The Salmon Ladder

The Salmon Ladder

All about the Salmon Ladder from a science-based view


Let’s talk about this exercise for a moment. 

It’s an explosive full-body exercise that challenges so many skills – the core, the pull-up muscles (including the grip), stability, and eye-hand coordination. ALL AT THE SAME  TIME.

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


How can I progress in achieving this exercise?

Well, now it’s getting 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 arms at the top and re-gripping 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 active muscles list, the simple answer would almost be all of them. But not really.

The salmon ladder exercise requires an explosive movement which challenges the shoulder extensors to pull the body up, hip flexors for momentum, core to maintain stability, and the wrist flexors to keep holding of 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.

Avoid this common mistake

Because it is such an explosive movement, the risk of injury is significant.

Using Kipping Pull-Ups for creating 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. The power of will is 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.


Target Muscles

➔ Latissimus Dorsi

➔ Iliacus

➔ Psoas major

➔ Abdominal muscles



➔ Teres Major

➔ Posterior Deltoid

➔ Trapezius

➔ Rhomboids

➔ Triceps Brachii, Long Head

➔ Pectoralis Major



➔ Abdominal muscles

➔ Pelvic Diaphragm (male)

➔ Diaphragm

➔ Multifidus (Spinal Erectors)


Check out our Strength Training app to increase your knowledge, made especially for fitness professionals!


How to Squat Properly

Anatomical Analysis

The Eccentric Biceps Curl

Eccentric Training to Build Strength

How To Lift Heavy Objects Safely

Avoid Lifting Injuries