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View Full Version : Ladders, no muss no fuss


Dave Van Skike
05-30-2007, 01:55 PM
I lift at lunch a couple days a week with a female olympic lifter (she weighs about 135-140) , she lifted in college and does a little for fun now at what was until recently Crossfit North.

About a month ago, she talked about wanting to get her back squat up. At that time she was back squatting 80k. We started doing ladders, she did them three days a week, 1,2,3 three progreessions or "rungs" total. added weight when she got all 3 rungs of the ladder (18 reps)

She started out with 70k. One month, three days a week and Oly lifting on Saturday. Now four weeks later she did two rungs (1,2,3) with 80 K (her old max from college I think) She says her second pull is getting way faster....

Robb Wolf
05-31-2007, 07:41 AM
Ladders are awesome. I use these in a density training format also...easy way to both keep track of how much I'm doing and regulate the intensity. It's a lot more fun than gutting out an 8x3 or 10x2 for me. Wave loading is nice in this way also.

Dave Van Skike
05-31-2007, 01:43 PM
Ladders are awesome. I use these in a density training format also...easy way to both keep track of how much I'm doing and regulate the intensity. It's a lot more fun than gutting out an 8x3 or 10x2 for me. Wave loading is nice in this way also.

Weird internet thought convergence... that is the third reference in a day that I've heard of folks using ladders in a density format like Bryce Lane's 50/20 or EDT.

Robb Wolf
05-31-2007, 03:38 PM
I think density training is the schiznitz. I can really hammer strength elements but it feels almost like a crossfit pukefest. I'm going to run lean all summer but come the fall (and the temperatures in Chico getting back below 120*F) I'm going to do density training and EAT. Time to kick this skinny kid up to ~180lbs.

Pierre Auge
05-31-2007, 04:13 PM
Robb,
let's see who can get there first... I'm already on my way at 155lbs! Me and my gut are gonna take you!

Robb Wolf
05-31-2007, 04:18 PM
Pierre-
I have no hope of winning against Gutus Kanuckus.

Dave Van Skike
05-31-2007, 04:35 PM
I think density training is the schiznitz. I can really hammer strength elements but it feels almost like a crossfit pukefest. I'm going to run lean all summer but come the fall (and the temperatures in Chico getting back below 120*F) I'm going to do density training and EAT. Time to kick this skinny kid up to ~180lbs.

Interesting....I don't see why it might not work in the opposite direction too, conditioning and metabolic turbulence (fat melty) in a caloric deficit.

Steve Shafley
05-31-2007, 07:16 PM
Ladders rule, and are, in the long run, a better tool than the static 5x5, 8x3, blahxblah set/rep prescriptions when volume is similar or the same.

It's the autoreg technique for those who don't want to figure their 6% drop offs.

JW Luckett
05-31-2007, 07:51 PM
Weight stays the same through all sets/reps, correct? If I am benching 90kg, I would do 1-2-3/1-2-3/1-2-3 with 90kg. If I complete all sets/reps successfully, I increase the weight. Is this right?

Thanks
-jw

Pierre Auge
05-31-2007, 07:56 PM
Steve,
here's my experiene:

YUP! YOU'RE RIGHT!

You want to know about caloric deficit I'm your man. Dude If you are in enough of a caloric deficit and working on low carbs you will lean out like a mofo on this type of work. I'm my best case study - one of the reasons my weight fluctuates so much is because I can never stick to any one thing but I have success trying many many things including what you just mentioned.

Pierre Auge
05-31-2007, 07:58 PM
JW I think I may do something similar with bench press and weighted L Pull-Ups and Ring Dips. Sounds like a good time.

Pierre Auge
05-31-2007, 08:09 PM
Pierre-
I have no hope of winning against Gutus Kanuckus.

Sure you do dude you've got the power of guiness on your side!

Alcohol doesn't work well for me - I've got the power of beef liver but I must admit it's not the same...

Steve Shafley
05-31-2007, 08:11 PM
You got it, JW...that's a classic ladder progression trigger.

