Pros: Great workout in a short time, whole body workout!
Cons: Unable to figure out the heart rate tracking system; can't tolerate using it very long!
I first had the opportunity to see the Jacob's Ladder in action on The Biggest Loser TV program several months ago...you may have seen it, too. It was intriguing. I recently had the opportunity to try it out for myself at my local recreation center!
It's basically a machine that has wooden rungs, like a ladder does. The rungs move continuously, much like a treadmill wheel does, as you climb them. Let me tell you how the system works, though: Before you step onto the first rung you affix a waist belt to your waist. The belt has adjustments for various heights (from just below 5' to well over 6'). The belt is attached to a tension line that tells the machine to either move faster or slow down. The more tension on the line, the faster the machine goes, and the more slack on the line the slower it goes. Once you step onto the first rung the rungs move smoothly and continuously under your feet. You have the option of holding the rungs higher up on the machine with your hands (simulating climbing a ladder) or holding onto large metal bars on the outer edge of the machine (like hand rails in a stairway). In either position your body is pitched forward at a pretty intense angle. As mentioned above the pace increases or decreases depending on how much tension is on the line. If you are keeping a good, steady pace and climbing higher on the rungs the speed will move quickly.
There is a great output and tracking screen on the Jacob's Ladder, too. The screen has many different settings that include counting the steps, tracking the number of flights climbed, the amount of time, calories burned, etc. The written material with the machine (directions, safety warnings, navigations buttons) was very comprehensive and the output screen very easy to read. It was well within my reach, too, despite sometimes being at the bottom rungs of the ladder!
There was one thing I could not figure out on this machine, however: how to get a heart reading. Many machines in the gym help you track your beats per minute to help determine if you're in the correct range for cardio or fat burning. The screen said it could measure this, but I could not find any sensors on the system anywhere. Since this was a gym system, and not my own product, I am not sure if the heart monitors were a separate feature (or add on feature) that was not present on this system.
I am a gym rat--I like to run, bike, use the elliptical machine, rowing machine and weight systems. I spent several hours at a time at the gym. I would say that I am in decent shape and have a pretty good stamina. THIS MACHINE KICKED MY BEHIND!!! I was only able to tolerate several minutes on this machine before my heart was pounding, my legs were burning and I was out of breath! I used my arms, legs, back, and everything else in one motion on one machine! It was THE BEST workout I have ever gotten in one machine in a very short time frame. I have been back on it every time I have been back at the gym, and have had the same reaction to it. I notice a difference, however, in my body and from my scale just from adding a few minutes of the Ladder into my routine. WHAT A GREAT SYSTEM!