Skogg System Ladders

Michael Skogg
Year Released: 2011

Categories: Kettlebell

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Once again, Cardiomama did a great job of explaining the routine. I'll just be adding what I felt about it.

I've only completed Ladders level 1 so far, but I really like the flow of it. As Cardiomama explained, you work up from 1 rep of each exercise on each hand, up to 3 reps on each hand. Take a break and work your way back down. I used my lighter 20 lb. kettlebell for this routine instead of my heavier 30 lb. kettlebell.

There is a new warm up routine to go with Ladders. I do not like the warm up routine. I will likely stick with the warm up that is done on the Roots DVD. I felt that the Ladders warm up was more like part of the exercise instead of a warm up.

The pace is a bit quicker than Roots and Intervals. There are no slow motion shots showing the exercise. There are no real breaks in the flow and when the next rung in the ladder starts, it doesn't feel like there's a lead up to starting the exercise.

Another negative for me is that this is a "do at your own pace" routine. I wish that Michael would have slowed down his pace so I could keep up. It felt like he was much quicker with his moves than he was on Roots. Michael finished the 3rd rep and I was a full rep behind. I'm glad that I used my lighter kettlebell. My presses are much slower with the heavier kettlebell than it is with my light kettlebell. I'd have been way behind if I used the heavy one.

There's a break between going up the ladder and coming back down the ladder. The video says to hit pause if you need a longer break. I used the pause button.

On the way back down the ladder, I felt the pace was even quicker than the pace in the first part. I think it's natural to speed up as you are "coming down the home stretch" but that's not what I want in an exercise video.

Even though there are some speed issues with this routine, I still really enjoyed the routine. It feels so much more natural to do a ladder of all the exercses that I've been practising than it does to do them individually. I felt it the next day, but it was not debilitating.

Instructor Comments:
Michael doesn't do as much instruction in this workout as in the others. I assume this is because by the time you do Ladder 1, you would have mastered the exercises. But I think it would benefit all viewers to have a better run down of the exercises. It would also be better production if each level was recorded seperately instead of filming Level 4 and editing it down to Level 1 through 3.



Equipment: kettlebell (one bell)

Set: gym w/ various bells, balls, plyo boxes in the back & side of room w/ grey flooring, white walls & lighting focused on Michael & crew.

Cast: two background exercisers (one female, one male), everyone works at their own pace, completing the reps that work for them. Michael & crew wear full coverage gloves for the workouts.

Music: Full audio (music & cues) or voice only.

This is the 3rd DVD in the Skogg System set, and and the workouts are based on rep numbers (complete at own pace), not timed sets (like in Skogg Roots & Intervals) for ladder sequences. There are 4 levels/workouts for this DVD, progressions from beginner to advanced levels (level 1/beginner, level 2/intermediate, level 3/advanced, level 4/warrior). The entire video seems to be a seamless workout that was shot once, but edited so that it has the different rounds in it for each of the levels (same for other Skogg workouts). The ladders are composed of a specific number of sets (rungs of a ladder) that start w/ 1 rep per exercise in a set, and for each subsequent set another rep is added to the set for ascending sequence. Or the set starts w/ a higher number of reps (ex. 3), and it is reduced by 1 rep for each subsequent set for a descending sequence. The sequence of exercises & rep numbers are displayed during the workouts, and the exercise being performed, at that time, is highlighted.

The same warm-up & cool-down is used for each workout in this DVD, and the workouts are chaptered by warm-up, work section & cool-down (exercises are chaptered in the work section). There are less form pointers than the previous Skogg DVDs (Intervals, Roots), and no video displays of form or live shots because users should have the form down at the point of using discs 3 & 4.

Music: Full audio (music & cues) or voice only. I don’t notice the music much, when I get into the workouts (it’s there but not distracting or adding to the mood/feel of workouts).

