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Weekly Workouts: Squat Burpee Ladder Workout

Welcome to the weekly workout recap. This is the week that squats nearly did me in and running took a back seat to life.

First, the squats…I LOVE to squat. It’s my #1 favorite exercise of all time and I do them all the time. Last week I took my weekly barbell squat workout to a new level. For whatever crazy reason, I decided it was a good idea to do a squat/burpee ladder down…and back up again. I do ladder workouts all the time but I don’t think I’ve ever worked my way down and back up the ladder. Ladder workouts feature an increasing or decreasing rep scheme where you start at “x” number of reps and work your way down or up. For example, in this workout I started with 10 squats and 10 burpees, then 9 squats and 9 burpees, 8 squats, 8 burppes and so on.


I frequently use ladder style workouts in my own training and with my clients. They’re awesome and work well both physically and mentally. As the body starts to fatigue the reps get shorter and as the mind begins to doubt it can do more you get motivated by thinking, “I only have to do 4 reps this time and I started with 10. I can do this!” In general, I find that any type of decreasing rep scheme workout is really motivating for my clients.

Here’s the workout if you want to try it!


A couple of notes…

– Any kind of squats you want to do here…bodyweight/air squats, goblet squats, barbell back squats…whatever goes! I did barbell back squats and went heavy on my weight on the way down and lightened up on the way back up.
– Speaking of going down and up the ladder, that’s optional. I promise it’s plenty of challenge just to go down! That’s 55 reps right there.
– The burpees can be any style that work for you. I went chest to ground but modify as needed.

Now, about that running. I slacked on my training plan this week because of work/life demands and a sore calf muscle (thanks to double unders and not running) but I’m ready to get back on it next week! Less than three weeks until race day. I’m feeling REALLY ready! 🙂


3 mile easy run



3 rounds: 

500 meter row
15 GHD sit ups
10 strict pull ups (band assisted)
15 kettlebell swings
10 strict dumbbell press (20#)

3 rounds: 

7 bench press (75#)
10 TRX rows
10 TRX pike ups


Hot yoga


2 mile easy run + Squat/Burpee Ladder

10-1 reps of back squats at 115# and burppes


1-10 reps of back squats at 85# and burpees

For a whopping total of of 110 back squats and burpees. I was a hot, sweaty, jello leg mess after this workout and I was sore until Sunday. I haven’t been this sore from squatting in a very long time.



I could barely sit down after Thursday’s squats.


6 mile run at 8:30 pace


3 mile run at 8:15 pace and yoga

What’s your most favorite exercise? 

{ 18 comments… add one }
  • Teri | a foodie stays fit October 26, 2014, 9:39 pm

    You know running is my favorite!! And this post made me laugh because I just had a conversation with a friend tonight about how much I hate squats but that I know I need to do them!! Glute activation!!! 🙂

  • She Rocks Fitness October 26, 2014, 9:41 pm

    Girl your pace is awesome! Thanks for sharing this workout…I may have to use this tomorrow for my bootcamp…I love ladder workouts! XOXO

  • Kristen October 26, 2014, 9:42 pm

    I want to try this workout this week! Thanks! I need more squats in my life.

  • Hillary October 26, 2014, 10:57 pm

    What weight did you use for your back squats?

    • Jen October 27, 2014, 11:53 am

      115 on the way down and 85 on the way back up

  • Sam @ Pancakewarriors October 27, 2014, 1:53 am

    This work is a combo of my favorite workouts. Squats and burpees. This is a must do for next legs day!! Thanks for the inspiration. Love your workout recaps I always get so excited for the next week!

  • Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine October 27, 2014, 4:49 am

    I used to the same workout but as a quick cardio burst. It would be 10 squats and 1 burpee then 9 squats 2 burpees and so on and then toud repeat the opposite way back down to one burpess and 10 squats again!

  • Linda @ The Fitty October 27, 2014, 6:20 am

    Grr…the angriest combination is squats followed by burpees. You’re going to kick my butt!

  • meredith @ The Cookie ChRUNicles October 27, 2014, 6:25 am

    Running is clearly my fave but I am balancing that out with my other love – Pure Barre. The burn you feel from those squats even if they don’t call them squats is serious and gives great results!

  • Emily @MyHealthyishLife October 27, 2014, 7:50 am

    Squats and pushups are my favorite strength move. Burpees just happen to be my least favorite 🙂

  • Liv @ Healthy Liv October 27, 2014, 8:31 am

    Burpees kill me every time. I like squats! (as much as someone could like them anyway 😉

  • Allyssa October 27, 2014, 12:16 pm

    I love squats too! I will have to see if I can brave this workout due to the fact that I really do not like burpees! It’s also impressive that you were able to squat that much (both 115 and 85) for all of the sets!!! I am currently trying to slowly increase the weight I am able to squat! Currently I am not able to squat as much as you but hopefully someday!

  • Lauren @ ihadabiglunch October 27, 2014, 2:07 pm

    I’m a HUGE fan of ladder-style workouts. My first time trying them it was such a great workout mentally! But then the instructor said “….aaaand now back up the ladder!” and my soul was crushed haha but still – amazing, workout!

  • Mary October 28, 2014, 12:21 pm

    I did this workout last night and it definitely was challenging! I started the 10 reps at around 60 lbs. and worked my way down the ladder to a max of 130 lbs. It was awesome to push myself and now know that I could have added a bit more weight! Anyways, thanks for the great workout and keep them coming 🙂

  • Aly October 31, 2014, 10:58 am

    We did the the burpee back squat wod last night and LOVED it. We did 95lbs for both rounds and it was an amazing wod! I am just starting to get sore (we did it last night)! Thanks so much for sharing your workouts, we love them!

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