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Look no further - we love this machine! Jacobs Ladder is a high-intensity, low-impact workout that is great for everyone from amateur enthusiasts to professional athletes. It’s a great machine for getting your cardiovascular fitness to the next level.
The Jacobs Ladder is a staple piece of equipment in most gyms now, and is an excellent addition to home gyms too. Here’s why:
First of all, you might notice that the Jacobs Ladder exercise machine comes in three different versions: Jacobs Ladder, Jacobs Ladder 2 and Jacobs Ladder X.
Jacobs Ladder and Jacobs Ladder 2 are very similar in form and function, but have some key differences that you can read about in our comparison of the two. But as a recap, the Jacobs Ladder 2 addresses some challenges that users found with the Jacobs Ladder (such as large footprint size) that make is super friendly for your home gym.
The newest model, the Jacobs Ladder X, takes the original and turns the intensity up to 11! It has adjustable side rails and comes with four different workout modes: normal, stand up, sled drive and hand-over-hand.
So, what do you actually do with a Jacobs Ladder exercise machine? It’s climbing ladders with a twist. The Jacobs Ladder mimics a ladder set up against a wall with a 40 degree angle. As you climb, you will engage your core, glutes, hamstring, calves, chest, and shoulders while leaning into the climb.
Essentially, the Jacobs Ladder works like a treadmill for ladder climbing. The key safety feature is the waist belt. If you were to climb onto a Jacobs Ladder without attaching the waist belt, it will stay locked in place, which is an especially great safety feature for anyone who might be worried about kids in the home gym. Once you attach the belt, it releases a brake mechanism. Lower down the ladder the brake will still be partially on, so you get a slower climb. Higher up, the brake releases and you can move at faster speeds.
If you stick to the lower rungs, you will get a slow and steady climb that allows you to focus on strength and rhythm at higher resistance. Moving higher up the ladder will mean a faster pace with less resistance as the Jacobs Ladder revolves. More advanced athletes can work up to a sprint at the top of the ladder and we can tell you, five minutes of that can exhaust the fittest, most elite performers!
Jacobs Ladder provides a number of benefits to users, but let’s start with a study out of Louisiana State University. Researchers there found that the Jacobs Ladder allows users to work out harder with less effort as compared to a treadmill. Importantly, participants in the study felt like using the Jacobs Ladder was significantly less laborious than a treadmill. Rate of Perceived Exhaustion (RPE) is important - a lot of what goes into fitness is a mental game, and perception matters.
Other benefits include:
People often perceive that Jacobs Ladder is more about working out your lower body, but the upper body work is actually significant. You will definitely notice it in your core, chest, shoulders, and triceps after just a few sets.
The full-body exercise that you get also means you burn a large number of calories and that your body will continue to burn while at rest. For this reason, it’s also a good weight and fat loss workout.
Aerobic endurance comes from using the Jacobs Ladder at a steady pace over a longer period of time, whereas anaerobic endurance comes from exerting at maximum effort for a short period of time (such as with a sprint).
Jacobs Ladder gives you choices. You can select the intensity that suits your workout goals, whether that’s sprinting near the top of the ladder or a slower pace with more resistance near the bottom. It is versatile from that perspective and is a machine of choice for a wide variety of sports conditioning, from boxers to track athletes.
Joint and tendon injuries are common complaints in anyone from weekend warriors to professional athletes. The relative impact of an exercise on your joints will either help or exacerbate joint or tendon issues. Running on pavement, for example, tends to be higher impact as the reverberations pound through your joints.
Jacobs Ladder exercises leave out that “pounding” on your joints. The rotation is a smooth motion so your joints experience much lower impact as you do the exercise. It’s the perfect combination of low impact while maintaining high-intensity, which gives you more “bang for your buck.” Athletes recovering from sports injuries often choose Jacobs Ladder for this reason.
One of the joys of a Jacobs Ladder is the simplicity of the machine. There’s no fussing around with different settings, unlike many other staples of the gym. To get started, all you do is strap on the waist belt and decide where you’d like to be on the ladder.
Jacobs Ladder is fixed at a 40 degree incline so your only decision to make is how much tension (lower down the ladder) or speed (higher up) that you’d like.
The climbing motion you do while exercising on a Jacobs Ladder is unique among gym equipment. Unless you’re a regular climber, the experience of a Jacobs Ladder will probably be unique and you’ll discover neglected movements or muscles in your own body.
This exercise helps you to develop a strong crawling motion, which is something we become good at as infants, but lose if we don’t practice it once we walk. Crawling is a good functional fitness movement that helps to reinforce good coordination, posture, and balance. You should maintain a neutral spine and have your upper and lower body work in unison.
We highly recommend the Jacobs Ladder as an excellent machine for functional fitness. It’s especially good for allowing you to complete a high-intensity workout with low impact on your joints.
We offer a few different Jacobs Ladder machines here at Strength Warehouse and are happy to answer any questions you might have. Check them out and give us a call.
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