Ladders & Pyramids Interval Training

A Post on Ladders & Pyramids Interval Training by Weight Loss & Fitness Training Expert Kevin Anderson

 

Would you like to breathe new life into your current workout and break out of your plateau?

You can do it with ladder intervals!  I’ve got some great workouts for you; but first, let’s take a quick crash course in interval training, in case you aren’t familiar with this type of workout.

Athlete running 

Athletes have known about the benefits of interval training for years.  It is a great way to

  • Melt fat
  • Build endurance
  • Strengthen your cardiovascular system
  • Increase your speed
  • Burn off calories.  (According to the American College of Sports Medicine, you burn more calories during short bursts of high intensity exercise than you do during longer, endurance-type exercises.)
  • Save time!  Two minutes of moderate intensity work is about equal to one minute of high intensity work.  If you are pressed for time, intervals are a great way to get in shape!

As you may already know, the typical interval workout consists of alternating between high intensity and low intensity effort.  Typically, this is a fixed ratio throughout the workout session.  It’s a very efficient way to get a workout, because you are able to take advantage of high intensity work while also letting your muscles have short recovery periods.  These recovery periods reduce the chance of injury.

A workout session that is typical of the fixed ratio is one which uses a 30-30 or 45-45 interval.  If you were doing this workout, you would work for either 30 or 45 seconds and then rest for the same amount of time.  This work to rest ration is referred to as 1:1.

Keep in mind that fixed ratio intervals are a great way to work out.  You will love the results of this type of interval training, and it is relatively easy to understand.

But there are other ways of doing intervals, and you might enjoy mixing up your workouts from time to time.  One way of doing this is to add in different types of interval ratios within your interval training session.

And if you have hit some plateaus in your training, this is a great way to shock your body!

Why do you want to shock your body?  If you consistently do the same workout day after day, your body adapts.  This means that less effort is needed, and you may see a plateau in your results.  When you mix things up, however, you call on different muscles and push your body to work harder.

One way to shock your body is through ladder intervals.

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image3043421 

Keep reading for an explanation of the different kinds of intervals, as well as some example sets that you can immediately begin implementing in your fitness routine. 

I. Ladder Intervals

Timed Ladders and Movement Ladders are two kinds of ladder intervals.

Timed Ladders refer to the process of “traveling” up and down a symbolic ladder, changing up the length of the intervals and/or the ratio of work to rest.

 

Following are some options for timed ladder intervals:

1.) Ascending Timed Ladders:  Involves increasing the length of your work periods. 

For instance, a 10-20-30 ascending ladder interval might be similar to this:

10 seconds of exercise, 10 seconds of recovery

20 seconds of exercise, 20 seconds of recovery

30 seconds of exercise, 30 seconds of recovery

 

2.) Descending Timed Ladders:  Involves decreasing the length of your work periods.

For instance, if you did a 30-20-10 descending ladder interval you might try this:

30 seconds of exercise, 30 seconds of recovery

20 seconds of exercise, 20 seconds of recovery

10 seconds of exercise, 10 seconds of recovery

 

3.) Ascending and Descending Timed Ladders- Pyramid Intervals:  Involves increasing the length of your work periods and then immediately decreasing them.

Here is an example of a 10-20-30-30-20-10 Pyramid Interval:

10 seconds of exercise, 10 seconds of recovery

20 seconds of exercise, 20 seconds of rest

30 seconds of exercise, 30 seconds of recovery

30 seconds of exercise, 30 seconds of recovery

20 seconds of exercise, 20 seconds of recovery

10 seconds of exercise, 10 seconds of recovery

 

Keep in mind you do not have to always use a 1:1 work:rest ratio.  Ladders can have dynamic work to rest ratios, as the following example shows:

15-30-45-60-60-45-30-15 pyramid:

15 seconds of exercise, 15 seconds of recovery

30 seconds of exercise, 15 seconds of recovery

45 seconds of exercise, 15 seconds of recovery

60 seconds of exercise, 15 seconds of recovery

60 seconds of exercise, 15 seconds of recovery

45 seconds of exercise, 15 seconds of recovery

30 seconds of exercise, 15 seconds of recovery

15 seconds of exercise, 15 seconds of recovery

 

Further, a ladder interval protocol can be performed for a single exercise for straight sets, or you can combine several exercises in an alternating set format of supersets, trisets or circuits.

