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Descending Ladder Workout #3 | Body Recomposition Workout Plan

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Cheat Meal Tips For Body Recomposition | Live Lean Shred Ep. 05

On today’s episode of Live Lean TV, I’m sharing descending ladder workout #3 from the Afterburn 1.0 body recomposition workout plan, as well as our best cheat meal tips for healthy living.

Welcome to day 5 of our 6 week Body Recomposition Workout Plan Series called, Live Lean Shred.

Table Of Contents – Jump To:

Good morning.

Before we get to today’s descending ladder workout, we’re doing a photoshoot for Jessica’s post on the best exercises for women over 50,

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In this post, Jessica shares a workout for her mom who’s 58 years old, and fabulous.

Jessica loves promoting fitness for women who are older because we often hear a ton of excuses from this age group because they think they are too old for working out.

You’re not too old, and Jessica will show you what to do.

Kyla’s also helping behind the scenes by working the camera.

We like to put her to work so she can earn her diapers.

Don’t worry, after the photoshoot I took Kyla shopping to thank her for all her hard work.

It’s Time For Our Weekly Cheat Meal: Pizza!

Welcome back to another episode of #AskLiveLeanTV.

Just kidding.

Even though we’re still in the beginning of this body recomposition workout plan series, it sounds like people are missing our #AskLiveLeanTV episodes.

We’ll try to answer a few questions in upcoming episodes.

But first, we need to eat because we’re starving.

What are we eating?

Pizza!

Yes, it’s cheat day.

Once A Week Cheat Meal Rules And Recovery Live Lean TV

Before I even had a slice, Kyla was already chomping down on a slice.

Can you believe she doesn’t even wait for her dad?

We still need to teach her manners.

After this eating this pizza and giving it time to digest, I’ll take you down to the gym for today’s descending ladder training workout.

But first, I have to carb up a little because this workout is going to be a doozy.

Should You Do Cheat Meals During Body Recomposition?

Since we’re always asked, should I have a cheat meal or not, the answer is, it depends.

If you are new to cheat days, we have one cheat meal per week, sometimes two.

6 Cheat Meal Rules To Fire Up Your Metabolism And Burn More Fat Live Lean TV

You can incorporate weekly cheat meals into your lifestyle if you are:

  • Taking your workouts into overdrive, like we’re currently doing with these Afterburn 1.0 workouts
  • Eating healthy throughout the week
  • Feeling good from a mindset perspective towards cheat meals

When I say mindset, I’m referring to having the discipline to get back to healthy eating after a cheat meal, rather than spiraling out of control.

When you can do this, cheat meals can actually help your progress, and not hinder it.

However, if having pizza leads to a binge fest of ice cream afterwards, and then another binge food, because you just “love food so much”, then no, cheat meals are not for you, yet.

This is an example that your mindset and discipline is not ready for cheat meals, yet.

With that said, hopefully we can eventually get you there.

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That’s my little spiel on cheat meals.

Ultimately, if you are disciplined enough to have a cheat meal, and then get right back on track afterwards, then you can have it.

However, for certain personality types, you may have to go a period of strict discipline before you can start incorporating cheat meals, as they could sabotage your progress if it leads to binging.

A Cheat Meal Is Not A Binge Meal

Keep in mind, a cheat meal is not a binge meal.

For example, we’re eating one pizza, not ten pizzas.

Even though we don’t give you a calorie cap for what your cheat meal can be, there does have to be a limit,

With that said, your cheat meal should not be an insane amount of calories.

For example, you shouldn’t eat your full day’s worth of calories in one sitting.

For us, this pizza replaces one to two meals for us.

Based on this, our daily calories are still right around where they need to be.

One of our goals is to shift your mindset towards food, so you can incorporate and enjoy an occasional cheat meal through the week, like we do.

Remember, Living Lean 365 days a year is a lifestyle.

It’s not about only eating healthy food, like chicken and broccoli, 365 days a year.

You could do that if you want, however when you’re Living Lean, you also have the flexibility to incorporate cheat meals, if your mindset is disciplined enough.

Always Drink A Lot Of Water After Your Cheat Meal

One more thing to keep in mind when eating processed foods like Domino’s pizza is they are very salty.

Therefore you need to hydrate with more water.

When we have pizza, we usually drink at least a liter of water afterwards before we go to bed.

If you don’t drink a lot of water after a cheat meal, you’ll wake up in the middle the night feeling like you are in the Sahara dessert, because you are so thirsty and parched.

