Conquer The Salmon Ladder In Three Simple Steps

The Perfect Guide to Conquering The Salmon Ladder- America Ninja Warrior.

Conquer The Salmon Ladder

This past summer instead of focusing on increasing my bench press or how far I can run I decided I would Conquer the Infamous Salmon Ladder.

For those of you who do not know what this is here’s a look.

“Wow, That’s amazing I can’t possibly do that”

Of course you can! I used to think that too but its actually a lot easier than it looks. The training to conquering the salmon ladder is simple too. Anyone with access to pull up bar and a chair can preform a salmon ladder pull up. No, to good to be true? Well guess again because thats all I used to perfect this exercise.

Are you ready to learn how to “Conquer the Salmon Ladder”? Yes? Let’s go!

The first thing that you have to do is build up strength. This is where the pull ups and the chair come in. First set a goal, what day you would like to attempt the salmon ladder (what if I don’t have a salmon ladder click).

I would suggest giving yourself three weeks, this lets you build your strength up as well as your confidence.

Step 1 Pull Ups

Good old fashion’d pull ups. Pull ups are the perfect exercise to train because, well because its one of the main movements of the exercise. There are three types of pull ups to focus on.

  • Shoulder width Pull Upssholder

Wide Grip Pull Upswide-grip-pullups-back1

  • Near Grip Pull Upsnear-grip

On each exercise do a maximum number of pull ups. Till you can’t move up anymore. It is important to get the most out of these reps, especially the last few, thats where your muscle really gets stronger.

To start off just do each one of these exercises 1 or 2 times giving yourself a minute or two to recover. (example: preform wide grip till exhaustion take a 2 minute break then preform near grip till failure recover repeat) Conquer!

Step 2 Negatives

Now that you have the hard part out of the way begin working on your “negatives”.

Negatives are among the most powerful training techniques for rapid strength gains. Learn how to do them effectively without a training partner. (source

Negative training, also known as eccentric training, involves loading a weight movement in only the down or muscle-lengthening phase.


This causes the muscle to be under tension for a longer time, thus resulting in strength gains. These types of eccentric exercises can be used for any body part, they just particularly work well for conquering the salmon ladder.

What to do.

This is where a chair comes in handy.

  1. Place the chair at the bottom of the pull up bar.
  2. Place your hands in the “Wide Grip” position.
  3. Jump up/ pull yourself up till your chin is above or near the bar.
  4. Now in a slow and controlled motion, lower your body back down. (It is important that this motion is controlled, no swinging around)
  5. Repeat until muscle exhaustion.

Step 3 Core & Leg Swing

We saved the best for last. This portion is the key to conquering the salmon ladder. If you watch someone accomplish a successful salmon ladder pull up, you can easily notice that they really aren’t using “correct form” and you’d be right. They are not using the correct pull up form however, they are using a correct form for the salmon ladder.

To conquer the salmon ladder you must increase your plyometric abilities.

What are Plyometrics?

Plyometrics, also known as “jump training” or “plyos”, are exercises in which muscles exert maximum force in short intervals of time, with the goal of increasing power (speed-strength).

Athletes use this type of training for gaining short quick bursts of speed and power. Guess what, you’re an athlete too. At least now you are, training to conquer the salmon ladder.

To increase your plyometric abilities for this exercise we will focus on our legs and core.

Here’s what to do

  • While hanging on the pull up bar bring your knees to your chest in a quick motion.


  • Repeat this process several times in order to train your neuromuscular system to react to the motion.
  • After you feel confident in this motion try and preforming a pull up when your knees are pulled close to your chest. (this motion forces your momentum upwards, when added with a pull up during the end of the motion not only will the pull up be easier, you will find yourself bringing your chin way above the pull up bar!



Well, there you go! Now you have all you need in your arsenal to conquer the salmon ladder. The combination of strength training (Pull Ups, Negatives) and Plyometric training (Core and Leg Swing) will help you to conquer the salmon ladder.

Let me know how you do using this program. Post on social media and use #ConquerSalmonLadder and I will look you up!

Thanks again, Lift Learn Love your Body.

Additional Workouts

If what I included doesn;t work for you its ok, here are few articles that I found extremely helpful when I was preparing to conquer the salmon ladder

How To Build a Salmon Ladder

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