The Versaclimber is the perfect machine to upgrade your cardio workouts

Looking for a way to revive your cardio sessions? Try a Versaclimber class for a full-body, low-impact workout.

For many people, cardio often falls to the bottom of your to-do list. Finding a form of cardio that you enjoy and don’t get bored of can be tricky – many of them involve performing repetitive moves like putting one foot in front of the other.

Fortunately, you’re no longer limited to the treadmill or the crosstrainer, as a whole host of new cardio machines are popping up that help you to diversify your workout routine. These include the StairMaster and a machine known as the SkiErg that mimics the motion of skiing. On top of this, there’s the Versaclimber, a machine designed to mimic the natural motion of climbing.

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Climbing has become hugely popular in recent years. According to a 2021 report from the Association of British Climbing Walls, around 1 million people take part in indoor rock climbing each year with approximately 100,000 people describing themselves as regulars at the sport. It’s no wonder that so many people are taking to it – it’s a great full body workout that targets muscles that activities such as running and cycling don’t engage. And it’s fun too.

The Versaclimber allows you to reap the rewards of climbing without using a climbing wall or trekking to an actual mountain. The machine is available in a number of gyms and there are even classes dedicated to the Versaclimber too, like Sweat BXR, a London-based boutique gym offering the first ever versa-climber classes, and US-based Rise Nation’s group classes.

“What’s unique about the machine is that it’s designed to mimic the natural motion of climbing and allows for a full body cardio workout, which you don’t get with a spin bike or treadmill,” says Alex Nicholl, the managing director of Sweat BXR.

Here’s everything you need to know about the Versaclimber, including how to get started and the benefits…

What is the Versaclimber?

The Versaclimber is a 75-degree vertical machine with two pedals for your feet and handles to hold on to. You pedal your feet up and down while your hands also rise and fall.

You can move your feet as fast or as slow as you want, depending on how intense you want to make the workout, and you can also alter the resistance on the machine.

“There are a number of variables that can be tweaked on the machine, including handle height, stroke length and resistance to customise your experience on the machine,” Nicholl explains.

What are the benefits of the Versaclimber?

The Versaclimber is a full body workout, targeting the arms, shoulders, back, abs, glutes and legs. “Unlike treadmill or spin classes, this workout is both low impact and full body, minimising unnecessary stress or trauma to your body,” Nicholl says.

Because your feet never leave the pedals during Versaclimber workouts, this exercise is very kind to your joints – perfect for anyone with knee injuries. In fact, it could be a good way to recover from an injury: “The Versaclimber was designed and created with advice from osteopaths and physiotherapists who use the machines to help people back from injury or surgery to get moving again in a safe and controlled way,” Nicholl says.

The way your arms and legs move in time with each other mimics the “natural movement pattern of the human body” according to Nicholl, which means it doesn’t put any unnecessary pressure on the body and your muscles.

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Is the Versaclimber suitable for beginners?

A vertical machine might look a little bit intimidating, but the Versaclimber is absolutely suitable for beginners, whether you’re using it alone or in a class.

Sweat BXR’s classes are called Climb To The Beat and merge exercise with movement to keep you motivated. “The class provides an introduction to the Versaclimber and its ability to provide a safe, full-body workout within a fast-paced, high-energy class format,” Nicholl says.

You can take as many breaks as you need while exercising on the Versaclimber, whether you’re training on your own or in a class. As a beginner, interval training is a good way to ease yourself into using the machine, so you ensure you’re not overwhelming yourself and are also getting enough rest.

Images: Sweat BXR

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