I always have my 40 oz water bottle and Jessica has her 32 oz water bottle filled with water.

Sometimes we’ll fill it up twice because the hydration will really help us process all that excessive salt and get it out of our system quicker.

Ultimately, we enjoy having a dirty cheat meal like this every once a while but, there is no way we could do it every single night.

That would definitely ruin your results.

When you do a cheat meal once a week, it’s not a big deal since it is only approximately 4% of your diet.

Just make sure you hydrate and get back on track tomorrow, or ASAP after the cheat mean is done, then you’ll be okay.

If your cheat meal is later in the day, don’t eat anything else for the rest of day.

For example, we’re now done eating for the day.

Body Recomposition Descending Ladder Workout #3

Welcome back to the gym.

Once I finish my pre-workout drink, I’m going to take you through today’s descending ladder body recomposition workout.

This is day 5 of the Live Lean Shred journey, and the third workout from the Afterburn 1.0 body recomposition workout plan.

I guarantee 99.6767% of people have never done this style training before.

This workout would even kick superman’s butt.

Warm Up

First, don’t be a meat head.

Go do this warm up before every workout in this body recomposition plan:

Repeat this circuit twice without breaks for a total of 4 minutes.

What Is A Descending Ladder Workout?

A descending ladder workout is a type of exercise routine where you start with a higher number of repetitions for a particular exercise, then progressively decrease the number of reps in subsequent sets.

This format can be applied to a single exercise or a series of exercises in superset, tri-set, or circuit format.

This structure not only helps in maintaining a high intensity workout, but also provides a psychological boost as the number of repetitions decreases, making it feel more achievable as you progress.

The goal is to challenge your muscles and cardiovascular system by gradually reducing the workload, which can help maintain intensity and improve endurance.

Single Exercise Descending Ladder Example

When completing a 5-4-3-2-1 descending ladder for a single exercise such as the dumbbell forward lunge, you’ll complete:

  • 5 reps on your left leg, then 5 reps on your right leg
  • 4 reps on your left leg, then 4 reps on your right leg
  • 3 reps on your left leg, then 3 reps on your right leg
  • 2 reps on your left leg, then 2 reps on your right leg
  • 1 rep on your left leg, then 1 reps on your right leg

Do not rest or pause as you transition to the lower rep numbers.

This is one continuous set.

Essentially it is 15 reps per leg, but since we’re doing it in descending ladder format, thus it’s mentally easier.

Multiple Exercise Descending Ladder Example

Completing a descending ladder workout for multiple exercises involves performing each exercise in sequence, starting with a higher number of repetitions and gradually decreasing the reps in each subsequent round.

Here’s how you can structure it:

Superset of 2 Exercises:

  1. Hand Walkout
  2. Push Up

6-5-4-3-2-1 Descending Ladder Structure:

  1. Round 1:
    • Hand Walkout: 6 reps
    • Push Up: 6 reps
  2. Round 2:
    • Hand Walkout: 5 reps
    • Push Up: 5 reps
  3. Repeat all the way down to 1 rep

Single Exercise Descending Ladder A

Let’s jump right into it.

A1. Forward Lunge

The first exercise is the dumbbell forward lunge, following a 5-4-3-2-1 descending ladder:

  • 5 reps on your left leg, then 5 reps on your right leg
  • 4 reps on your left leg, then 4 reps on your right leg
  • 3 reps on your left leg, then 3 reps on your right leg
  • 2 reps on your left leg, then 2 reps on your right leg
  • 1 reps on your left leg, then 1 reps on your right leg
  • Rest:
    • The 5-4-3-2-1 descending ladder is one continuous set, so no rest when transitioning between rep changes
    • 45 second rest between sets
  • Sets: 3

Coaching cues:

  • Complete all 5 reps of the forward lunge with the left leg, then switch to complete all 5 reps on the right leg, then immediately move back to the left leg and complete 4 reps per leg, without resting.
  • Continue this protocol as you transition to 3 reps, to 2 reps, then finish with 1 rep per leg.
  • Once again, no pausing when transitioning between rep numbers.
  • You should start to feel the burn once you hit 4 reps per leg.
  • Another good thing about descending ladders is it only gets easier as you go, since the number of reps are going down every set.
  • Mentally, this makes it easier.
  • Your legs should now feel juiced after that since one set took approximately 1 minute and 10 seconds.
  • Take a 45 second rest to catch your breath after each 5-4-3-2-1 descending ladder, then repeat for a total of 3 sets.
  • Once you complete 3 sets, take a 45 second rest, then move on to circuit B.

