Fuse Ladder FAQ

New to the Fuse Ladder? Read on to find out more about our unique and challenging workout and get tips for making your first session a success.


Where else can I take Fuse Ladder classes?
Nowhere. The ladder is unique to Fuse. The apparatus and workout were created by Fuse Pilates founder Mariska Breland and senior instructor Addie Ungaretti as a way to incorporate the most challenging and beneficial aspects from different regimens like Pilates, yoga, barre, and interval and resistance training programs.

The result is a single apparatus that delivers a full-body workout to address all the elements that are essential to a healthy, fit physique, like strength training and functional fitness, balance, flexibility, cardio, and core work.

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Find out how to bring the Fuse Ladder to a studio near you

What is a Fuse Ladder class like?
Every Fuse Ladder class starts with a climbing warm-up that consists of full-body, cardio-based moves to get your heart rate up and your muscles ready to work. After that, we start standing arm and leg work (squats and lunges like you’ve never experienced before), followed by balance challenges using spring weight much like TRX training uses straps.

Fuse Pilates

Standing exercises with springs will challenge your balance while you work your arms, legs, and abs.

After that, we move on to abdominal and glute work that’s done lying down (think crunches, roll-ups, and shoulder bridges on steroids), then throw in some more balance challenges (because they challenge the brain, too!), and eventually finish out the main portion of class with additional standing or side-lying exercises depending on the requests of the class (if you’ve never done kneeling sidekicks on the ladder, you don’t fully understand how deep the burn can be).

The last few minutes of class are dedicated to hanging, which is done to strengthen your upper body and abs (it’s great stretch, too!). We always allow time at the end for additional stretches on the ladder.

I don’t think I’m strong enough to hang. Can I still take this class?
Absolutely! The hanging portion of class includes challenges for the upper body and abdominals using the top rung of the ladder, which looks similar to a pull-up bar. These exercises are only performed during the last few minutes of class, and of course, hanging is always optional. All of our instructors offer alternative exercises for students who have injuries or for those who simply prefer not to hang, as well as modifications for beginners so they can begin to build their upper body and core strength.

Fuse Pilates Ladder Hanging

Don’t fear the hanging bar – it’s fun!

One tip for beginners: don’t be scared! We always encourage injury-free students to give these exercises a try. The teachers and students who take Fuse Ladder classes regularly have all reported that they were shocked at how quickly these exercises helped them build their upper body strength. After your first attempt, it might seem like you’ll never be able to hang on to the bar for more than a few seconds, but we guarantee that you’ll gain strength and stamina with regular practice and feel a noticeable difference after just your few first sessions. Plus, you’ll feel wonderfully stretched at the end of class!

You should be able to lift your own body weight. Can you?

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Is Fuse Ladder safe for people with shoulder/arm/upper back injuries?
Yes. While the ladder is great for working your arms, back, and shoulders, every Fuse Ladder workout incorporates a range of moves to deliver a full-body workout, so there will be plenty of exercise options for those who feel they should avoid certain areas or movements. That means lots of work for your abdominals, hips, glutes, and legs from a wide variety of positions (standing, sitting, prone, supine, side lying, and more) so that there is something that is accessible to anyone and everyone who is looking to get fit and healthy.

Abs Fuse Ladder

Safely add resistance to core work with the addition of weighted springs.

The versatility of the Fuse Ladder is by design. We wanted to not only create an apparatus and workout that addressed the issue of workout monotony and results plateaus for those looking to quickly and efficiently increase their level of physical fitness, but one that also accounted for students who are looking for a safe and effective way to create or maintain a workout regimen while they manage injuries and other short term or chronic issues that limit only certain aspects of their capabilities. Just because you face challenges or limitations with specific body parts or exercises doesn’t mean you can’t exercise at all!

Fuse Pilates Ladder

Can’t do push-ups? We have plenty of other ways to train your abs, arms, and shoulders.

One of our favorite features of the Fuse Ladder is the ability to do incline push-ups and planks. These exercises are a great way to build upper body strength for those who struggle with wrist pain in a traditional push-up position as well as those looking to safely build core strength while they work up to planking, such as post-op or pre- and post-natal clients.

Fuse Pilates Ladder

Build up your strength with variations on traditional exercises.

