Powerful Benefits of the Jacobs Ladder Machine

Jacobs Ladder Machine Benefits and Exercises

The Jacobs Ladder machine is an exercise that provides serious cardio with a muscle-burning full-body workout.

But what are its benefits compared to traditional cardio equipment? And is it worth getting one for your own gym?

This article covers everything you need to know about how the Jacobs Ladder works, its benefits, muscles worked, and where you can buy your own.

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What Is the Jacobs Ladder Machine?

The Jacobs Ladder machine is a continual ladder climb set at a 40-degree angle that gives you a unique full-body and low-impact workout.

Just like a stair stepper provides you with a never-ending staircase to climb, the Jacobs Ladder gives you a never-ending extension ladder that incorporates the rest of your body during the workout. Giving you the option of either long steady-state cardio workouts or heart-pounding bursts of high-intensity training.

But unlike the stair stepper, the Jacobs Ladder is self-propelled. Meaning you’re the force that slides the rungs down to keep the ladder moving. And with the cable attached to the waist harness, the higher you climb up on the machine, it naturally increases the speed to match how fast you want to climb. Giving you maximum versatility in the training outcomes you are aiming to achieve from your workout. 

The Jacobs Ladder’s straightforward operation makes it an easy-to-use experience, suitable to both beginners and seasoned athletes alike. Putting you in total control of the intensity of your workout.

10 Benefits of the Jacobs Ladder Exercise

  1. Full-body workout.
  2. Can be used for both high-intensity and low-intensity training.
  3. Low impact on joints and body.
  4. Higher metabolic output than traditional cardio machines.
  5. Lower perceived exertion.
  6. Can be used for aerobic or anaerobic exercise.
  7. Improves mind-muscle connections for often overlooked biomechanics.
  8. Increases hip flexibility and range of motion.
  9. Improves coordination of full-body movements.
  10. Simple operation and self-propulsion reduce the risk of exercise injury.

Muscles Worked

The Jacobs Ladder truly is a full-body experience. It primarily activates the major muscle groups of the upper and lower body and additionally recruits supporting muscle groups extending throughout nearly the entire body. 

Here is a list of the major muscle groups that the Jacobs Ladder activates while you’re using the machine:

  • Quadriceps
  • Hamstrings
  • Glutes
  • Hip Flexors
  • Calves
  • Lower back (Extensors/Flexors)
  • Obliques
  • Deltoids
  • Biceps
  • Triceps
  • Pectorals
  • Trapezius
  • Ankle Dorsiflexion and Plantar Flexion

Advantages of Full-Body Activation

Not only does full-body activation have the advantage of burning more calories by recruiting more muscle groups, but it also forces you to coordinate movements across multiple biomechanical chains throughout the body.

Workouts that incorporate the whole body, like kettlebells, the rowing machine, or the Jacobs Ladder, enhance your athleticism by allowing your body to work as one singular unit through an exercise.  

While exercises that isolate singular muscle groups through a given movement absolutely have their place in your athletic development, it is equally important to incorporate full-body movements to tie your progress together and build the mind-muscle connections that improve your overall athletic performance.

How to Use the Jacobs Ladder Machine

  1. On the digital monitor, ensure that the machine is reset and enter your height and body weight to calibrate the machine.
  2. Use the belt to attach the cable around your waist.
  3. Climb onto the ladder and slowly start climbing to get a feel for the speed variability.
  4. You can place your hands on the top rungs for full-body activation or place your hands on the side rails to isolate the lower body.
  5. To accelerate, climb higher on the ladder.
  6. To decelerate, allow yourself to fall to a lower position on the ladder.
  7. To stop, simply allow yourself to slowly descend to the bottom of the Jacobs Ladder.

Jacobs Ladder Workouts

Here are a few workout ideas for a variety of training styles if you’re looking for ways to maximize your training with the Jacobs Ladder.

Jacobs Ladder HIIT Workout:

  • Begin with a two-minute warm-up, climbing slowly on the ladder.
  • Increase your speed until you are in a Zone-4 heartrate (80-90% max) and sustain for 30-60 seconds.
  • Return to your warm-up speed for recovery.
  • Recover at a 1:1 ratio (if your high-intensity set was 30 seconds, rest for 30 seconds, if your set was 60 seconds, rest for 60 seconds)
  • Repeat for 6-10 cycles.
  • Cool down at recovery pace for two minutes.

Endurance Workout:

  • Begin with a two-minute warm-up, climbing slowly on the ladder.
  • Increase your speed into a comfortable Zone-3 heartrate (70-80% max) 
  • Sustain this pace for 20-30 minutes.
  • Cool down at warm-up pace for two minutes.

The Hip Opener:

  • Begin with a two-minute warm-up, climbing slowly on the ladder.
  • Increase your speed where you can move in a comfortable and controlled motion. (Focus on technique and control of your body’s movements rather than training your aerobic system.)
  • Begin skipping rungs to open up your hip flexors and extend your legs further towards your upper body.
  • Sustain for 10 minutes.
  • Cool down at warm-up pace for two minutes.

High-Intensity Climbing and Floor Exercises:

  • Warm-up with 20 bodyweight squats followed by two minutes climbing slowly on the ladder.
  • Increase speed to a Zone-4 heartrate for 30-60 seconds.
  • Exit the machine and perform 10-15 kettlebell squats
  • Rest for 60-120 seconds.
  • Repeat Ladder interval.
  • Exit the machine and perform pushups to near-failure.
  • Rest for 60-120 seconds.
  • Repeat Ladder interval.
  • Exit the machine and perform plank exercise to near failure.
  • Rest for 60-120 seconds.
  • This will constitute one set. Repeat for 3 cycles.
  • Cool down at warm-up pace on the Ladder for two minutes.

Where to Buy Your Own Jacobs Ladder for Your Home Gym

Whether you’re a gym owner or looking for the ultimate high-intensity cardio machine to add to your home gym, Jacobs Ladder has made the buying process simple for all buyers by having its own Amazon storefront. Meaning you can purchase the Jacobs Ladder X, the Jacobs Ladder 2, or the Jacobs Ladder Rob Gronkowski Edition and have it delivered directly to your door from Amazon.

Here’s a grid with their most popular climbing machines on Amazon:

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