The Ladder – It’s you vs gravity for core strength

The Ladder is a core strengthening hero

The Gyrotonic LadderOn the Ladder, it's you vs gravity. There are no moving parts and your body weight is the resistance. For a piece with no moving parts, there are a remarkable variety of ways you can position your body to strengthen your core completely. Your core is not just your abdominal muscles and core strengthening isn't just doing crunch type exercises. Yes you have to strengthen your anterior core (abs and such) but you also need to strengthen your posterior chain (back muscles and glutes) and your side body. And it's vitally important to strengthen rotation on both the front and the back of your core.

The Ladder is only available in Makawao.

Leg Lifts

You can think about "core strength" in 3 basic planes: anterior, posterior and side body. The Leg Lift series is primarily for strengthening the posterior chain, in broad terms your back and your glutes. But as you can see from the video, there are side body options within this series as well. The distinguishing characteristic of the Leg Lift series is that the legs are in motion, as opposed to the Waterfall or Levitation series, when the upper body is in motion. As you do any exercise in this series it becomes very obvious, right from the first exercises, that every exercise in this series challenges your whole body. Not using the arms for anything other than support is a good challenge for your proprioception, figuring out how to coordinate the lower body only.


Like the Leg Lift series, Levitation strengthens the back of your body/core, your posterior chain. The difference is your legs are held in position and you lift your torso starting in a face down position. The two series together cover all the possibilities of posterior chain strengthening. You might have seen this sort of "back lift" exercise at regular gyms, usually on what's called a Roman Chair. And a person on it will go up, and they'll go down, and they'll go up and they'll go down. That's it. Perhaps they'll increase the "intensity" be holding a weight plate. But the motion itself didn't change. In GYROTONIC® training, we add complexity. You can add one of the spinal ranges of motion or you can use the straps to involve the arms and shoulders in some way. These options make a "back lift" into a total body, complex exercise.


When people think "core" they generally think abs. This is the primary series that works the anterior aspect of your core. Think "crunches" but in reverse. Instead of bringing your body off the floor towards your knees, you're already upright and you take your body toward the floor. There are options using the straps and hand weights to increase variety and  connect to more muscles. There are also exercises when you're in the Ladder sideways to hit the often ignored side body strengthening.

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GYROTONIC is a registered trademark of Gyrotonic Sales Corp and used with their permission.

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