Trainer of the Month Club

This Tough Cardio Ladder Workout Squeezes 60 Minutes of Work Into 10 Minutes

Kells McPhillips

Kells McPhillipsJune 29, 2020

Each month, a new trainer takes us through four of the most grueling workouts they have in their back pocket. Follow along weekly for new ways to sweat it out with us. See All

If you have a particularly short workout attention span, EMOM (or every minute on the minute workouts) were basically made just for you. Before you’ve even had time to experience mountain climber-induced boredness, you’re onto the next sweat-inspiring move. And this week, Well+Good’s Trainer of the Month Club Ash Wilking—Nike master trainer and Rumble instructor—is serving up a cardio ladder workout that will truly make your quickie, 10-minute workout fun.

Ladder workouts are a cardio and strength training method that ask you to perform exercises in an ascending or descending rep scheme. They’re short, quippy, and follow the Blue Zones model of squeezing in tiny, bite-sized workouts throughout the course of your day rather than getting your entire dose of sweat in at one time. And that’s a huge win for your health, considering the fact that tiny workouts come with huge benefits. (Short walks, for example, can boost your mood, strengthen your bones and muscles, and keep your balance on point.)

For this particular short sesh, Wilking’s asking you to crank out two push-ups, four plank hops, six lateral hops, and eight drop squats. Once the timer starts, you’ll have one minute to complete all five, and whatever time you have leftover is when you get to rest. Meaning, “the faster you move, the more time you have to rest,’ says Wilking. Repeat that 10 times and you have a cardio snack you can do anytime, anywhere.

A 10-minute cardio ladder workout, coming right up

1. Push-ups: Come to plank position: Shoulders over wrists, pelvis tucked underneath you, and inner legs engaged. Keeping your body in a straight line, slowly lower yourself halfway down to the ground. Use your core to return back to plank pose. Repeat this move once more in this set.

2. Plank hops: From that same super-engaged plank position, engage your core and hop your feet forward so that your knees almost touch your triceps. Hop back into a plank pose. Repeat this move three more times.

3. Lateral hops: Stand up and separate your feet so that they’re about a foot apart. Using your arms swing and your core, leap as far as you can to the right, then as far as you can to the left. Repeat this move a total of six times (three reps on each side).

4. Drop squats: Stand up once more so that you’re standing with your feet about a foot apart. Tap your left hand between your feet so that you’re sitting back into a squat, then leap up. Bring your left hand to meet your right and jump your feet together. Pop back into the squat position, this time bringing your right hand down between your feet. Repeat a total of eight reps (four on each side).

5. Mountain climbers: Come back into plank position. Tuck your left knee into your left elbow, return to plank, then tap your right knee to your right elbow. Pretend like you’re sprinting horizontally and go as fast as you can for a total of 10 reps (five on each side).

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