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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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June 17, 2015

The Greatest Piece of Exercise Equipment Ever Invented

By Mark Sisson
148 Comments

Screen Shot 2015-06-12 at 9.40.24 AMNot the barbell. Not the bicycle. Not the rower, the Airdyne, not the pullup bar. I’m talking about the Smith Machine, of course, specifically the squats and curls you can do within its elite confines.

Just kidding. It’s the Versaclimber, folks: the most brutally effective piece of fitness equipment you’ll ever use (but probably haven’t).

Most people don’t know about it because no one talks about it, few use it, and gyms don’t stock more than one if you’re lucky. Is this because it’s a useless piece of machinery? No. The Versaclimber is almost too good, too effective, too intense an experience for most people. The few that have used it almost invariably quit because it’s so hard. And gyms don’t have many because they can’t convince people to use it, to actually go all out like they’ve never gone all out before.

The Versaclimber and I go way back. Back in 1992, I actually set the (unofficial) world record for the mile climb on one, doing 5,280 feet in 22:40, a 232 feet per minute average. The craziest thing about that mile was that I wore a heart rate monitor and held 186 beats per minute for the entire ride. To put that into perspective, by then I was in my late thirties and had already had a full career as an elite endurance athlete (both marathons and triathlons), yet I’d never held my heart rate that high for that long. Nor since.

And in the last year, I’ve rediscovered it after a (too) long absence. Man, have I been missing out.

I’ve always said it’s the greatest piece of cardio equipment ever devised. I can think of nothing that gets your heart rate higher quicker. And it does so with very little unneeded stress or pounding on the joints. You are using both lower and upper body and since you’re upright, the heart is having to pump a bit more uphill to feed the arms. It’s a true total body workout — arms, trunk muscles, legs, glutes, and cardiovascular system are all called upon. Best of all, the work is spread out over the body, so you’re able to tax your entire system to a greater extent than if you were generating all the power with, say, just the legs (on a bike or treadmill).

You can adjust the stride length to make it so that you torch your glutes or, if you prefer, focus on the quads and calves. You can focus on the upper body, really stretching it out so every stride is like a single-armed supported pullup. In my opinion, that makes this the premium full-body glycogen depletion tool. Anyone interested in really emptying their reserves (say, a cyclic ketogenic dieter preparing for a refeed) should hop on the Versaclimber for a depletion workout; no muscle group gets passed over on these things.

How do you use a Versaclimber?

It’s one of the more intuitive cardio machines. Step with the left leg as you pull with the left arm, then switch. (Or do “cross crawl” climbing pattern depending on which model you have access to and which pattern you prefer.) Like the stationary bike, it’s hard to mess up on the Versaclimber.

Today I primarily use it for intense intervals, doing a minute hard with a two minute rest for six rounds – or doing 1,000 feet hard with a four minute rest for three or four rounds. On the tougher ones, I’m getting my heart rate up to 170 and holding it there, well beyond my 61 year old theoretical max of 159. Occasionally, I will just get on and hold a steady pace for 3-4,000 feet as a time-trial or “tempo” workout.

There are some other options, too:

Reverse tabatas: 10 second all-out sprint, 20 second active rest for 8 rounds.

Tabatas (if you’re game): 20 second all-out sprint, 10 second rest for 8 rounds.

Sprint snacks: 5 seconds on, 5 seconds off for as long as you can.

Is it just a Stairmaster?

No, emphatically. Stairmasters are cool, but the steps move on their own and you have to keep up. With the Versaclimber, you move the steps; they wait for you to initiate the movement. You have to be motivated, then, to train on this machine. You can’t just go through the motions because you are creating the motion.

My Versaclimber is fixed resistance, but models with adjustable resistance exist. I find the fixed resistance to be plenty hard, and I’m using it mostly for the cardiovascular benefits/sprinting, so I’m not looking for a strength session. Your mileage may vary. You could always wear a weight vest, I suppose.

