Maniac Monday Workout: Climb the Ladder

It’s been a few weeks since my last Maniac Monday Workout post, so I just want to thank you for your patience while I’ve been away. I hope you’ve been setting your goals and lining up a plan for challenging yourself in 2012. I shared some of my own goals with you in my last post that you can check out here.

GORUCK ChallengeSo I hope you are ready to get back on track and primed for your next mud run or challenge!…I know I am. And remember, I’m no expert…but I’m here to help you. So whenever you have a question or comment, be sure to share it here, send me an email or post it up on my Facebook or Twitter page. If I don’t know an answer, you can bet I’ll find it for you.

Okay, so let’s get to it already…You’ve probably heard of a ladder workout or ladder drills before. Here’s a pretty clear definition from

Ladders are traditionally an incremental change in the prescribed repetitions from set to set. An ascending ladder has the repetition totals per set incrementally build from set to set. A descending ladder has the repetition totals per set incrementally decline from set to set. You can also combine an ascending and descending ladder to make an up-down ladder to combine the best of both worlds.

Climb the Ladder Workout

This workout consists of an ascending and descending ladder using a kettlebell swing, wall ball shots, burpees and mountain climbers.

Here’s how:

Set 1: Up the Ladder – Kettlebell Swings and Burpees

  • 1 burpee
  • 15 kettlebell swings
  • 2 burpee
  • 14 kettlebell swings
  • 3 burpees
  • 13 kettlebell swings
  • 4 burpees
  • 12 kettlebell swings
  • 5 burpees
  • 11 kettlebell swings
  • 6 burpees
  • 10 kettlebell swings
  • 7 burpees
  • 9 kettlebell swings
  • 8 burpees
  • 8 kettlebell swings
  • 9 burpees
  • 7 kettlebell swings
  • 10 burpees
  • 6 kettlebell swings
  • 11 burpees
  • 5 kettlebell swings
  • 12 burpees
  • 4 kettlebell swings
  • 13 burpees
  • 3 kettlebell swings
  • 14 burpees
  • 2 kettlebell swings
  • 15 burpees
  • 1 kettlebell swing

Rest 2 minutes

Set 2: Down the Ladder – Wall Ball Shots and Mountain Climbers

  • 1 wall ball shot
  • 15 mountain climbers
  • 2 wall ball shots
  • 14 mountain climbers
  • 3 wall ball shots
  • 13 mountain climbers
  • 4 wall ball shots
  • 12 mountain climbers
  • 5 wall ball shots
  • 11 mountain climbers
  • 6 wall ball shots
  • 10 mountain climbers
  • 7 wall ball shots
  • 9 mountain climbers
  • 8 wall ball shots
  • 8 mountain climbers
  • 9 wall ball shots
  • 7 mountain climbers
  • 10 wall ball shots
  • 6 mountain climbers
  • 11 wall ball shots
  • 5 mountain climbers
  • 12 wall ball shots
  • 4 mountain climbers
  • 13 wall ball shots
  • 3 mountain climbers
  • 14 wall ball shots
  • 2 mountain climbers
  • 15 wall ball shots
  • 1 mountain climbers


Burpees: Should be completed with full burpees, which combine a squat, push-up and vertical jump. Check out this demo.

Kettlebell Swings: Two-handed variation. Use a weight that will allow you to get a good swing and maintain proper form. I’ll typically use a 16kg or 18kg. Remember to exhale as you explode your hips forward and do not let the kettlebell go higher than about chest level. Also, squat down to place the kettlebell to the ground. Here’s a great demo.

If you don’t have access to a kettlebell, you might want to try a gripper plate, dumbbell or a sandbag with a handle at one end.

Wall Ball Shots: This is a staple of CrossFitters that combines a front squat with a medicine ball and a push press-like throwing of the ball to a target located some distance above the exerciser. I’ll typically use a 10-lb ball here. To ensure that you are squatting properly, you can rest a ball directly underneath you so that your butt touches with each squat. Check out a demo on Athletics Wiki here.

As an alternative, you can squat toss a sandbag, bowling ball, cinder block, etc…be creative, but be careful!

Mountain Climbers: We’ve all done these before. Just remember to keep your back as straight and keep your hips as low as possible. One rep = four count by alternating feet. Ex: left, right, left, one…left, right, left, two…etc. Here’s my demo.

More maniacal?

Get crazy and toss on a GORUCK with a 25 or 30-lb plate or wear a weight vest.

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Say it here…share your questions, comments, results, etc. We all want to know what you think!

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Meet the Author

Mud Run Maniac
Mud Run Maniac

I'm the proud owner of, specializing in mud run training and tips! The mud run community is growing fast and I’ve made it my responsibility to keep you up-to-date on the latest and greatest mud running topics.

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