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Ladder leads to fitness, agility

  • COURTESY CHRIS RANES
    The Jacob’s Ladder is “like a torture device, but a fun torture device,” says MMA champion Reno Remigio Jr.
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Depending on your attitude toward exercise, a climb on Jacob’s Ladder could be equivalent to the biblical stairway to heaven that gives the device its name, or a piece of hell on earth.

Trainer Chris Ranes has been using the stairlike machine to train elite athletes since January, and he’s ready to unleash it on the public, offering two free open house sessions at 6 p.m. today and 9 a.m. Saturday at Fitness Ranes Training Studio at McCully and King streets.

Jacob’s Ladder comprises a set of wooden rungs on a looped circuit set at a 40-degree incline, so climbers go nowhere but get a good workout in the process.

The user’s body weight and speed propel the nonelectric machinery, so the faster one climbs, the faster the ladder works.

When I heard about the ladder, I thought endless climbing would be a boring, mindless task, but it requires concentration and coordination, particularly when you graduate from holding onto stabilizing side bars to grabbing the rungs and working arms and legs the way one would climb a real ladder.

Unlike a real ladder, there’s little risk in falling. When you stop climbing, the device stops its rotation.

As a literal 98-pound weakling, I was at a disadvantage trying the machine, needing to work much harder to get the rungs going. When working at peak speed, two minutes on Jacob’s Ladder is a lot, according to Reno Remigio Jr., a mixed martial artist recently named 808 Battleground 155 Pro Champion who trains with Ranes and has been enlisted as a trainer himself.

“You want to see how fast you can propel this machine in a set amount of time,” Ranes said. Because the challenge is so personal, “it’s like a torture device, but a fun torture device,” Remigio said.

Jacob’s Ladder has been used on the TV reality show “The Biggest Loser,” and fits with Ranes’ aim of directing people toward fitness regimens that work all muscle groups because “the muscles don’t work in isolation in daily life,” he said.

Fitness Ranes Training Studio is at 930 McCully St., Suite 203, above Camellia Buffet. Call 398-4931.

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