This is such a ball-buster that I don’t do it more than once a week, sometimes once every two weeks. I still sprint, but the Versaclimber has replaced some of them. It’s just too “gentle” on the joints while being absolute hell on the muscles (all of them) and cardiovascular system to ignore. If you’re at all leery about running all-out sprints, or you have confirmed injuries that sprinting exacerbates, this might be the thing for you. Like any piece of cardio equipment, it’s a tool in your arsenal that can be used to increase fitness when deployed appropriately — but can also be abused in a chronic cardio sort of way, which I have seen happen. I still wear a heart monitor when I use a Versaclimber and can sometimes scare myself at how hard I can work when I choose to. I think that’s a good thing, provided I am attuned to my level of fitness and recovery. I’d recommend that anyone who pushes the limit on the Versaclimber also wear a heart rate monitor if they aren’t completely in tune with their body’s limits and recovery needs, just to be safe.

I so believe in the efficiency and effectiveness of the Versaclimber — when used appropriately, not to excess — that I invested in a gym in L.A. called Sirens and Titans that offers group workouts using the Versaclimber that put other group cardio classes to shame. I’ve gone through a couple of them and, well, I try to find excuses not to go back.

If you can find a Versaclimber at your gym, give it a go. If you find one cheap on Craigslist, or you have the money to spend on a brand new one, pick one up. I have one in my home, which the good folks at Heart Rate Inc who make the machines were kind enough to give me. Since it’s vertical, it actually doesn’t take up much space — about four feet by four feet. You can easily stick one in a corner without it sticking out too badly. Just make sure you use it to train, not hang clothes!

So let’s hear from all of you. Anyone used a Versaclimber? If you haven’t you really should. I’d love to hear all about your experiences with the machine.

Thanks for reading, everyone.

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148 Comments on "The Greatest Piece of Exercise Equipment Ever Invented"

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Dan
Dan
1 year 3 months ago

I climb wind turbines for a living, and the free workout is one of the best parts of the job. 250 ft. straight up and my fastest time is 2:59…..any other climbers out there think that the versaclimber might be a little generous in it’s distance tracking?

darcy cook
darcy cook
1 year 3 months ago

mark i agree with you 98 percent of the time , my age is 60 i own and opperat a gym your wrong this time the gratest exercise equipment , is a leg press machine that is well designed. i would give brand names but i dont know if that is alowed. in other words strength , training equipment thats been enginered corectly is no dought the numer one peice of equipment , and leg strength traing is the most inportant!

darcy cook
1 year 3 months ago

mark your eating knowlage is asume, but not so much on exercise equipment , i have 35 years in that knowage, cardo. exercise is highly over raided. food the what a person eats and strenght traing aka muscle all you need , and o a gym membership. peace

Jay
Jay
1 year 3 months ago

If you’ve read a lot of mark’s exercise articles, I think you’ll find he’s pretty big on strength training. I’m pretty sure he puts walking, sprinting, and lifting heavy things ahead of cardio. It’s just that there is a place for cardio (in this example, once or twice a week?).

Bill Jurgens
Bill Jurgens
6 months 24 days ago

Mark,
I’m curious as to which leg press machines you recommend and why.
Thank you,
Bill

Gary Packman
1 year 3 months ago

For SM and CM models the error in distance measurement indicated on the display equals plus 2.401 inches per 1000′ (binary to decimal conversion in the software) and plus-or-minus 10 inches per 1000′ due to hysteresis in the sensor. The sensor error tends to balance out to zero over time as it is totally up to chance when the stroke reversal gets tallied. Generally speaking the actual measurable error over a 10,000 foot climb is less than two feet.

