When I first saw a fitness ladder I was skeptical of how a black and yellow obstacle that you place on the ground was going to help me lose weight and become mentally sharper. But it works.

The Fitness ladder embodies how the mind and muscle connection works and moving through this fitness ladder like a game of hopscotch is the perfect at-home workout to do every day to improve your agility, speed, and explosiveness.

The first thing that comes to mind when trying to lose weight is “I need to start running more.” Maybe a treadmill is not in the budget or maybe you live in the city and don’t like running in public or beside cars on the road. Or with today’s circumstances when all gyms are shut down due to the global pandemic.

The fitness ladder is inexpensive and very functional and you can train from the comfort of your living room or backyard.  I can guarantee that it will be the cheapest and most effective piece of exercise equipment that you buy this year.

It’s worthwhile to mix your cardio methods up.  I like to start my Monday off with a run. In the middle of the week, I will bike.  End of the week, I will use the rowing machine.

The cold hard facts are that none of these exercises focus on lateral movements that strengthen joints, ligaments, and tendons.  Also, the monotony of doing the same exercises all the time can drive a person new to exercising insane.

Let’s say you’re a pro, you do not have to worry about the agility ladder getting too easy for you. There are hundreds of advanced variations and multiple exercises that will keep you challenged for an eternity.  After a year of constant practice, you will be able to tiptoe through the squares like a seasoned athlete. Ask any coach or trainer, great footwork is essential in almost every popular sport today.

How The Agility Ladder Improved My Basketball Skills

Here is a story that shows the agility ladder is a proven method to reach new heights in your workouts.  Last year, I had a bet with some of my basketball playing buddies that I could dunk a basketball. Being in my 30’s and not in my best shape, I had 6 months to achieve this notable accomplishment.   One benefit I had was that I was naturally tall and athletic, but my coordination was horrible and I was in constant dread that I would never be able to touch the rim. I was really optimistic after making the bet, but I realized after my first month of practicing that I was not even close.  I couldn’t generate enough velocity and explosiveness on my vertical jump.

I needed help, so I reached out to one of the trainers at my gym and asked him which muscles I should strengthen in order to get above the rim.

He then told me to meet him next week and he prepared a special training session for me.  During this training session, he brought in the black and neon yellow step ladder. We did a bunch of basic drills using the ladder.  For the last drill he had a jumping box placed right after the ladder and told me to go through the footwork progression then jump onto the box immediately after.   This developed my footwork and I realized that one of the main things that I needed was strong footwork to help me dunk. It was almost like a switch went off in my mind causing me to not even think and to just perform the explosive movement after so much practice.

basketball agility ladder
agility ladder slam dunk

Fitness Ladders Develop Coordination

Many people think that they are born with bad coordination and that they are naturally awkward and clumsy and think stepping through the ladder at max speed will cause them to trip over themselves or worse.

The truth is that coordination is a learnable skill, but training it is like training anything else, a process.  You do not gain a muscle every time you lift a weight. The benefits of improving coordination stretch far beyond physicality.  Coordination is the ability to use different parts and muscles of your body together smoothly and efficiently.   When developing this, you use the part of your brain called the cerebellum, which is linked to the ability to think and also controls how fast you can process information.

Using a step ladder in your weekly routine will drastically help your coordination in many sports and activities like dancing, tennis, basketball, and boxing to name a few.  Eventually, as you become more advanced at the agility ladder and the sequences, they will gradually become easier and you will seek more complex foot sequences so that your workouts become more challenging.  Athletes need to move quickly and make fast decisions in sports, which makes these exercises so useful.

The Agility Ladder Calories Burned Versus The Treadmill

agility ladder girlfriend

Here is a test I conducted with my girlfriend using a heart rate monitor. She weighed in at 132 lbs and burned 1,225 calories per hour using an agility ladder. The next day she burned 240 calories on her typical treadmill routine.

Doing a variety of cardio workouts is best. Some days will be more intense than others, but you do not want to fall into a routine where you are constantly doing the same exercise every day. It’s a good practice to mix different types of HIT training into your regimen.

Running on a treadmill or using a stationary bike can get your mind disconnected from the actual workout goal, which keeps yourself in a mindless neurological pattern. Once developing that comfort, your body stops responding and your mind can lose interest quickly. See for yourself, after a week of fitness ladder training you’re going to feel more engaged in your workouts.

