This ladder workout adds a new challenge to your typical total-body routine

If you like the variety you get from a Tabata or interval workout, you’ll love practicing this ladder workout, created by Noam Tamir, CSCS, founder and CEO of TS Fitness in New York City.

A ladder workout is all about the rep scheme. It means that the number of reps you do for each exercise increases with each new round (as you move up the ladder). Sometimes, it also includes going down in reps with each successive round (coming back down the ladder).

The benefits of ladder workouts for cyclists

Ladder workouts work great for cyclists because they progress slowly, just like running does, starting with lower reps, which warm up the muscles, and gradually increasing the reps with each set, says Tamir.

For this particular routine, you’ll be doing the reps in ascending order. That means for the first set, you’ll do one rep of each exercise on this list, then increase to two reps of each exercise for the second set, and so on, says Tamir. That way, you can focus on form at the beginning of your workout rather than completing a bunch of reps all at once like you would in a traditional workout.

Additionally, the ascending rep scheme ensures that your workout gets progressively harder as you go by helping you build power endurance so you can have the strength and speed you need for the road.

An added bonus: This is a full-body workout, so these exercises will help cyclists improve overall performance. It focuses on building stronger posterior chain, core and shoulder muscles.

How to use this list: Start by completing 1 repetition of each exercise on this list and 1 repetition on each side for single-sided exercises. Rest 30 to 90 seconds after completing each exercise. Then add one rep to each move, up to a total of 5 reps. Do you have more time? Work your way down the scale, starting with 5 reps and working your way down to 1 rep for each exercise.

Each move is demonstrated by Tamir in the video above so you can learn proper form. You’ll need a medium-heavy kettlebell or dumbbell, and an exercise mat is optional.

1. Single arm swing

tamir practicing single arm swing exercise

Noam Tamir

Why it works: This exercise will help cyclists build stronger back muscles, including the glutes and hamstrings, which are critical to acceleration and overall performance, says Tamir. Plus, it targets your core and can help build strong form, he adds.

How to do it: Stand about arms length away from the kettlebell with your feet a little wider than hip-width apart. Push your hips back to hinge at the waist with a flat back as you reach for your arm for the weight. Swing the bell back and between your legs and use your free hand to shade the movement. Drive your feet into the floor, engaging your glutes and extending your hips, as you swing the bell forward and up to chest level. Let the bell guide you back into a hinge.

2. Row of lawn mowers

Tamir practices the mower row exercise

Noam Tamir

Why it works: Enhance upper body strength, stabilize your core, and work your back muscles simultaneously with this exercise. Practicing this move will help improve your posture, says Tamir.

How to do it: Start in a shallow lunge position with your left foot back and the kettlebell in your left hand. He hinges at the hips, keeping his back flat, shoulders down, and core engaged. He rests his right forearm on his thigh. Make sure your shoulders and hips are parallel to the floor. This is the starting position. Starting with left arm straight, pull elbow toward left hip, lifting kettlebell toward rib cage. Hold, then slowly lower back, straighten arm and return to starting position.

3. Staggered squats

Tamir practices the offset squat exercise

Noam Tamir

Why it works: This exercise incorporates anti-rotation into a lower-body exercise, which is what you need for the street as well, says Tamir.

How to do it: Start with your feet a little wider than hip-width apart and the kettlebell in the forward stance on your left side. She brings her hips back and down and bends her knees until her thighs are parallel to the ground for a squat. She activates your core and press through your feet to stand up.

4. Half kneeling single-arm overhead press

Tamir practices the one-and-a-half kneeling overhead press exercise

Noam Tamir

Why it works: The semi-kneeling component of this exercise will challenge your core since you need it to stabilize yourself more, while the overhead press focuses on upper-body strength, especially building shoulder and lat muscles, says Tamir .

How to do it: Start kneeling, right knee on the ground and left foot planted in front, both knees bent 90 degrees. Hold the kettlebell in your left hand at shoulder height, elbow bent, palm facing ear. Press left arm up, biceps by ear, rotating arm so palm faces outward. Then, pull your left arm back up to your shoulder, rotating it backwards so your palm faces your ear. Switch sides for more reps.

5. Half kneeling halo

tamir practicing the halo exercise while kneeling

Noam Tamir

Why it works: This exercise will challenge you to resist bending your torso to the left or right, which will help keep your torso upright and spine stabilized as you hit the pedal stroke, says Tamir.

How to do it: Start kneeling, right knee on the ground and left foot planted in front, both knees bent 90 degrees. Hold the kettlebell upside down, to the sides of the horn. Keeping your torso and lower body still, rotate the dumbbell counterclockwise (toward your front leg) around your head. The elbows are close to the head. Switch sides for more reps.

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