Vertical climbers are cardio machines that mimic a climbing movement, creating a full-body workout.
Jake Gyllenhaal used them a lot when getting in MMA-fighter-shape for "Road House," his trainer said.
Vertical climbers are the most efficient machines for building fitness, a VersaClimber trainer said.
If you want to improve your cardiovascular fitness while also getting in shape, a vertical climber could be the piece of gym equipment for you.
Also known as VersaClimbers, the machines mimic a climbing motion thus creating a full-body workout. Keeping your torso upright, you hold on to handles and place your feet on pedals, and then just climb away, taking as big or as small steps as you decide.
VersaClimber classes were a key part of Jake Gyllenhaal's workout regime while getting into MMA-fighter-shape for upcoming film "Road House," his trainer Jason Walsh told Insider.
Walsh owns Rise Nation, a boutique workout studio that runs VersaClimber classes in four US locations as well as the Philippines and Australia. Gyllenhaal regularly went to the New York studio while training for the movie, Walsh said.
"Babies learn to crawl, right? That's exactly what you're doing on a VersaClimber," said Walsh, who described the movement as "primitive."
Alex Nicholl, director of luxury gym BXR, agreed, telling Insider that many people find that the motion of the VersaClimber feels natural, while providing a good workout that doesn't put stress on the joints like running does.
BXR has locations across London, UK, as well as in Doha, Qatar, and Daios Cove, Greece, and their signature "Climb to the Beat" VersaClimber classes are inspired by Nicholl's previous career in nightclubs, featuring LED strip lighting and dance beats.
In London, attendance at the classes has increased from 1,500 people when they launched in 2017 to 8,000 people climbing in 2022.
It's popular not just with athletes and everyday gym-goers but also high-profile people such as British Vogue editor Edward Enninful, singer and former One Direction star Liam Payne, and socialite and model Emma Weymouth, Marchioness of Bath.
Here are three benefits of using a VersaClimber.
The VersaClimber allows your heart rate to reach new heights
The VersaClimber requires coordination because opposite arms and legs are used simultaneously.
"It is the only piece of cardio equipment that actually utilizes both hemispheres of the brain," Walsh said.
However, the potential cardiovascular benefits are the biggest draw.
Part of the reason for this is that reaching overhead makes the heart work harder to pump blood round the body, Nicholl said.
While VersaClimbers primarily build cardio fitness, by holding your entire bodyweight there is also some resistance involved, meaning the core has to be engaged.
VersaClimber workouts are low-impact
Unlike running on a treadmill, VersaClimber workouts are both low-impact and full-body, minimizing unnecessary stress or trauma to the body.
In fact, it was after struggling with running injuries that Nicholl first tried a VersaClimber.
"I was running day in, day out," he said. "My knees were shot, the impact was hitting me." But Nicholl was "addicted" to high-intensity workouts.
"I wanted high intensity and high energy, I just didn't want it with impact," Nicholl said. The VersaClimber ticked those boxes.
Beginners and pros can use VersaClimbers
As well as allowing already fit people to push themselves harder, VersaClimbers are a good option for people who are new to fitness because you can make it as hard or as easy as you like by taking bigger or smaller steps, Nicholl said.
Nicholl said he's seen many people who lack confidence in the gym build their fitness up in VersaClimber workouts and then branch out to other activities. However, it takes most people three classes to really "get" it, he said, because they can can just seem like "torture machines" at the start.
Common mistakes are gripping the handles too tight, starting with the handlebars too high, which can cause overstretching, sticking the butt out and/or leaning too far forward, which can lead to back pain, and keeping the feet static, which can trigger pins and needles, Nicholl said.
But once you've got it down, many people get hooked and their results speak for themselves, Nicholl said.
"The VersaClimber wins in terms of efficiency and calorie-burn per minute, nothing touches it," Nicholl said.
Read the original article on Insider