The Salmon Ladder

All about the Salmon Ladder from a scientific perspective!

Let’s talk about the Salmon Ladder exercise for a moment.  It’s an explosive full-body exercise that challenges so many muscles and skills – core muscles, pull-up muscles, grip strength, stability, and hand-eye coordination. ALL AT THE SAME  TIME!

So whether you’re a Ninja Warrior enthusiast or training your way to the next season, this article is for you!

How can I progress in achieving the Salmon Ladder?

Well, this is where it gets interesting. The first step to mastering the Salmon Ladder is perfecting the standard pull–up. This will lead you to the next step – the explosive pull–up, which means disconnecting the hands when at the top and the re-gripping the bar on the way down. The Salmon Ladder requires a combination of upper body strength and core body strength to pull the body up and move the bar up to the next rung.


Which muscles are used in the Salmon Ladder exercise?

By looking at the list of active muscles, the simple answer would almost be all of them. But not really. The Salmon Ladder exercise requires an explosive movement that challenges the shoulder extensors to pull the body up, hip flexors for momentum, core to maintain stability, and wrist flexors to keep holding the bar. The momentum comes from the hip flexion. The main hip flexors are the iliopsoas muscles. As the legs lift, the abdominal muscles work statically to stabilize the spine and then dynamically to tilt the pelvis.


salmon ladder


Avoid this common mistake!

Because it is such an explosive movement, the risk of injury is significant. Using Kipping Pull-ups to create momentum can pull your gravity line backward. The correct way to execute this move is by executing it with control and strength rather than momentum.


There’s another significant component of success that we have yet to discuss. Determination and will power are particularly important in achieving your goals. Whether your goals regard your own strength training or your coaching career, you need to invest the time and set your intentions the right way.


Sign-up for FREE to the Strength Training app and watch our educational videos with common mistakes, correct techniques, variations, important tips, and more.

To learn about more nuances that will make a big difference in your strength training session, check out the Strength Training App today!



At Muscle and Motion, we believe that knowledge is power, and understanding the ‘why’ behind any exercise is absolutely essential for your long-term success.
Let the Strength Training App help you achieve your goals! Sign up for free.





Muscle and Motion
Muscle and Motion
“Muscle and Motion” is one of the most complete resources on muscular and anatomical dynamics in the world. Our staff includes physical therapists, movement experts, fitness trainers, and highly skilled animators. This enables us to provide you with the most advanced and accurate programs in the world of movement anatomy.