Dave Van Skike
05-31-2007, 09:11 PM
You got it, JW...that's a classic ladder progression trigger.

only caveat with power ladders...you will need time. I do ladders with squats in the 80-85% range, I need a lot of time to get through it..One thing I have considered, you might think about it as well, alternate between several weeks of power ladders and couple weeks of density work or a general hypertrophy, limited rest progression~ anything that will boost your work capacity on the movement.... better long term progress, safer and avoid burnout.

Steve Shafley
06-01-2007, 05:28 AM
Ladders and Density training are both steeped in fatigue management. It's only natural to combine them once you realize this.

When doing both, I often use a reverse ladder...usually like a 3-2-1 or a 5-3-1 kind of thing. It's probably just a mental trick, but in the last few minutes of a 20 minutes session, it's easier to go 3-2-1 than 1-2-3, at least for me.

They do take time to do. Especially if you are allowing close to complete recovery to do so. I generally only use them with 1-2 exercises at a time for this reason.

Brian Amundsen
06-02-2007, 07:06 AM
Instead of the 50 20 thing I've had great success with 20-30 reps. Ladders of 1,2,3,1,2,3,1,2,3,1,2,3,1=25 reps and it regulates your the time factor. I did these in the push jerk and worked up to 20 reps with 335 lb. 2 years ago.

I'm doing the 50/20 deal right now but as I determine to peak I will come back down closer to 20 reps for a little more rest and more strength sets (less then 5 reps).

YMMV.

Dave Van Skike
06-02-2007, 09:25 AM
Instead of the 50 20 thing I've had great success with 20-30 reps. Ladders of 1,2,3,1,2,3,1,2,3,1,2,3,1=25 reps and it regulates your the time factor. I did these in the push jerk and worked up to 20 reps with 335 lb. 2 years ago.

I'm doing the 50/20 deal right now but as I determine to peak I will come back down closer to 20 reps for a little more rest and more strength sets (less then 5 reps).

YMMV.

Were you controlling the rest periods or allowing complete recovery? or am I misreading and you are just doing fewer reps at higher percentages in 20 min?

Brian Amundsen
06-03-2007, 06:59 PM
Were you controlling the rest periods or allowing complete recovery? or am I misreading and you are just doing fewer reps at higher percentages in 20 min?

I was just going as I felt rested enough to knock out the rep count I had preassigned. The ultimate goal was to get at least 20 reps with x amount of wt. and I therefore knew I had gotten stronger. I usually shot for 25+ then I would up it 10-15 lb. and go for another 25+ reps but realising that if I got 18 or more I was in the game and in a few more workouts I would get 25+.

-Ross Hunt
06-13-2007, 07:04 PM
This board rocks. I forgot all about ladders, and right now I'm casting about, trying to find some way to regulate my training without putting all my eggs in some complicated formulaic basket. Ladders it is.

Craig Cooper
06-14-2007, 05:41 PM
where is a good resource for ladders? or is there a simple explanation?

Dave Van Skike
06-14-2007, 07:54 PM
where is a good resource for ladders? or is there a simple explanation?


http://powerandbulk.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=5756

JW Luckett
06-15-2007, 03:43 AM
Also, Volume V, Issue 2 of Dan John's Get Up! has a good write-up by our own Mr. Shafley explaining ladders.

-jw

William Hunter
06-15-2007, 05:00 AM
I believe the P&B link was Mr. Shafley as well. The "sled draggin' might be in the picture if you manage to grow a d*#k" quote sealed it for me.

Quick question, as I've just been playing around with these as well. Shaf detailed a 4x per week routine where each exercise is worked once, where others are concentrating on 1-2 exercises, performed 2-3 x per week. Has anyone tried both of these methods? I've usually done better with high frequency training (3x per week per movement). I'm wondering how many ladders I can squeeze into a session. Is 3 too many? I'm tinkering with Press, L-PU and Squats M-W-F, kind of a bastardized version of Rip's SS.

Steve Shafley
06-15-2007, 05:26 AM
I've had the best results with 1 or 2 movements worked frequently (3-4x weekly) in this fashion, never failing or missing a rep.