Descending Ladder Superset B

One set of the following 6-5-4-3-2-1 descending ladder superset will take approximately 2 minutes and 20 seconds.

You may hate me after this one, but your body is going to love me.

Your arms will be burning in such a good way after this.

It will also really work your whole body, especially your core.

Descending ladder superset B is comprised of the following exercises.

B1. Hand Walkout

The first exercise in this 6-5-4-3-2-1 descending ladder superset is the hand walkout.

  • Reps: 6-5-4-3-2-1 descending ladder
  • Rest: 
    • The 6-4-3-2-1 descending ladder is one continuous set so no rest when transitioning between rep changes
    • 45 second rest between sets
  • Sets: 2

Coaching cues:

  • Start on your feet, then bend forward to place your hands on the floor, while maintaining a straight back.
  • With your abs on and core tight, walk your hands out to bring your body into a straight arm plank position.
  • Hold for a brief moment to squeeze your core, then walk your hands back towards your feet.
  • That’s one rep.
  • Repeat for a total of 6 reps.
  • After the 6th rep, rather than standing back up, walk your hands back out to get into the top of the push up position and complete 6 push ups.
  • Once you complete 6 push ups, immediately walk your hands back in towards your feet and complete 5 hand walkouts.
  • After the 5th hand walkout complete 5 push ups.
  • Repeat this descending ladder superset for 4-3-2-1 reps.
  • Once you get to the 3 rep round, it becomes easier since you’re on the home stretch.

B2. Push Up

The second exercise in this 6-5-4-3-2-1 descending ladder superset is the push up.

  • Reps: 6-5-4-3-2-1 descending ladder
  • Rest: 
    • The 6-4-3-2-1 descending ladder is one continuous set so no rest when transitioning between rep changes
    • 45 second rest between sets
  • Sets: 2

Coaching cues:

  • Once again, after the 6th rep of the hand walkout, rather than standing back up, immediately walk your hands back to get into the top of the push up position and complete 6 push ups.
  • Once you complete 6 push ups, immediately walk your hands back in towards your feet and complete 5 more hand walkouts.
  • After the 5th hand walkout immediately complete 5 more push ups.
  • Continue to repeat this descending ladder superset for 4-3-2-1 reps.
  • Take a 45 second break after the 6-5-4-3-2-1, then repeat one more time for a total of 2 sets.

Since this is a challenging descending ladder superset, you only need to complete 2 sets.

Beginner Modification: if starting at 6 reps is too challenging, start the descending ladder at 4 reps and complete the 4-3-2-1 ladder.

However, if you really want to push yourself, and see where you stand today, start the ladder with 6 reps.

I want to push you throughout these 42 days to your new body.

Let’s go.

After you finish your last set, take a 45 second break before moving into descending ladder tri-set C.

Descending Ladder Tri-set C

This 6-5-4-3-2-1 descending ladder is set up in tri-set format.

This tri-set is comprised of the following 3 exercises:

  1. Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift
  2. Standing Dumbbell Bicep Curl
  3. Standing Dumbbell Shoulder Press

This tri-set will hit your total body, including your biceps, lower body, and shoulders.

Once again, complete 6 reps of the first exercise, then without rest, complete 6 reps of the second exercise, then 6 reps of the last exercise.

During this descending ladder, you will not drop the weight or let it leave your hands when transitioning between exercises.

This means you need to choose the weight based on the hardest exercise within the tri-set.

For these exercises the dumbbell bicep curl would be the most challenging exercise.

Based on this, pick a weight you can complete all the reps for the bicep curl, then use that same weight for all the other exercises.

C1. Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift

The first exercise in the 6-5-4-3-2-1 descending ladder tri-set is the dumbbell romanian deadlift.

  • Reps: 6-5-4-3-2-1 descending ladder
  • Rest: 
    • The 6-4-3-2-1 descending ladder is one continuous set so no rest when transitioning between rep changes
    • 45 second rest between sets
  • Sets: 2

Coaching cues:

  • During the dumbbell romanian deadlift, I see a lot of people looking in the mirror as they lower their upper torso towards the floor, which hyperextends their neck.
  • When your neck is hyperextended, it does not put your body in a good position to create optimal power and strength.
  • Focus on maintaining straight lines, with a neutral neck and flat back.
  • One way to check your form is to turn to the side, instead of cranking your neck up.
  • Press your hips forward at the top of the lift.
  • You should feel a good stretch in your hamstrings.
  • After 6 reps, immediately move into standing dumbbell bicep curls.