Gary Packman
Electronics Engineer
VersaClimber.com

Dan
Dan
1 year 3 months ago
Hey Gary, thanks for the reply. Let me ask you a question. Lets assume someone in decent shape, (30 years old, 185 lbs, 18 minute 5k row, and a regular versa climber user) does a 250 ft. sprint. What do you think their time would be? That same guy, being a regular ladder climber, (straight up, 12 inch rung spacing, hitting every other rung, left hand right foot & vice versa, kinda like the versaclimber) would be hitting between 2 and 3 minutes on a good day. Based on Mark’s one mile time, I’m guessing the sprint time on the… Read more »
John
John
1 year 3 months ago
Dan, to answer your question somewhat. I have a vc with variable resistance. On the easiest setting, which is what the non variable models are set at, it is nothing like climbing a ladder. First it is at about 70 degree angle, and it has virtually no resistance. As you put your foot down, the step just slides down with almost no resistance so you are not lifting your weight. Not sure why people say they only last a minute or two the first time they try it. I never had any issues. If you crank up the resistance you… Read more »
Jim
Jim
1 year 3 months ago

Sure I’ve seen one. Julia Roberts’ husband used one in “Sleeping With the Enemy” right before he started hitting her!

Not saying there’s a connection… 😛

Tonya
1 year 3 months ago

Ha! That’s what I was thinking the whole time I was reading this article.

Jim M.
Jim M.
1 year 3 months ago

Haha…Sleeping with the Enemy was the first image that came to mind when I first started reading this article.

MarkyMark
MarkyMark
1 year 3 months ago

Woo!! They come with a Julia Roberts??? Where can I get one??

amy
amy
1 year 3 months ago

I haven’t seen one in over twenty five years, a gym I used to go to had one. I used it a few times…

Keith
Keith
1 year 3 months ago

I remember using those things when I was in the Marines, in the 90’s and they are awesome. I have tried finding them in the various gyms I have gone to since, but have never been able to.

John
John
1 year 3 months ago

I’ll stick to using my stairs. They are inordinately cheaper!

Cheers.

Shary
Shary
1 year 3 months ago

+1.

I usually do better if I don’t rely on expensive equipment in order to get exercise.

OnTheBayou
OnTheBayou
1 year 3 months ago

Great upper body workout, right? Did you really read the article?

Dane
Dane
1 year 3 months ago

When I saw your teaser email I knew that it had to be the Versaclimber. Haven’t been on one since the mid-1990’s. Never seen one here in Europe. People are missing out. If the Airdyne can make a comeback, this is definitely worth reviving. Would love to see it updated with a bluetooth interface, power meter, HRM display, multiple configurable workouts, and competition software like Concept2 has for their rowers.

Lynn
Lynn
1 year 3 months ago
I used a Versaclimber back when I lived in So Cal in the late ’80’s. The gym I went to had three of them propped up against each other. I think I saw one other person using them – one time. People would talk to me about it, but no one would jump on it. My first time on it, I could only do three minutes, and then I was exhausted! Had to quit. From that point, I worked up to 45 minutes, changing the length and speed of my stride in order to do it. Your’re right Mark, it… Read more »
Dave Gay
Dave Gay
1 year 3 months ago

Lynn, which model did you purchase please?

Lynn
Lynn
1 year 3 months ago

I believe it was the 108LXP. It has the adjustable tension and heart rate monitor. And it was not cheap!! But I do love it, even for a quick 5 minutes.

Aaron Blaisdell
Aaron Blaisdell
1 year 3 months ago

I thought the answer was “my own body”. It’s incredibly versatile, and I bring it along everywhere I go.

Jeroen
Jeroen
1 year 3 months ago

My body was my first thought too.

Joelle
Joelle
1 year 3 months ago

My thought, too!

Lynn
Lynn
1 year 3 months ago

My original thought was the same!

Mike k
Mike k
1 year 3 months ago

Right on. There is no exercise with out the only machine you’ll ever need!!

Lois
Lois
1 year 3 months ago

Completely agree. Best gym equipment ever! I love it…and hate it in equal measure.

PattB
1 year 3 months ago

Wow, just watched a YouTube video. Looks amazing.

Scott 2
1 year 3 months ago
Hi Mark, How cool that you “exposed” this fantastic piece of equipment. I totally agree that it is The best piece of fitness equipment. I was involved in some of the initial testing at a huge gym in OC in the 80’s, where a small group of us we’re put through tests before & after a 6-8 week program. The results were very impressive. I used one to train for a par-course-type competition in Dallas which I did very well on. There’s so much variability on this thing, as you mentioned, and once a person establishes a smooth technique, in… Read more »
Robert Stone
Robert Stone
1 year 3 months ago

The Versaclimber! Isn’t that what Drago is shown using to train for his fight with Rocky Balboa in Rocky 3? Totally remember that…and if that’s what Dolph Lundgren used to get in his remarkable shape, then I’m all in. Great article Mark!