I can not emphasize enough that if you feel you are going to miss the next rep, rack it and start from the bottom again.

If you are only doing it 1x weekly with an exercise, I think you can probably manage to go harder (i.e. closer to muscular failure) and with more volume.

Dave Van Skike
06-15-2007, 11:28 AM
I believe the P&B link was Mr. Shafley as well. The "sled draggin' might be in the picture if you manage to grow a d*#k" quote sealed it for me.

Quick question, as I've just been playing around with these as well. Shaf detailed a 4x per week routine where each exercise is worked once, where others are concentrating on 1-2 exercises, performed 2-3 x per week. Has anyone tried both of these methods? I've usually done better with high frequency training (3x per week per movement). I'm wondering how many ladders I can squeeze into a session. Is 3 too many? I'm tinkering with Press, L-PU and Squats M-W-F, kind of a bastardized version of Rip's SS.

I have used ladders in place of 5's. as littleas one day adn as many as three times a week. If I am looking to get 3 sets of 5 across (15 reps total) or even 5 sets across (25 reps) I replace the 5's with ladders of 1,2,3 sometimes 4~shooting for the approximaltey same number of reps so 1,2,3 reps, 3 times through, 18 reps. I have found this enables me to get similar quality work as 3 sets of 5 across but at slightly higher percentages, I can usually stay at about 85% of 1RM with ladderrs as opposed to sets of 5 across at 80% of 1RM.

At the start of this thread.. the woman I'm talking about was able to use ladders of 1,2,3 x 3 at percentages that were even higher, only adding weight when she made all 18 reps.

Kris Reeves
12-10-2008, 01:50 PM
Resurrecting this thread with some questions....

I'd like to give these a go with my bench press, but I'm curious as the best way to implement it. I want to stick with the 3 rungs of 1,2,3 reps (and corresponding 1,2,3 minutes of rest for each step)....but how often should I do this?

twice a week? 3 times a week? everyday? multiple times in a day? I've been searching the web and find different answers all over the place. So, I'm reaching out to those here who have some experience with them and ask....how often would you do this?

Part of me says, as long as you leave a rep in the tank...the process is self regulating...so can one overdo it?

Dave Van Skike
12-11-2008, 04:10 AM
Resurrecting this thread with some questions....

I'd like to give these a go with my bench press, but I'm curious as the best way to implement it. I want to stick with the 3 rungs of 1,2,3 reps (and corresponding 1,2,3 minutes of rest for each step)....but how often should I do this?

twice a week? 3 times a week? everyday? multiple times in a day? I've been searching the web and find different answers all over the place. So, I'm reaching out to those here who have some experience with them and ask....how often would you do this?

Part of me says, as long as you leave a rep in the tank...the process is self regulating...so can one overdo it?

the guy who wrote the original article i think advocates three or more times per week. twice a week worked well for me.

Gavin Harrison
12-11-2008, 08:02 PM
Funny, just saw a new(ish?) article on t-nation by Dan Jon that involved ladders here:
http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance/more_new_techniques_youve_never_tried

Neat.

Grissim Connery
12-12-2008, 01:14 AM
what should the time intervals look like between a step in the ladder verses a rung? is the rest between steps just like a breath and the time between a rung a few minutes?

Kris Reeves
12-12-2008, 07:04 AM
As I understand it, that is a way you can do it. You can also do something like...

1 rep/1 min rest
2 reps/2 min rest
3 reps/3 min rest

or

1 rep/1 big breath
2 reps/2 big breaths
3 reps/3 big breaths

or

1 rep/as long as you need to feel ready to go again
2 reps/as long as you need to feel ready to go again
3 reps/as long as you need to feel ready to go again

Dave Van Skike
12-12-2008, 08:30 AM
what should the time intervals look like between a step in the ladder verses a rung? is the rest between steps just like a breath and the time between a rung a few minutes?

the original article touches on this.

for power ladders...working towards max strenght, basically you take as much time as you need between reps. there is no particular formula though..I do about a minute to 2 min.....the way you are describing drives a different adaptation so I don't know.