C2. Standing Dumbbell Bicep Curl

The second exercise in the 6-5-4-3-2-1 descending ladder tri-set is the standing dumbbell bicep curl.

  • Reps: 6-5-4-3-2-1 descending ladder
  • Rest: 
    • The 6-4-3-2-1 descending ladder is one continuous set so no rest when transitioning between rep changes
    • 45 second rest between sets
  • Sets: 2

Coaching cues:

  • After completing 6 reps of the dumbbell romanian deadlift, without rest or releasing the dumbbells from your hands, move immediately into the standing dumbbell bicep curl.
  • Focus on maintaining solid and stable upper torso, without swaying, when curling the dumbbells.
  • When you arm is fully extended at the bottom of the curl, flex your triceps, then curl the weight back up.
  • Once you can flex your triceps at the bottom, that’s when you know you have taken the bicep curl to it’s full range of motion.
  • Once you complete 6 reps, move directly into the standing dumbbell shoulder press.

C3. Standing Dumbbell Shoulder Press

The third and final exercise of this 6-5-4-3-2-1 descending ladder tri-set is the standing dumbbell shoulder press.

  • Reps: 6-5-4-3-2-1 descending ladder
  • Rest: 
    • The 6-4-3-2-1 descending ladder is one continuous set so no rest when transitioning between rep changes
    • 45 second rest between sets
  • Sets: 2

Coaching cues:

  • After completing 6 reps of the standing dumbbell bicep curl, immediately transition into the standing dumbbell shoulder press, without resting or letting the weights out of your hand.
  • During the standing shoulder press, make sure you keep your glutes firing by squeezing your butt cheeks.
  • This will make sure you protect your lower back.
  • Complete 6 reps, then immediately transition back to the dumbbell romanian deadlift for 5 reps.

Once you complete 6 reps of the biceps curl, shoulder press, and deadlift, immediately complete 5 reps of each exercise, then repeat this descending ladder tri-set until you get down to 1 rep.

That’s one set.

Take a 45 second rest and repeat one time, for a total of 2 sets.

After you finish your last set, take a 45 second break before moving into the workout finisher.

Workout Finisher: 7-6-5-4-3-2-1 Descending Ladder Superset D

For the workout finisher, complete a 7-6-5-4-3-2-1 descending ladder superset comprised of the following exercises.

Let’s finish this bad boy off.

Get ready to feel the burn.

D1. Jump Squat

The first exercise in this 7-6-5-4-3-2-1 descending ladder superset is the jump squat.

  • Reps: 7-6-5-4-3-2-1 descending ladder
  • Rest: 
    • The 7-6-4-3-2-1 descending ladder is one continuous set so no rest when transitioning between rep changes
  • Sets: 1

Beginner modification: If this is too difficult for you, or you have bad knees, complete bodyweight air squats.

D2. Jump Lunges

The second exercise in this 7-6-5-4-3-2-1 descending ladder superset are jump lunges.

  • Reps: 7-6-5-4-3-2-1 descending ladder
    • These reps are total reps, not reps per leg.
    • For example, count 1,2,3,4,5,6,7, then you’re done.
    • Feel free to complete it per leg if you want to make it even.
  • Rest: 
    • The 7-6-4-3-2-1 descending ladder is one continuous set so no rest when transitioning between rep changes
  • Sets: 1

Beginner modification: If this is too difficult for you, or you have bad knees, complete alternating forward lunges.

There you go.

This what we’re talking about when it comes to cardio.

This Afterburn 1.0 body recomposition workout plan is the ultimate package as the workouts include both cardio and weights.

This is the program for you if you hate boring cardio on traditional cardio machines.

When you follow quick afterburn style workouts like this, you do not need it.

You’ll be building muscle and strength with weights, while keeping your heart rate up with cardio based plyometrics, and keeping rest periods short.

Hopefully you enjoyed this Afterburn workout.

You’re doing awesome.

Keep it going.

Note: after filming me, Jessica got inspired and started doing jump squats and jump lunges with baby Kyla.

Kyla loves all the hopping and working out.

You know what they say: A fit family stays together!

Next Workout: Strength Circuit Workout #4 | Body Recomposition Workout Plan

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