Becky
Becky
1 year 3 months ago

You machine looks to be a standard crawl. Do you have any recommendations for standard crawl vs. cross crawl (as defined at the versa climber.com site -http://versaclimber.com/cross-crawl/). Cross crawl seems to be more the more natural movement.

thanks!

Mark Sisson
1 year 3 months ago

Becky, either one is great. I prefer the standard because I can ascend faster on it. The cross crawl might be a more “natural” animal-like movement pattern, but I went with experience here and stuck with what I was used to.

Teri
Teri
1 year 3 months ago

Love the Versaclimber!! Used it regularly for years when I lived in SoCal. The gym in Seattle I belonged to had one, but it closed. Have not found another gym that has one. In fact, gym personnel give me a blank look when I ask about it. I have joint issues and I was able to get a great workout on the VC with no joint pain. Maybe time to buy one.

Adam
Adam
1 year 3 months ago

The poor man’s(woman’s) Versaclimber:

— buy a 4-pack of furniture sliders for about $12
— find a carpeted area about 8′ x 4′
— get prone like a pushup
— place a slider under each hand and foot
— slide one hand above your head while bringing the alternate knee towards your chest
— repeat with the opposite hand and knee
— continue alternating hands and knees at an increasing pace
— stop when your heart explodes (it won’t take long)

bcflyfisher
bcflyfisher
1 year 3 months ago

Awesome idea! The only reason I read the comments section was because I knew someone would have a DIY solution.

Thanks!! (from another Adam)

LindaG
LindaG
1 year 3 months ago

Great idea! This sounds like a brilliant alternative.

wildgrok
wildgrok
1 year 3 months ago

My version is still cheaper: does not use the sliders
Same movements, alternating facing sky/floor every 25 meters
AKA crawls 🙂

Beau
Beau
1 year 3 months ago

Is having tension control worth the extra money? Seems like almost a 2G difference to get to that option.

Mark Sisson
1 year 3 months ago

Yeah, most people I know (and most gyms) don’t really use the added tension.

John
John
4 months 18 days ago
I used to work in a facility that had one and had 2different workouts: at the time I was 200 pounds at 6’2″ 1- I got this from Strength coach at Penn State- 20 minutes full out no tension max distance- this one got heads turning cause of the foul noises I used to make from 15 minutes on- trying to keep 175 feet /minute- it was a b1tc4! I would try to match or beat it once a week- 4000feet was the goal- didn’t always make it:-( 2- was how long it took to do a mile5250 feet- this… Read more »
Tracy
Tracy
1 year 3 months ago

There seems to be more and more emphasis on this site on unnatural exercise recently. There’s no purpose to this other than, well exercise! If you go out and get one, I bet it’ll be sitting in your garage this time next year with you only having used in once or twice …..

Dave Gay
Dave Gay
1 year 3 months ago

Mark,

I’ve been WAITING for this article from you! RE: Versaclimber. I know from post that you’ve used one for sometime and highly recommed! However, I am going to purchase one and would have after reading about them thank to you, but when I go to the Versaclimber website to order and am confused as to which model to purchase. Can recommendation, please? Thanks Dave G

Mark Sisson
1 year 3 months ago

The H or the ALX are great choices.

