Ladder Drills For A Killer Workout

Ladder drills. These take me back to my wrestling days. Hell, but effective hell.

I don’t know about you guys but 95% of the time cardio bores the absolute crap out of me. Pounding the pavements or a treadmill really just don’t do it for me so this is why I like to incorporate circuit training and ladder drills. They’re a “fun” and more interactive way of elevating your heart rate – they almost, ALMOST make me forget that I’m doing cardio. Almost.

I thought I would share what kind of drills I do on the floor ladder, and how I put together circuits to make a complete workout.

The Workout(s)

There are a number of ways that you could construct a ladder workout, however I’m just going to go through a few of my favourites.


Tabata is a form of high intensity interval training that features a number of different exercises that last for a certain amount of time with a rest interval in-between.

For example:

Exercise #1: 40 seconds

Rest: 20 seconds

Exercise #2: 40 seconds

Rest: 20 seconds

…and so on

Usually a tabata workout is constructed of 8 different exercises. So for my ladder workouts, I will pick 8 different drills to perform.

What I love about tabata workouts is that they’re quick, but effective. I also find that I push myself harder in the exercise period because I know I have a short rest coming up before I have to change to the next exercise.

Sets & Reps:

Sets & reps? isn’t that for weight training? Yep. But I couldn’t think of what else to call this style so that’s what we’re going with.

For this style, I will pick certain drill and do it for x amount of lengths of the ladder, take a break, and then repeat, much like you would if you were doing 3×20 bicep curls.

For example:

Exercise #1: 3 sets x 5 lengths

Exercise #2: 3 sets x 4 lengths

You could also do this superset style as well. So pick 2 exercises and alternate them for 8 lengths, then take a break and repeat it a few more times.

Circuit training:

So this style of workout is kind of a mix of the two styles I mentioned above. For this style of workout I like to not only use the ladder, but other body weight exercises too. Things like burpees, pushups, squat jumps, etc…

I will usually pick 2 body weight exercises, and 1 ladder drill per round and will put a circuit together in 1 of 2 ways:

All Timed

Bodyweight Exercise #1: 30 seconds

Ladder Drill #1: 30 Seconds

Bodyweight Exercise #2: 30 seconds

REST: 30 seconds-1min

Bodyweight Exercise #3: 30 seconds

Ladder Drill #2: 30 seconds

Bodyweight exercise #4: 30 seconds

REST: 30 seconds-1min

… and so on

I will usually do 3 or 4 “rounds” in total (so that would be 4 different ladder drills)

All Reps

I do this in the exact same way that I do the All Timed, except instead of 30 second rounds I’ll do a certain number of reps or lengths for each exercise:

Bodyweight Exercise #1: 20 reps

Ladder Drill #1: 5 lengths

Bodyweight Exercise #2: 15 reps

Ok, so now you know how to put together a workout, maybe I should show you a few exercises that you can do on the ladder. Keep in mind this is all foot-work based so don’t be discouraged if at first you’re a little uncoordinated – that will come.

The Exercises

You’ll have to bare with me here because some of the names I’ve come up with are questionable. I’m also not even going to attempt to explain each one because there’s more of a chance of me confusing the heck out of you than me actually making any sense, so just follow along with the pictures and you’ll get it!

Soccer Players

High Knees

1 Foot Zig Zag

2 Foot Zig Zags

Tuck Jumps

Zig Zag Ground Touches

Step Lateral In & Outs

Two-Foot Lateral In & Outs

Bunny Hops

2 Forward 1 Back

Hop Scotch

Split Squat Jumps

The Ladder

Next, where the heckith do you buy one of these things?

I bought mine at Walmart, but you can also find them on Amazon, and a home hardware store like Canadian Tire, all for under $30. I like mine because it comes in a neat little carry case which enables me to carry it anywhere with me: to the park, to my gym, I could even take it on vacation with me if I was feeling dedicated.

For more of my home-based exercise blog posts:

Knee Strengthening Exercises

Core Exercises For Bad Backs

Until next time