Even if you’re lucky enough to be a member of gym that has a VersaClimber the chances are you’ve never dared to use it. Let’s face it, trying new equipment is intimidating – it generally happens in front of others and involves a clear risk of looking very stupid indeed.
However, the VersaClimber is worth the risk because it can deliver a workout unlike anything you can get from other cardio machines.
“The key benefit of using a VersaClimber over any other cardio machine is that it provides a zero-impact, full-body cardio workout,” says James Pisano, fitness director at Sweat by BXR in London, which is offering group classes on the VersaClimber.
“It also burns more calories per minute than any other cardio machine, allowing you to condition your muscles while improving your cardiovascular fitness.”
The basic movement on the VersaClimber is simple to understand. You jump on and push the pedals with your feet and pull the handles with your hands. You can mix up the length of your strides and your pace to vary a workout, or take your arms off to isolate your legs.
The machine moves as fast as you do and instantly adapts to your effort level, which makes it ideal for interval training, especially since you can push yourself as hard as possible without worrying about impact injures. In fact, using the VersaClimber sounds like a fantastic idea for many reasons, right up till the moment you step on and realise just how hard it is.
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To get started on the VersaClimber try this 15-minute workout from Pisano. You may find the Intervals timer app useful to keep to the work periods – it’s one of our favourite workout apps.
1 Short strides
Before you hit the workout proper, warm up with three minutes of faster, shorter strides on the machine.
2 Duck walks
Hold the rails rather than the handles of the VersaClimber – this exercise is designed to isolate the legs. Drop into a deep squat, hold the postition then start stepping, driving your heel as low as possible with each step. Keep your head up and chest open as you go. Do this for four minutes in total, 30sec on and 30sec off.
3 Full range intervals
Now you’re ready to get your whole body moving, working in intervals of 45sec on, 15sec off. Start each interval with short, fast steps for 15sec, then move into full extensions where you open your reach with your arms and your legs fully while maintaining the pace. Do this for 15sec, then return to shorter steps for the final 15sec. Keep your head up and your body as straight as possible throughout.
4 Underhand grip
The change in grip means you’ll hit your biceps and lats harder, but the block works to the same timings – four minutes in total, broken down into 45sec periods of work and 15sec of rest. As with the normal grip, break the 45sec interval down into 15sec of short strides, 15sec of full extensions and 15sec of short strides. Make sure you pull in tight so your elbow gets as low as possible before pulling with the other arm.
The new VersaClimber group class at Sweat by BXR lasts 45 minutes and costs £30 (£15 if booked as part of a pack). bxrlondon.com