Claude
1 year 3 months ago
Soooooooo funny! Just goes to prove my contention that 99.9% of people will opt to fool themselves by invariably choosing the easiest way out. They’ll walk for hours on a TM while reading magazines or watching pointless reality TV like the ‘Biggest looser’ (while holding on), or mindlessly repeating ad nauseum those ridiculous chopped steps on the Stairmaster, (again holding on, and again riveted to mind-numbing reality TV [which has nothing to do with reality]). Having been a trainer in countless gyms in the late 70s, 80s, 90s, and 2K, I’ve seen the rise of all the kick-ass machines and… Read more »
John
John
1 year 3 months ago
Well, well, aren’t we judgmental! Helping the “fat and out of shape masses” has been an important theme of Mark’s blog for years. Treating people in a demeaning and dismissive manner has never been his approach, and I hope never is. Perhaps you *are* just a a studly specimen of male strength (and ego!) with an incredible work ethic which puts the rest of us to shame. Or… perhaps you were just fortunate in your genetics, your early life experiences, your education, environment and interests, and have reaped the benefits in your own pursuit of health. Or something in between.… Read more »
Jay930
Jay930
1 year 3 months ago

+1 John, thank you for that! Compassion goes a whole lot farther than judgmental snarkery

Cthulhu's Mum
Cthulhu's Mum
1 year 3 months ago
Thanks for this. I, too, have noticed that Mark is very non-judgmental, and I like that about this site. I also wanted to point out that the “lazy fatties” trope is kinda backward. I mean, I weighed ~270lbs at the start of the year, and I played contact sport and was active with it. I thought I was pretty strong – but it was a LOT of work to maintain any fitness at that weight. [In case anyone was curious, I’m 6’1, so it was a BMI of about 36 – morbidly obese, so yes, maintaining the ability to run… Read more »
John
John
1 year 3 months ago

Cthulhu’s Mum – congrats on that weight loss!

wildgrok
wildgrok
1 year 3 months ago

Cthulhu’s Mum: your is the coolest handle I have seen !

Jed
Jed
1 year 3 months ago

“hours on a treadmill reading magazines”

which would be much better for you than lying on a couch watching tv, or even reading or blogging. Actually, their low-level constant motion is better than working too hard. Their “laziness” is allowing them to move their bodies, at least. And I think you generalize about them “all” being fat. Being a little overweight is not the end of the world.

Dan Hig
Dan Hig
9 months 10 hours ago

Elite athletes are only ‘elite’ because they are in a minority. They are in a minority because what they do is extremely painful. It’s totally logical ‘most’ people wouldn’t opt for the toughest gym machine – duh! But your point about America being fat is off – we all know 80% is what you eat. So I don’t see the point of your rant.

Joey
Joey
1 year 3 months ago

Would you recommend Jacob’s Ladder as a potential option? They have one of these in my complex and all of the movement is determined by the user.

Jim M.
Jim M.
1 year 3 months ago

I was going to say the same thing. The Jacob’s ladder has me gasping for air in a short amount of time. Very similar motion.

Dr. Mark
1 year 3 months ago

I hear that. Time never moves so slowly as when I’m on Jacob’s Ladder. And it seems like I’m the only one that ever uses it.

Dick Dasbutch
Dick Dasbutch
1 year 3 months ago

so much for 5 essential moves, first one disappeared, now the remaining 4. Mark are you selling out? This piece of equipment will cause much stress, much like chronic cardio on a treadmill….I’m sad, Boo, Mark.

Mark Sisson
1 year 3 months ago

Like I said, I only use it once in a while. It’s a precision tool.

Dee Jaye Stearns
5 months 20 days ago

Dear Mark,
What are your sentiments on the “Helix Stair Climber”???
Sincerely,
Dee

pdiddy
pdiddy
1 year 3 months ago

also featured in the move K2. The one guy had one in his law office. He’d take short breaks and just jump on it for a few. I think that would generate some stares where I work!

Mark
1 year 3 months ago

Hi Mark,

Yeah, great piece of kit, but, available to most people, I suggest not ! Just googled this and the basic model is lots of £££. ! What about making a more realistic suggestion that most people can afford !! Dont think I’ll be buying myself one….unless of course you fancy shipping me your freebie !? Suggest that they might have given you this to promote…..!! I like the independent viewpoint on exercise equipment !! (Of course, if wrong, please correct me)

Cheers,

Mark

Shary
Shary
1 year 3 months ago

I checked too. The higher quality versaclimbers retail for $2,000 to $3,000+ in the US. There are cheaper ones available for around $250, but they look too flimsy to be very stable.

