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Ken Urakawa 11-06-2006 12:33 PM

Breathing Ladders
Had a few questions about Mark Twight's breathing ladders, wanted to get some input.

Anyone have any particular favorite exercises? I've seen everything from Thrusters and deadlifts to kb swings/snatches. Anyone tried it with the Olympic lifts?

Seems like 1-10 in waves or 1-10-1 pyramid style are popular rep schemes. Anyone experimented with anything else? I would imagine that it would depend on the lift to some degree, but one would assume that higher rep ladders would allow for longer sessions than say 1-5-1 ladders.

As a complete aside, this stuff reminds me of some of the things I've heard/read about Emil Zatopek (Father of Interval Training; 5,000 & 10,000 world/Olympic records, decided to run his first ever marathon at the last minute in the 1952 games--and won). Apparently he used to run multiple 200 m sprints while holding his breath, so his body could become more effecient in oxygen debt.

Anyway, just soliciting some opinions, wanted to hear some other folk's experiences. Thanks-

"When a person trains once, nothing happens. When a person forces himself to do a thing a hundred or a thousand times, then he certainly has developed in more ways than physical. Is it raining? That doesn't matter. Am I tired? That doesn't matter, ethier. Then will power wil be no problem." -Emil Zatopak

Robb Wolf 11-06-2006 01:52 PM

I've not tinkered with them but they look rough. I think there are some good archives that show some workout formats. If you give them a go please do share your experience.

Ken Urakawa 11-06-2006 03:44 PM

Will do. We've got a date with Mutant Murph Saturday, so it might be next week before I get to it.

James Evans 11-08-2006 02:37 AM

Breathing Ladders
Ken, I think this may be of some assistance if you have not already spotted it:


It's been posted on the website recently.

I've only done them with swings and to build volume rather than induce 'panic breathing' etc.

Allen Yeh 11-08-2006 04:44 AM

I've only ever done them with KB swings and snatches. I felt that the snatches were a lot harder than the swings even though for swings I usually do waves of 1-10 and with snatches I usually do waves of 1 snatch right, 1 snatch left, 1 breathe....up to 5. Never really thought to try it with anything else like the Olympic lifts.

Thanks for the link James.

Ken Urakawa 11-09-2006 01:58 PM

So I figured I'd stick with something pretty straight forward for the first attempt today, did 2 hand kb swings with the 24 kg bell. Experimented a little bit with the reps:
1-10, 1-10, 1-10-1-10, 1-4 Finished up around 29:00 (the phone rang, but I was pretty close to packing it in anyway).

I found the 1-10-1 ladders much more challenging than the 1-10, 1-10 version, personally. With the higher reps, I got more breathing time during the activity, and then dropping back down to the low reps gave me some recovery from the exercise. With the up-and-down ladder, that middle section from about 6-5 had a fairly high suck factor. Although, it could have just been that my FF was a little low today--have to ask Robb about testing for that.

Regardless, it was certainly interesting, and lived up to expectations. I might try it again tonight with a 1-5-1 scheme for kicks. With a light weight.

I think next time I make a serious attempt, I may pick a larger-scale movement (Hang Power Cleans, anyone?), and run it up-and-down style.

And thanks for the link, James--good info.

Scotty Hagnas 11-09-2006 03:12 PM

I'm headed home to take a crack at this. I think I'll try burpees.....

Scotty Hagnas
CrossFit Portland

Pierre Auge 11-09-2006 06:36 PM

I've done this and continue to do so, 1-5 Pull-Up + 1-5 KBS, I do seven rounds of this totaling 105 reps of each. I alternate from one to the other, if you do it slow and steady its a good time. If you do it for time it produces a nice metabolic wallop.

Figured I'd share I didn't read the Mark Twight thing because I'm busy but I will. I figured I'd jump in anyways just to be a pain.

Robb Wolf 11-10-2006 12:01 PM

that sounds REALLY nasty.

Give me a call when you get a chance.

Jeremy Jones 11-10-2006 03:58 PM

I put my fighters through some medicine ball clean and presses (20#s).

I made them do 1 rep, breathe once, 2 reps, breathe once, 3 reps, breathe once, start over.

Kind of the opposite of adding breaths as you go, but I was trying to induce some hypoxia (like when you have a 200lb gorilla dancing on your chest).

It kicked our asses.

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