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Couch to 5K
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Using "Ladders" for strength training

No - not house ladders!!! :) Invisible exercise ladders.

"You are your own Gym" App has really convinced me of the worth of this style of exercise. It is what is called "high volume - low intensity" strength building, which allows you to do a largish number of repeats of an exercise without excessive energy expenditure.

For example -- I can only do about 10 "classic, on the floor" pushups before my arm muscles fail, but I have just done a 5 minute workout doing only pushups and did 24 of them. This article basically explains how it is done brianmac.co.uk/articles/scn... -- but you can go up and down as many rungs in the ladder that you like. I only went up 4 rungs - 1-rest-2-rest-3-rest-4-rest 3-rest-2-rest-1-rest and back up the ladder again until the 5 minutes ran out --- result = 24 pushups done.

I had previously done it and achieved a large number of squats, situps and other exercises as per the Apps basic training plan.

For those (maybe) ladies here, who have trouble doing pushups - just try it using only a 2 rung ladder - you will be surprised just how many you can pump out in a few minutes.

11 Replies

I'll check that out Baz as I'm working on my arm strength, and everything else for that matter. I find that one side of me is deffo stronger than the other. I have done some of those ladder climbing exercises and they're really tough. It's the plank based jobs I have trouble with


Baz I read this and thought I bet Bazza would like this post, only to check and see it was you !


As a not very strong female, I'll second this.

Another reason I like this app is that you can switch the exercise to a level that you can manage. I can now do push ups with my hands at thigh height (on dining table) which is a definite improvement from 2 weeks ago when I could only do them against a wall. Yesterday I managed 49 of these by going up to a maximum of 7 consecutive push ups without a rest.

Next time this one comes up, I'm going to try Bazza's method of only going a little way up the "ladder" and have a go at using a chair and having my hands at knee height. That will be great progress even though I'll do far fewer.

I can definitely feel that my muscles have been working, but haven't actually been immobilised by aches and pains, so this is good.


I have created my own 5 minute ladders ( one for situps and one for pushups) - using the "Workout builder" and saved them as "favourites". This way , when I am not feeling up to a full 30 minute workout , I can just do 2x5mins situps and pushups - which I used to do a lot of in my younger days. I will complete week 2 this week and go onto week 3 next week. So -- so far, I have completed the first 6 days of the basic programme. I have found them to be quite "draining" and may be one of the reasons, I bombed out at Parkrun yesterday. But from an overall fitness and strength point of view, I am very happy with this little App ( especially for a whole $2.99 :) )

Don't overdo the pushups ! :) But we can see how you are progressing with them. Week 3 is going to have you (and me) doing pushups on the ground!!!!!! :)


Wk 3 will tell me to do pushups on the ground, but if by that stage I can do more than one at knee height I'll be very happy :) It can tell me what it wants, but if I can't do it, then I just can't do it!

Strangely, I'm finding the muscles I use in squats and other leg exercises much more achy the next day than my upper body muscles, which, apart from after my first work out in that area, haven't hurt at all. Perhaps my body hasn't even worked out that there are any muscles there that could be hurting!!


WK 3 does seem like quite a big jump forwards to me as well. However we will see. Apparently you have to do 6-12 repeats of an exercise within 1.5 minutes , and the remaining 1.5 minutes is for rest. Completing the 6-12 will be the problem- so perhaps we should do whatever variation we find to be "doable" . So possibly for you -- Wk3 , do whatever version of Pushups that you think you can do 6-12 STRAIGHT.


RFB - you may be interested in this form Mark Laurence Forum FAQ marklauren.com/forum/viewto...

Basiclaly - in answer to a question - What if the BASIC course is too difficult for me - he has suggested a 4 week pre-course course of ladders


Thanks for the link, Bazza. In general I can do it - it's just the push-ups that I can't do at the level I'm meant to. So for now I think I'll keep them at an easier level. I might get to about week 5 and find I can do a knee-high version and that everything else is pushing it a bit and then I could start again. Love the flexibility.

BTW I find the seated dips a bit painful on the "inside/underneath" my wrists. Do you?


Yes -- they are a bit "painful" -- and I find them to be quite awkward to do.


He he Bazza, we are singing from the same hymn sheet me and you! I use this for swimming too! 100 mts, rest, 200, rest etc, except I would call it a pyramid. Whatever exercise you are doing it seems much easier on the way down the other side!


I wonder if it could be used as a run/walk strategy when running?? I guess so - most run walk strategies are just based on a % of time spent running and a % of time spent walking. But these ladders seem to me to be more about " getting more done for less effort"


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