Karen
1 year 3 months ago

I think Mark was just sharing good information. It would be nice if everyone who wanted one could afford to buy one; however, just because I personally would not choose to purchase one, by no means should that stop Mark from letting us all know the benefits of this amazing machine. In fact, I may decide to buy one for my primal living, walking/sprinting/heavy thing lifting hubby! Some things are worth paying for.

Here’s to good health no matter what avenue you choose!

Julie Wyatt
Julie Wyatt
3 months 10 days ago

I bought a used Versaclimber SM model ($4695 retail price) for $1000, only used a few times, it is like new. Love it. I have been looking for a while and was really happy to find it.

Diane
Diane
1 year 3 months ago

The shoes you are wearing do not look like zero drop. Have you changed your thinking on minimalist shoes?

tw
tw
1 year 3 months ago
In my opinion, the Concept 2 rowing ergometer is the finest piece of exercise equipment ever made. This in spite of the fact that I often see it used improperly at virtually any gym I have ever been to. How can I say this? Try some rehabilitation on the machine from the article vs the C2. Every muscle group, joint and the cardiovascular system is used on the C2. It may not be as hard or onerous overall, but that suggests the potential for a long term relationship with the benefits of using it. The description of the machine in… Read more »
Marc
Marc
1 year 3 months ago

First one I saw was in the movie K2. Tried one at my previous gym and loved it. Brutal. They didn’t maintain it. Haven’t seen one in years. They are pricey. Thanks for the article.

Sarah Lynn
Sarah Lynn
1 year 3 months ago
Wouldn’t a rope ladder attached to a tree or ceiling be a better option? Less expensive, more adaptable? I know that you couldn’t climb as high without a lot of ingenuity, really tall trees or ceilings, or climbing down first. But you would end up having to use your core to self stabilize going up and down the ladders and play with different hand and foot positions or not using your feet at all as you climb the ladder. It also allows both a standard or a cross “crawl” climb. To me climbing a rope ladder seems a little closer… Read more »
Todd
Todd
1 year 3 months ago
+1. Rope climbs are awesome! FWIW, I worked as a personal trainer at Gold’s Gym in SD while in college. We had a couple of VersaClimbers there. I used it quite a bit and would pore sweat when using it. It is for people (like I was, and am still sometimes) who like to push their limits. Who like to suffer. There is a special place/feeling that you go to when you really suffer physically. It’s what IronMan athletes experience physically (there are other elements to IronMan, not slamming it). But, there is this really strong endorphin (and other stuff)… Read more »
Sibyl
1 year 3 months ago

You should check out Rise Nation in West Hollywood. It is a studio that only has Versa Climber classes. I believe they are all 30 minutes long. I went once and had one of the hardest workouts ever.

Edie
Edie
1 year 3 months ago
One of the things I like most about the Paleo movement, and MDA in particular, is its emphasis on `simplify`. Natural & Easy over Machines & Complicated. This incredibly bulky and clunky contraption might as well be the very antithesis of that. It reminds me of those late-night infomercials selling you the perfect six-pack abs machine, which surely enough will be sitting in your garage accumulating dust in a few months, tops. IMHO, the best piece of equipment for workouts is called ‘ground`. It`s available wherever you are, and it costs zero. Virtually ALL the exercises you`ll ever perform require… Read more »
Todd
Todd
1 year 3 months ago

Amen! Mark needs to make a living! 😉

Tim
Tim
1 year 3 months ago

Agreed. Except for the “…best piece of equipment for workouts is called ‘ground`.”
“Best combination of equipment ‘body & ‘ground’. Always was, always will be”

🙂

Marko Hansen
1 year 3 months ago
A friend forwarded me a link to this article and asked me the differences between VersaClimber and CycleClimber. Here is my reply: The big difference between the VersaClimber and the CycleClimber. Aside from the dual-rotary action that CycleClimber uses, which provides for a greater and more natural range of motion, the dual-independent flywheels enables a user to work the upper and lower body not only simultaneously, but INDEPENDENTLY too. The latter is a huge benefit. Think about this. Your upper and lower body MOVE INDEPENDENT of one another, yes? Hence, they should have their own flywheel. With VersaClimber, they are… Read more »
Animalcub
Animalcub
1 year 3 months ago

What about the cheaper climbers? Any difference between the versaclimber and different cheaper models?

