Workout Details

  • Duration: 12 Minutes
  • Calorie Burn: 144-216
  • Difficulty: 5/5
  • Equipment: No Equipment
  • Training Type: Cardiovascular
Body Focus Total Body

Fast Paced High Intensity Workout - Descending Ladder of Pain


Sometimes you need to mix it up a bit and this video does just that. Most of our routines here at Fitness Blender use a interval style with some kind of break in between sets allowing you to recover, even if for just a few seconds, to more efficiently maximize your time by not completely exhausting you.  This video, on the other hand, is meant to do the exact opposite.  

Instead of focusing on efficiency to get a longer workout in, this routine focuses on trying to burn your body out in whatever way it can. It not only attacks the muscles endurance but also your cardiovascular system by making your lungs burn from fatigue.  Though this is not a type of training that is most efficient at keeping you going for a long high calorie burn workout it is a great routine to use if you don't have a lot of time and you want to quickly exhaust your body or use it as a finisher after another workout that leaves a little behind.

This is intended not to build a massive amount of strength or even burn a huge number of calories (though it does pretty well for such a short routine), it instead is intended to challenge your body's ability to push through anaerobic activity, activating your lactic acid system in almost every muscle in your body.  The pace is supposed to be just over your maximum cardio threshold forcing you to breath as quickly and as deeply as possible but never quite being able to recover.

Now most people will find that this routine gets them to their maximum just fine as is and may even need to skip reps to keep up with our pace.  However, a small population may find that it's not as challenging as it is intended to be. For those of you who feel like that, start adding weight. You can use anything that is most comfortable to you, though we suggest a weighted vest. You can also easily modify most of the exercises to use dumbbells, a medicine ball, or sandbag.  The point is do whatever you need to, to increase or decrease the difficulty so you are hovering just over your maximum so that your body can't continue after that last repetition.

Though short, this program actually burns a high number of calories. On the low end the average is around 12 calories per minute and on the high end you can burn up to 16 calories per minute. That gives you a total burn of 144 to 216 calories for this 12 minute routine.  Keep in mind that to be closer to the high end burn you will most likely need to use extra weight.

Workout Structure:

For this workout you will be doing 4 exercises in a descending ladder with no breaks.  Start with 10 repetitions per exercise for the first round then each round after that, decrease your repetitions by one until you finish your last round with just 1 repetition per exercise. Remember, there is no rest in between exercises or rounds, once you finish one exercise just move on to the next.


Side Lunge with Reach
Push Up
Jumping Lunge (alternating)