Monday, April 6, 2009

Pace Ladder Variations

The pace ladders I introduced previously are easy to implement into training. However, small adjustments to the intervals or numbers can make a huge difference in how fatigue is spread throughout the timed effort. Pace ladders (or waves) can be structured a number of ways to different effect.

Compare the following pace ladders that might be done with the kettlebell snatch (note that dashes indicate a change in pace, and a slash indicates switching hands):

Pace Ladder A (Even Number of Rungs)
:15 rungs
1-3-5-7-1-3-5-7-1-3-5-7/1-3-5-7-1-3-5-7-1-3-5-7 (90 reps in 6:00)

Pace Ladder B (Odd Number of Rungs)
:15 rungs
2-4-6-2-4-6-2-4-6-2-4-6/2-4-6-2-4-6-2-4-6-2-4-6 (96 reps in 6:00)

Although the overall pace in the ladders above is slightly different (15rpm vs. 16rpm), the average total pace is not the only difference. In the first ladder, the pace per minute is steady at 15 reps per minute. In the second ladder, the pace varies; 14 reps in the first minute, 16 reps in the second minute, and 18 reps in the third.

A third option for structuring the ladders is to gradually increase the number of rungs within the set.

Pace Ladder C (Escalating Ladders)
:15 rungs
2-2-3-2-3-4-2-3-4-5-2-3-4-5-6/2-2-3-2-3-4-2-3-4-5-2-3-4-5-6 (100 reps in 7:30)

A fourth option is to gradually increase the number of rungs until you cannot keep up with the time alloted, at which point you would either switch hands and/or start again at the bottom rung. (*=missed interval)

Ladder D (King of the Mountain)
:20 rungs
1-2-3-4-5-6-7-7*/1-2-3-4-5-6-7-6* (69 reps in 5:20)

Variations in pace do not need to be "laddered". They can just as easily be waved with the crest and/or the trough remaining constant. For example, consider the following pace waves:

Ladder E (Pace Wave, evenly paced among minutes)
:30 rungs
5-10-5-10-5-10/5-10-5-10-5-10 (90 reps in 6:00)

Ladder F (Pace Wave, pace varies among minutes)
:20 rungs
6-4-6-4-6-4-6-4-6/6-4-6-4-6-4-6 (92 reps in 6:00)

Ladder G (Pace Wave, escalating crest)
:20 rungs
3-4-3-5-3-6-3-7/3-4-3-5-3-6-3-7 (68 reps in 5:20)

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