Basement Sessions – 6/12/18 – Chin Up Ladders

After a week or so of little to no back strength training, I was jonesing for some vertical pulls! To feed the beast, I decided to program a chin up ladder with active recovery today. This type of sequence gets you some nice training volume in a short period of time. The whole thing clocked in just under 20 minutes (including 2 minute warm up and 2 minute cool down).

tall ladder

go ahead – program a workout around THAT ladder…

There are many variations on ladder style workouts. The simple framework is you pick a number to either count down from or count up to (in today’s case, I counted down from 10). You’ll do 10 reps of the exercise, and then on the next set, you’ll do 1 less (in this case, 9 reps), and on the next set, you’ll do 1 less rep (8 reps), and so on and so forth until you count down to 1. If you are counting up, you’ll add a rep each time – 1st set = 1, 2nd set = 2, 3rd set = 3 and so on/so forth until you get to your target number.

Another variation is to do a ladder for time. Pick an arbitrary time (10 minutes for example), and see how many rungs of the ladder you can climb in the alloted time. In the time version, the amount of rest you take between sets will dictate the number of ladders completed. You know you are progressing when you can do more ladders (that means your muscle endurance and recovery is improving).

Yet another variation is to pair two exercises together and do alternating ladders. For example, if you pair together push ups and squats, and want to go from 10 to 1, it would look like this…

  • 10 push ups, 1 squat
  • 9 push ups, 2 squats
  • 8 push ups, 3 squats

…and so on/so forth until you get to a set of 1 push up and 10 squats

You can even set a maximum ladder number to hit, and then climb down. For example, if you wanted to do that sequence with pull ups, and you wanted to hit rung #5 on the ladder, it would look like this…

1st set – 1 pull up, 2nd set – 2 pull ups, 3rd set – 3 pull ups, 4th set – 4 pull ups, 5th set – 5 pull ups, 6th set – 4 pull ups, 7th set – 3 pull ups, 8th set – 2 pull ups, 9th set – 1 pull up

Today, I felt like cranking out 50+ pull ups, so I chose to count down from ladder rung #10, and do an active rest of 1 minute jump rope in between sets. In total, I’d end up doing 55 pull ups and jumping rope for 9 minutes.


Here is what today looked like:

Pre workout nutrition – butter coffee with collagen powder

6/12/18 – chin up ladder w/active recovery

  • Warmup
    • 2 minutes jumping jack variations
  • Ladder series
    • 10 chin ups
    • 1 minute jump rope
    • 9 chin ups
    • 1 minute jump rope
    • 8 chin ups
    • 1 minute jump rope
    • 7 chin ups
    • 1 minute jump rope
    • 6 chin ups
    • 1 minute jump rope
    • 5 chin ups
    • 1 minute jump rope
    • 4 chin ups
    • 1 minute jump rope
    • 3 chin ups
    • 1 minute jump rope
    • 2 chin ups
    • 1 minute jump rope
    • 1 chin up
  • Cooldown
    • Flappy arm swinging
    • Light beat your boots
    • Side to side lunges
    • Good mornings
    • Shoulder rolls

Calorie burn clocked in around 158 C.

Avg HR (per Garmin): 117 bpm

Max HR (per Garmin): 152 bpm

Post workout, I made a nice recovery shake…


Do you have any favorite home workouts that you’ve put together? Do you also train with ladder style workouts? If so, please share your thoughts in the comments below. If you liked this post, please click “like” and share!


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