The ladder is also infinitely adjustable, so there are several options available to challenge a full range of capabilities with each exercise, such as reducing spring resistance or eliminating springs entirely from arm work to make it accessible for those with arm injuries or weakness.

If you have a particular injury please contact us prior to your first session so that we can do our best to design a class that will allow you to safely participate in as many exercises as possible.

Are there other injuries that might prohibit me from taking a Fuse Ladder class?
If you have a very serious rotator cuff injury, ladder might not be the best option for you. However, we may be able to modify certain exercises for you or suggest other Fuse classes that will be a better fit. Please contact us directly so we can discuss your options and make recommendations based on your specific needs and goals.

Is Fuse Ladder a traditional Pilates class? Is it the same as ladder barrel?
No. The Ladder Barrel is an original Pilates apparatus designed by Joseph Pilates in the early 1900’s. It is used for a variety of exercises that are challenging and effective, but few of them align with the exercises we do in our Fuse Ladder classes. The only true similarity between the Ladder Barrel and the Fuse Ladder is that both maintain a focus on the six Pilates principles, particularly the focus on core and shoulder stability.

The Ladder Barrel looks quite different from the Fuse Ladder. [Image via Pinterest]

The original Ladder Barrel. [Image via Pinterest]

How much Pilates experience do I need to have before I can take a Fuse Ladder class?
No previous Pilates experience is required! Newbies are welcome, and like every Fuse class, our instructors are trained to be able to modify or provide alternatives for a variety of skill levels and physical abilities.

The workout will be challenging, but that’s the goal. You will get stronger and see more progress the more you practice.

What is the difference between a Level 1 and Level 2 class? How do I know which is best for me?
The main difference is intensity. Both classes include a variety of exercises to target every part of your body, but the exercises in Level 2 classes will require more strength or stamina to complete and include more challenging variations at a quicker pace for those who have already mastered the basic moves.

Fuse Pilates Ladder Magician

Learn to fly in Level 2!

Every Fuse Ladder class is meant to be challenging and every Fuse teacher is trained to offer modifications to escalate the challenge for advanced students, so if you’re unsure of which class is right for you we recommend starting with a Level 1 session. That said, if you’re experienced with Pilates or other fitness disciplines and you know you’re ready to get your ass kicked, we encourage you to sign up for a Level 2 class and will be happy to oblige!

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Will Fuse Ladder classes help me lose weight?
The goal isn’t weight loss, but combining cardio and strength training is an effective way to burn calories and build muscle, which can lead to losing pounds and inches. This method is also a proven way to increase energy and boost metabolism that you will burn more calories even when you’re not working out (yes, even when you’re sleeping!).

What should I wear? Do I wear shoes during class?
We recommend the same attire for a Fuse Ladder as for all of our classes: something that is comfortable that you can safely and easily move around in while you wear it. Certain moves may require you to lift your legs above your head, so if you feel uncomfortable in loose or baggy shorts or shirts in these positions we recommend choosing something that can either be tucked or that fits snugly enough to stay in place in lifted or inverted positions. We do not wear shoes during the class, but if you experience issues with bare feet during the climbing portion of class you can wear them during that time. We recommend working out with bare feet as much as possible to improve your balance.

How often can I take Fuse Ladder classes?
It depends. You will see the fastest results if you take at least two classes per week, but the ideal number is different for everyone and based on a variety of factors.

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I’m new to Pilates/Fuse Ladder/working out and I’m a little nervous about looking silly. Any tips for people who are self-conscious about trying something new?
No need to worry! First, we pride ourselves on creating a welcoming community where students from every background and ability feel included and encouraged. Fuse is a judgement-free zone — all we care about is that you show up and try your best. Remember, each and every person who is in class with you was a beginner at some point (maybe even that very same day!) so they know what it feels like to take the first step up on the ladder.

Climbing Fuse Ladder

Cardio climbing to kick off class!

Secondly, most students are concerned with their own feats and form, so it’s highly unlikely that they are worried about your performance because they’re focused on improving their own. And, for a final bit of good news, many of the exercises on the ladder are done facing the ladder (including the cardio climbing segment that kicks off each class), which means that the other students in class can’t see you. It’s just you, the ladder, and your determination to get fit and have fun.

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