I have only completed Levels 1 & of the workouts, and the flow of the workout was not as easy to follow as the previous Skogg workouts (Roots, Intervals or Flow), towards the last half of workout (descending ladder) when the pace seems to pick up (could just be my perception, but I was always one rep or two behind the cast). The warm-up is more challenging than the previous workouts w/ just bodyweight exercises. But the rotation in plank w/out some other exercises did not feel great on my low back (in level 1), so the next go arounds for level 2, I did some other exercises (seated rolls, spinal twist w/ bent knees, bird dogs) first and did complete some rotations in plank & floor version (latter feels better on my spine, but the plank versions may feel fine for others). The level 2 of this workout was challenging (limited rests, lots of reps), I’m looking forward trying levels 3 & 4, but this DVD was not a like/love at first try (like the other Skogg DVDs were). But with more use, I may enjoy it more (definitely a challenge w/ the appropriate bell). I liked the cool-downs for this workout and for the Skogg System (just two placed in the 4 workouts), they hit the right places & they’re not too long or brief (feel good/energized after each workout).

I wish that Michael had created a few different workouts for the ladders (instead of just editing for progressions), like he could have focused on fewer exercises per workout vs. so many in a sequence (could have focused on increasing load & rep numbers for exercises, like snatch & cleans that people get stuck on increasing the number of reps or load) or created some w/ focus for endurance or strength (vs. discussing options for people beforehand). But learning the sequence of exercises & sets of ladders in these workouts sets up the next in the Flow DVD (so it makes sense), and I understand that cost is a big factor in how many workouts are filmed (but maybe the next series). Overall, I really like the Skogg System workouts, they're produced & sequence well and led by a knowledgable & engaging instructor.

Warm-up (4:03 min.) Called “mixed greens”: alternate 2 exercises, 30 seconds each, for 3 min. total.

From Plank position (standard): lift bent knee & rotate leg to reach foot to opposite side, (tap floor or a far as possible), reverse motion, alternate sides (this is very similar to the Scorpion exercise in the warm-up from Skogg Intervals, but body is in plank position vs. lying on floor).

Static hold in plank position on elbows.

Workouts: Ladders, ascending then descending w/ same sequence of exercises (Snatch> High Pull> Clean> Squat> Clean & Press> Swing (1-arm). With each set (rung) of ascending ladder, another rep is added. W/ descending, start w/ the top (highest rep) of ladder for the set & work down to bottom (lowest rep) by removing a rep for each set. For each level, another set (rung) is added to the ladder.

Level 1 (11:40 min.) cues to start w/ non-dominant hand, not based on time (go at own pace). Complete each set (rung) by alternating sides for rep/s for each exercise in the sequence of the ladder. Ladders start w/ 1 rep per side for each exercise, then increase by 1 rep w/ next circuit (1 to 3)> then reverse (3 to 1). Recommends to take break after the full completion of a ladder.

Ascending: 1 rep each, right then left side of Snatch> High Pull> Clean> Squat> Clean & Press> Swing (1-arm)> 2 reps of same sequence of exercises> 3 reps same sequence of exercises> Descending ladder> 3 reps> 2 reps> 1 rep (per side, same exercise sequence).

Level 2 (17:02 min.) Ascending ladder/rep scheme 1/2/3/4, alternating sides for each set of reps, then descending 4/3/2/1.

Level 3 (23:50 min.) Ascending ladder/rep scheme 1/2/3/4/5, alternating sides for each set of reps, then descending 5/4/3/2/1.

Level 4 (31:30 min.) Ascending ladder/rep scheme 1/2/3/4/5/6, alternating sides for each set of reps, then descending 6/5/4/3/2/1.

Cool-down (6:25 min.): same cool-down from Skogg Intervals

Child’s pose> from previous, place one arm under other (palm up), both sides> child’s pose w/ fingers further forward> Cobra>Downward dog, then elevate heels onto toes & lower heels> lift one leg up & hold> lower leg between arms into low lunge w/ body leaning forward (hands on floor, side of body)> place right hand on inside of right foot & lower chest to floor w/ bent arms> lift upper body into upright position) for upright lunge (hip flexor stretch position), then push hips forward for hip & quad stretch> return to downward dog & repeat sequence on other side> downward dog> walk hands to feet for Rag Doll pose> roll body up to standing position, roll shoulders back & open arms.