A Terribly Awesome Trip Up Jacob’s Ladder

Remember the Jacob’s Ladder? Probably not. I’ve only mentioned in once before, in a blog post last May, but it’s a challenging cardio device that’s basically a never-ending ladder. It’s also a Bible story, but that’s a whole different blog post (on a completely different blog).


The rungs move on a circular track, so you’ll never ever get to the top. Ever. Rungs keep appearing, so you keep climbing and climbing and climbing and climbing and climbing and…

You get the idea.

I never used the Jacob’s Ladder before last spring, but since then I’ve used it sporadically (once or twice a month). A trainer I once worked with, Mo, told me that he never suggested his clients use it for more than a few minutes, so I’ve always limited my usage to a five-minute push, and then did more cardio elsewhere.

Five minutes was always plenty, though, because the Jacob’s Ladder gives me a complete full-body workout, ramps up my heart rate, and is quite fatiguing.

Recently, my pal Josh mentioned on Facebook that his workout that day consisted of intervals on the Jacob’s Ladder, and it sounded exhausting. Josh nearly missed his stop on the train because he was so tired afterward. But Josh is ranked 5th among all stair racers in the entire country (that’s just a wee bit higher than my ranking), and if it’s an effective workout for him… well, dammit, I was going to give it a try.

First, I warmed up: 11 minutes on the Arc Trainer, during which I burned 250 calories. A great start.

Then it was Jacob’s Ladder time.

Josh had done 15 two-minute intervals, taking 1:15-1:45 rest between each one. I had some time constraints that day, so I committed to 10 two-minute intervals, with one minute rest in between. That worked out to an even 30-minute set.

I also committed to not slacking on the ladder. I was going to push myself, make the intervals count, and earn my rest periods.

The first third went great. But by the fourth climb I was huffing and puffing and dreading the rest of my workout. But I stuck to it, wiped copious amounts of sweat off my face during my rests, and kept climbing.

By the eighth climb, I had slowed considerably, but I still pushed myself. Knowing I only had that climb and two more afterwards really helped. Who doesn’t love a countdown?

After the tenth and final climb, I felt ready to collapse. My shirt was so sweaty I looked like someone had turned a hose on me.

But I felt great. The workout was a success. I was happy to have completed a set that I had made up on the spot, not knowing how difficult it would be. And, in the process, I spent 20 hard minutes on the Jacob’s Ladder – that’s four times more than I had ever spent on it before.

Thanks, Josh, for the inspiration. I’m gonna do this again!

Keep it up, David!


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2 Responses to A Terribly Awesome Trip Up Jacob’s Ladder

  1. Rosanne Pipinich says:

    Wow! Good for you!

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. Rere says:

    I’m out of breath just thinking about it! Great job. 😉

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