With my ankle currently keeping me out of commission, I’ve had to adjust my workouts at bit. Anything high impact is out, and anything low-/no-impact is in. This means no jogging. No sprinting. No squat jumps. No burpees (haha, as if I would ever do burpees). No jumping lunges, no jumping jacks, no jumping rope. So what’s a girl to do when she wants to get a little out of breath and a lot sweaty? Get back to basics, of course.
We’re talking real basic. Like, old school gym glass basic. Bodyweight basic. Push ups, pull ups, and squats are a love language all their own, and bodyweight workouts just speak to me. Probably because they’re simple, and I’m all about simplicity. (Of course, you do need a chin up bar, but those are easily affordable on Amazon; THIS is the one I used in college.) They’re usually my go-to if I’m on the road or if my workout mojo is off. String together some chin ups, some squats and/or lunges, some push ups, and some sit-ups, and lather/rinse/repeat. It’s my favorite (read: simple, but down & dirty) circuit. So I was really excited to see THIS bodyweight challenge ladder on Jen Sinkler’s site the other day. It was developed by Forest Vance, a former NFL player who specializes in bodyweight training. This challenge ladder involves only moving one weight – your body – through three movements – pull ups, push ups, and squats. It’s an ascending ladder where you work your way from doing 1 pull up, 2 pushups, and 3 squats to 10, 20, and 30, respectively. It looks simple, because it is. But it’s also hard. I went into this slightly nervous…kind of like when I took the SAT’s in high school, when I was not nervous at all, and that made me nervous because it meant either I was really well prepared or I was so unprepared that I didn’t know it…lucky for me, I ended up curb-stomping my SAT. This workout? Let’s just say I ended it thoroughly sweaty and even more humbled.
This doesn’t test sheer strength, but strength plus endurance. It took me only 20 minutes, including about 4 half-minute water breaks, but I was hurtin’ the next day. (Whether that speaks to the intensity of the workout or my lack of fitness, I can’t exactly say.) It felt great to push myself for endurance, which I don’t usually do. And it felt really great to get in some really good conditioning without doing anything high impact that might aggravate my ankle. But even if you’re not dealing with an injury right now, this workout is definitely worth a shot!
As with any workout, remember to maintain good form at all times. If it means taking a little longer, so be it. If it means doing fewer reps, so be it. Sacrificing form for time/reps is never worth it, because you will end up either injured or training your body to adopt unhealthy movement patterns. I had to split the last 2 rounds of pull ups into 2 sets each (6+3 and 7+3), because I would have ended up using my momentum rather than my muscles to pull myself up for those last reps. No big deal. In a couple months, my goal is to be able to do it without splitting up the reps, but until I get there I’ll be doing what I can to make it happen with good form. Also be sure to drink water. It is summertime, and I don’t know about yall, but working out in my garage at 8am feels like working out in a Louisiana bayou in the middle of the afternoon. It is hot in thurrrr. Don’t give yourselves heatstroke, alright? But don’t be afraid to sweat (a lot) either.
Let me know if you try it!
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