Build muscle and burn fat at home with this 7-move bodyweight ladder workout

This 10-minute workout is not for the faint-hearted, but it can help you burn upwards of 200 calories in just 100 minutes while also building muscle

Young woman using laptop for doing home workout
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Is there a way to maximise workout time without sacrificing results? Sure there is! Try this 10-minute bodyweight ladder routine featuring seven tried-and-tested moves, including push-ups, squats, crunches and more. And no, there is nothing wrong with crunches as long you perform the exercise correctly. Despite the shortness, the workout can help you burn tons of calories and even build muscle – here is how.

Straightforward it might be, bodyweight training can be highly time-efficient and effective in improving stamina, body composition and even heart health. Research from 2021 concluded that "simple bodyweight training – requiring minimal time commitment and no specialised equipment – can enhance cardiorespiratory fitness in inactive adults. These findings have relevance for individuals seeking practical, time-efficient approaches to exercise."

This is a ladder-style bodyweight workout, meaning you'll add one more exercise in each set to the ones you already did in the previous sets. The first set is one exercise, the second is two, the third is three and so on. There are no rest periods between exercises within the set; in the seventh set, you perform all seven exercises without a break.

Fear not, as you'll only do one exercise for 20 seconds, and there is a 20-second break between sets. That said, this is an intense workout, and we don't recommend it to people who are new to workouts. They should try the best bodyweight workout for beginners or the best callisthenics workout for beginners. The exercises featured in this workout are:

  • Prisoner squat – Hands behind your head!
  • Push-up
  • High-knees – Adding some cardio
  • Single-ler-raise crunch – A variation on the standard crunch
  • Side-to-side push-up – Walk your hands one 'step' to the right/left before each push-up
  • Mountain climbers
  • Split squat

Please note: swap prisoner squats to jump squats in the last set if you're up for the challenge! For more bodyweight action, check out this T3-exclusive 15-minute bodyweight workout for strength or this 15-minute fat-burning bodyweight workout. Although you won't need any equipment, we recommend a decent pair of trainers, and those can be found in our best workout shoes and best cross-training shoes guides.

Matt Kollat
Section Editor | Active

Matt Kollat is a journalist and content creator who works for and its magazine counterpart as an Active Editor. His areas of expertise include wearables, drones, fitness equipment, nutrition and outdoor gear. He joined T3 in 2019. His byline appears in several publications, including Techradar and Fit&Well, and more. Matt also collaborated with other content creators (e.g. Garage Gym Reviews) and judged many awards, such as the European Specialist Sports Nutrition Alliance's ESSNawards. When he isn't working out, running or cycling, you'll find him roaming the countryside and trying out new podcasting and content creation equipment.