:
barbell squat- 1
dumbbell chest press- 2
barbell squat- 3
dumbbell chest press- 4
…on up the “ladder” , no rest in between, as far as you can go.
The great thing about organizing your exercises this way is the volume of exercise you can achieve in a very short amount of time.
Consider this; the average gym workout consists of about 220 reps in about an hour.
One ladder set of 6 yields 21 reps.  8 gives you 36.  10 consists of 55.  20 will deliver an enormous 210 repetitions in about 5 minutes of work.
You can see that with just a few smartly designed ladder sets a very challenging workout can be put together that is VERY time efficient.
A good way to modify the ladder is by going in reverse BACK DOWN the ladder you just climbed for the second set, or by setting the ladder up where you go up one rep only when both (all) exercises have been executed (i.e.-1/1   2/2   3/3) and so on up the ladder.  You won’t make it as far up the ladder this way, but it’s a nice change of pace.
Throw your routine a change up. Enjoy climbing the ladder!
Matt Pirtle
Emerge Fitness Training