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Marine Pushup Ladder Exercises

author image Heather Hitchcock
Heather Hitchcock has been writing professionally since 2010. She has contributed material through various online publications. Hitchcock has worked as a personal trainer and a health screening specialist. She graduated from Indiana University with a Bachelor of Science in exercise science.
Marine Pushup Ladder Exercises
A muscular man is doing push ups. Photo Credit Ibrakovic/iStock/Getty Images

Although pushups are not part of the Marines Physical Fitness Test, they are a necessity in Marine Corps training. Pushups help to increase upper-body strength and endurance in the chest, shoulders, triceps and core. Including ladder pushups in your workout routine helps increase your muscular endurance and the number of pushups performed.

Perfecting the Pushup

Both males and females in the Marines perform pushups in the traditional fashion with knees off the ground. Lie face down flat on the floor with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Raise your body up off the floor by fully extending your arms to support your upper body. Raise your lower body off the ground by balancing on your toes. Lower your body down to the floor by bending your elbows. Once your chest almost touches the ground, press your arms back up until fully extended and repeat. Keep your body straight and rigid throughout the entire movement.


Ladders are a method of performing calisthenics-type exercises such as pushups, pullups and situps to increase the number your can perform. Picture a ladder and each rung in the ladder is a set and with each step up the ladder, there is an increase in the number of repetitions you complete. In a ladder workout the repetition count in each set follows an ascending and descending pattern such as going up and then down a ladder. Complete a ladder workout by performing your pushup sets with the following repetition count of two reps, four reps, six reps, four reps and two reps with rest periods between sets equal to the same number of repetitions in seconds. For example, in your first set complete two pushups and then rest two seconds before moving on to your second set of four pushups with four seconds of rest. Continue the pattern in all five sets.

Beginner Pushup Ladder Exercise

Beginners who are unable to complete 20 consecutive pushups might perform a pushup ladder that involves completing 20 or 25 pushups with regular timed rest intervals in between several repetitions. An example might be completing nine sets of pushups resting five seconds between each set with the following repetition count: one rep, two reps, three reps, four reps, five reps, four reps, three reps, two reps and one rep. A ladder such as that allows you to complete 25 pushups in one minute.

Advanced Pushup Ladder Exercise

Individuals able to complete between 21 and 50 consecutive pushups would follow the same ladder as a beginner ladder, except increasing the repetitions by multiples of two with five seconds of rest between exercises. For example, the pushup ladder repetitions would be two, four, six, eight, 10 and then back to two. If you can do more than 50 pushups you should increase to multiples of three, resting five seconds between rungs, such as three, six, nine, 12, 15 and then back to three.

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