For instance, a triset 15-30-45-60-60-45-30-15 pyramid interval protocol might look like the following:

15 seconds of exercise, 15 seconds of recovery for exercise#1

15 seconds of exercise, 15 seconds of recovery for exercise#2

15 seconds of exercise, 15 seconds of recovery for exercise#3

30 seconds of exercise, 15 seconds of recovery for exercise#1

30 seconds of exercise, 15 seconds of recovery for exercise#2

30 seconds of exercise, 15 seconds of recovery for exercise#3… and so forth

 

4.) Movement Ladders refer to the process increasing or decreasing varying numbers of movements in each throughout the session.

For instance, this is an example of a continuous 30-Second Movement Ladder for 5 total movements:

1- 30 seconds of work for exercise#1, 30 seconds of recovery

2- 30 seconds of work for exercise#1, 30 seconds of work for exercise#2, 30 seconds of recovery

3- 30 seconds of work for exercise#1, 30 seconds of work for exercise#2, 30 seconds of work for exercise#3,  30 seconds of rest recovery

4- 30 seconds of work for exercise#1, 30 seconds of work for exercise#2, 30 seconds of work for exercise#3,  30 seconds of work for exercise#4, 30 seconds of recovery

5- 30 seconds of work for exercise#1, 30 seconds of work for exercise#2, 30 seconds of work for exercise#3,  30 seconds of work for exercise#4, 30 seconds of work for exercise#5, 30 seconds of recovery

Another option is to start with 5 consecutive exercises and omit an exercise each round or add or subtract several exercises each round

 

II. What is the benefit of Ladder Intervals?

– They blast through training plateaus.  Discouragement is deadly to your momentum.  If you stop seeing results from your workout protocol, you may lose interested in your fitness routine.  Guard against this by keeping the results coming with ladder intervals!

– Because the workout keeps changing, there is no boredom when you make use of ladder intervals.

– Using ladder intervals makes it possible for you to gradually build up to greater intensity in your workouts. As you build your muscle strength and your aerobic base, you will be able to work harder.

– Ladder intervals engage multiple energy systems and provide a complete metabolic workout.  Here is a brief description of these energy systems:

 

Anaerobic alactate energy system is primarily involved when you engage in maximum intensity work sessions of 0-10 seconds.  When this system is active, you are not using oxygen or lactic acid, but you are burning mostly your phosphagen fuel stores including Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) and Creatine-Phosphate (CP) and primarily working your fast-twitch muscles. If you are training for maximum strength, speed, and power, then be sure to engage this system. 

 

Anaerobic lactate/glycolytic energy system is primarily engaged during high-intensity work periods ranging from 30-60 seconds to 2 minutes. This system does not use oxygen when it is engaged, but it does use lactic acid.  It also uses a large amount of sugar/carbohydrate for fuel. If you want to build lean muscle and gain endurance, then include this system in your workout. Expect to have intense levels of muscle fatigue, because this is the result of the lactic acid peak that occurs when this system is active. Both fast twitch and slow twitch muscle fibers are involved in this type of exercise.

 Tired

Aerobic energy system involves low to moderate intensity sessions of work ranging from 2-3 minutes plus.  This system uses oxygen and burns mainly fat for fuel. These longer exercise sessions are useful for:

  • Increasing your work capacity
  • Improving your muscle endurance
  • Allowing recovery between sessions
  • Engaging mainly slow twitch muscle fibers

Even though all three of your systems are always engaged, one system will be more active than the other three.  This is determined by the work length and intensity.

– Ladder intervals make it possible for you to correct strength imbalances.  For instance, if one of your legs is weaker than the other, make it top priority by working it earlier in the session.  This will increase the amount of training it receives.

 

It is important to remember that ongoing training results are dependent upon mixing up your routine every four to six weeks.   Ladder intervals make this easy to pull off.

 

For some incredibly fun ladders and pyramid internal training workouts look no further than our ForeverStrong Sessions.  We’re kicking off our new phase of training on Monday, September 16th.

 

For 42 Delicious Healthy Recipes, CLICK HERE

 

GREATEST VICTORIES ARE BORN IN THE HEART

Kevin Anderson – Owner of ForeverStrong P.T.

P.S. – If you enjoyed this post please share it with your friends using the social media buttons below.

P.P.S. – Please ask a question or share a comment with us in the Leave a Comment section at the very bottom of the page.  We love your feedback and will use it to develop future blog posts.