Don’t Hesitate, Work The Fast Twitch Muscles With Fitness Ladder Workouts

beginner football agility ladder drills One Foot in Each Hole

The type 2 muscle fibers, which are responsible for creating explosiveness and are often overlooked, are activated by the fast-twitch muscle set.

They can be key when trying to lose weight.   Your slow-twitch muscles are used for endurance, like marathon running or biking.  If you have the correct balance, it will help you lose weight faster and make you extremely athletic.

The average person usually has a 50/50 balance of fast-twitch to slow-twitch muscle.  Some people can have a muscle composition of up to 80% fast twitch and 20% slow twitch, or vice versa.

The agility ladder can help develop the fast-twitch muscles if you are lacking in this area.  Fast-twitch muscle fibers produce their energy from oxygenated blood and lactic acids.   Sports science proves that women who focus on stimulating the fast-twitch muscles lose more overall body weight at an accelerated rate.

Here Are Some Popular Agility Ladder Drills To Get You Started:

Fitness Ladder Exercise #1 – The Linear Run Through

fitness Ladder Drill Run 1

Run straight through this obstacle by placing your feet inside every box. When you get to the last part of the ladder, double back aiming to keep your heart rate elevated. When advancing, cut the amount of time your feet touch the floor – imagine you are playing the child’s game “lava” – and drive your knees as high as you can in order to get the full workout.

Fitness Ladder Exercise #2 – The Lateral Shuffle

Lateral Shuffle fitness ladder

Similar to the exercise above, the objective with this one is to have your feet in the box while striding laterally (side to side). Maintain a slight bend in your knees to be easy on your joints.

Fitness Ladder Exercise #3 – The Squat and Hop

Squat Hop fitness ladder

Add some explosiveness to your routine: try a squat. This exercise will work your glutes while simultaneously raising your heart rate, making it a plyometric exercise. By training the squat you can increase power by turning up the range of motion in the exercise. If you want to ramp up your workout, hold onto a kettlebell or medicine ball to add to the exercise. This will make it a variation of a weighted squat. Just be mindful and do not compromise good form.

Fitness Ladder Exercise #4 – The Bear Crawl

The Beast fitness ladder

The bear crawl is grueling, but it’s an advanced ladder drill that can hit your upper body and work on your abs. In this exercise, it’s all backward. Before learning how to walk you have to crawl. The correct form requires you to start in a crouching position with your shoulders above your knees, which are hovering a few inches above the ground. Once you get the hang of it the move it is almost like a game of twister, you move your arms and upper body from side to side to find the right opening. Your whole body stays engaged throughout the exercise.

Fitness Ladder Exercise #1 – The Football Shuffle

The Heisman fitnessladder

The Football Shuffle is a complex exercise, but once you master it you will get memories of one of your favorite sports movies, so don’t stress if you can’t get it down on your first try. To execute this obstacle, take alternating steps with each foot inside and then outside of the box, and then take a moment to drive a knee up towards your chest to graze the opposite side elbow. Switch knees while progressing across the boxes. It helps to keep a short count in your head to stay in rhythm.

Why Wait Another Day? Where To Get a Fitness Ladder.

Finding a fitness ladder can be somewhat difficult. My first attempt was at Walmart, no luck.

My second attempt was a sporting goods store in my area, but the small retailer was charging $39.99, which seemed very high.

I then went to my gym to ask where they source their smaller equipment from. To my surprise, they did not even own a fitness ladder.

After searching online, there were many listings on Amazon, but they were originating from China and I was concerned that the ladder would not be the correct size. A standard agility ladder should be 15 feet long and 20 inches wide.

So after realizing all of this at Spectral Body, we have decided to offer a special promotion. If you buy a Fitness Ladder, we will include another ladder for FREE with this discount code “LADDER2020.” Work out with your partner or let the kids play with them outside without marking up your drive with sidewalk chalk.

You may also find that dumbbells are quite versatile and you can actually invent your own set of exercises to use in conjunction with a fitness ladder for your home gym experience

Fitness ladders are great for the entire family. This is your chance to get a fitness ladder today! Comment below if you have used ladders for specific sports training.