Climbing up and down ladders all day is certainly good exercise, but even if you're not a professional ladder user you can still reap some fitness benefits from ladders. Using the ones you have at home can save you money on fancy gym equipment with a stepladder workout that really pushes your leg workouts to a new level.
Build strength in your glutes with elevated lunges using the bottom rung of the stepladder to rest your front leg on. Facing the ladder, the extra height gives both legs a more challenging workout and this also calls in your lower abdominal muscles and hip flexors, making it a great exercise for your whole lower core and upper legs.
Off-set squats using the bottom rung to give extra height are another good way of building hip and leg strength. Stand sideways on to the ladder and put one foot on the bottom rung, then do a round of squats. You'll really feel the difference at first because of the unusual position; if you're after a new challenge in your squat routine this is it. Another new squat challenge is a Bulgarian split squat. This position looks like a lunge but it's more of a squat style exercise. Stand facing away from the ladder with one leg resting on the second rung (the rear leg shouldn't be fully straight so start with a bended knee), then do a round of squats. This one really puts the pressure on your standing leg, so it's best done when you're fully warmed up.
Get your blood pumping with some toe taps. Stand around two feet away from the bottom rung of your stepladder and quickly tap the rung with your foot, alternating sides. This aerobic component requires speed and strength to just lightly tap the ladder – too much pressure could topple the ladder towards you, so this exercise is great for testing your control and stamina.
There are also some upper body and core exercises you can do with your stepladder. Decline push ups really work the upper body and shoulders by raising your feet on the first rung of the ladder. If this feels too easy, go up another rung with your feet and see if you can rise to the challenge.
Triceps dips are also great with a stepladder using the second rung to give that height. If your stepladder is very lightweight you may want to ask someone to foot the rear side for you but most step ladders are sturdy enough for this exercise. Start with knees bent and work your way up to doing triceps dips with straight legs for the ultimate upper body and core workout.
Planks are excellent for building core strength, so use the stepladder to give height to your standard or side planks. Start on the lowest rung and build up to the second one when you feel the need for a bigger challenge.
An extension ladder can be used for speed and agility training when laid flat on the ground. It's best to extend an extension ladder so that you haven't got too much height to jump over when performing ladder drills – it's easy to trip over the rungs when you're starting out with ladder exercises. There are lots of ladder drill workout schemes online which give you patterns to follow, so start easy and work your way up to the more challenging footwork.
Ladder drills are excellent cardiovascular exercise, so if you combine these with the strength challenges of the stepladder exercises you can get a full workout at home using equipment you already have and if you're looking for a lunch break challenge on site, look no further than these step ladder and extension ladder exercises and see who's the fittest. Remember to always be sensible and think safety first, whenever you’re using ladders.