Familiarize yourself with this calorie-burning, core-toning machine.
A rising star among educated exercisers in Chicago: the Jacobs Ladder. "People can't get enough of this machine," says Amanda Pezzullo, personal training manager at Equinox's Gold Coast location. "This is definitely not a new fad piece of equipment that gets old after a week." Read up on the total-body wonder tool that's quickly taking hold.
What It Is: An angled, self-propelled, ladder-like cardio machine that’s a favorite of military training facilities.
How It’s Used: “Due to the unique motion of ‘climbing the ladder’, it is considered easier on the joints than other pounding movements such as running,” explains Pezzullo. “Short-bout anaerobic or interval workouts are the most common types of sessions completed, so your high-intensity circuit lover, sprinter, or someone who just likes to get their butt kicked is going to be utilizing this piece of equipment.” Beginners or those needing a steady-state cardio session can go a bit slower, making it accessible whatever your goals.
Why It’s Great: It elevates your calorie burn. “Because you utilize your entire body through climbing the ladder, it burns a very high amount of calories per minute in comparison to other cardio machines,” says Pezzullo. “End Game: More efficient cardio workout, more calories burned per minute, more bang for your buck.”
Plus, since moving all four limbs at the same time requires stabilization, your core and joint stabilizers (especially in the shoulders) are activated at a higher rate than on most other cardio machines.
Try It Out: The Jacobs Ladder is no joke—it requires coordination in addition to cardio fitness, which is why experts recommend familiarizing yourself with it before trying anything sophisticated. “Try using the Ladder for a slow, 5 to 10 minute warm-up,” suggests Pezzullo. “This will activate your joints and core muscles to prep you for your regular workout.” You can also create a mini circuit of lunges, pull-ups, dumbbell rows, and 1-minute intervals on the Jacobs Ladder, repeating that sequence 3 to 5 times for a complete workout.
Below, Pezzullo offers a 15-minute interval session that will challenge even the fittest of athletes. “Because the Jacobs Ladder measures pace in feet per minute, keep track of your own difficulty level at a particular pace and try to beat it week over week,” she recommends. “Think of it as a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the most difficult thing you’ve ever done.”