Ginger & Jacob’s Ladder: How to Use That Climbing Machine at Your Gym


For most of us, it’s hard enough to find the time to fit in a workout, let alone navigate the complexities of modern gym equipment.  As a working mom who needs a short but effective workout, I’m a big fan of the Jacob’s Ladder machine – but a lot of women tell me they shy away because they’re a little perplexed about how to use it.  They’re missing out on a terrific workout; Jacob’s Ladder provides a full-body sculpting and cardio routine.  It’s fun, it’s challenging, and it’s more doable than you might think.  Here are a few tips for climbing that Ladder:

Ask an Expert.  A qualified personal trainer or fitness instructor can give you a quick demonstration to help you use the machine safely and effectively.  Many gyms offer a complimentary session with a trainer who can walk you through it; all you have to do is ask.

Buckle Up.  Jacob’s Ladder machines include a belt to improve safety and help control speed and braking.  Set your height on the “height strap” and adjust the belt width before snapping it around your waist.

Start Slow.  Take your time the first few times you get on the Ladder.  It’s self-powered, so the faster you go, the faster it goes.  Instead of going for broke immediately, focus on mastering proper form and engaging your core muscles and joint stabilizers.  The more comfortable you are using the machine, the more confident you’ll be when it’s time to kick things up a notch.

Try an Interval Workout.  Start with a 2-minute warmup, and then jump into your workout, starting with your first interval: Push yourself for 2 minutes, and then recover at a slower pace for 1 minute.  That’s one set.  Repeat that process 4 times, and then cool down at a slower pace for 3 minutes.

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