Cathy
Cathy
1 year 2 months ago
I’ve purchased an EverYoung 73500 (also known as an Infinity 73500 climber) second hand and although it’s a good climber it is very old and the original rubber wheels are falling apart. Finding replacement wheels is a real bummer – we found some wheels but they are flat surfaced and not rounded like the originals – and making them work has involved using washers and jerry rigging the wheels so that they sort of work. I am looking at purchasing a brand new Steel Climber http://steelclimber.com I like how you can easily switch between cross-crawl and regular stride but It… Read more »
tom
tom
1 year 3 months ago

Wow, the old Versaclimber. Haven’t seen one in ages…and never outside of a gym. Kinda pricey, eh? Used it in the gym, when I used to go to gyms, and when they were working properly…but it bored the snizzle out of me. And I was using them when I used to rock climb so it was great for that…but like all repetitive equipment I grow bored after 20 -30 mins and thats me pushing it for that much time.

Try running up a truly steep hill…on your hands and knees…more fun and fresh air too.

Dan
Dan
1 year 3 months ago

Anyone else ever try a rom machine? Another killer low impact full body workout. Even more expensive than the versa though.

Kim
Kim
8 months 30 days ago

I have a ROM machine quickgym.com and have used a versa climber as well…LOVE the ROM only 4 brutal mins and range is 36inches with resistance -legs sometimes can not take 4mins and very winded during like VC…the cons are the size and price but if u have the room and cash def get one…got mine used for less than half of $15k retail price

Kelly
Kelly
1 year 3 months ago

Mark, this seems like it would be a great option in the wintertime here in CT when we are snowbound, and it would fit well in my small-ish apartment, too. I’ll definitely keep it in mind, especially as a rock climber! I really hate the treadmill and the elliptical. Thanks for putting this recommendation out there.

Kelly

Daryll Krivanos
Daryll Krivanos
1 year 3 months ago

Love the Versa Climber… It’s been a while though & though I’m no record holder, I am a “mile high” member who’s beat 30 minutes for that distance. Thanks for the reminder… I have to get back to it!!

Dave Gay
Dave Gay
1 year 3 months ago

Received this VersaClimber sales agent Richard: The H and HP model VersaClimbers are the only units with the cable and pulley system. All other VersaClimbers, including the ALX have a steel chain and sprocket system.

Simon Pride
Simon Pride
1 year 3 months ago

The very first gym I ever went to (between Kew and Richmond in West London, when I still lived in the UK) had – as Mark says – exactly one. I was always the only one to use it. I was given it as part of a routine by my first gym instructor who – unlike most staff instructors – listened, cared and explained. I never managed more than two minutes on it. Everything Mark says is true; it’s murder, but adding it to my workout got me fit and shedding weight in no time at all.

Alex
Alex
1 year 3 months ago

Didn’t Drago use something like that in Rocky IV?? And therefore – if US, anti-communist propaganda is to be believed – everyone should just run up snowy mountains 1-2x weekly in order to get cut and eventually defeat your opponent!

peter
peter
1 year 3 months ago

for a tenth of the cost the schwinn airdyne can produce killer results as well.

Ben
Ben
1 year 3 months ago

“The few that have used it almost invariably quit because it’s so hard.”

Shouldn’t the best exercise equipment be like the best exercise–whatever exercise you can stick with?

Rick
Rick
1 year 3 months ago

I’d like to have one of these, and I can afford one, but I kind of resent the price in terms of what you get. I sense a huge markup.

Dave Gay
Dave Gay
1 year 3 months ago

Here’s the quote i received from VersaClimber

ALX VersaClimber, Commercial, Chain Drive,Fixed Resistance $3,095.00
Floor Mat (Normally $79.95) Free
10% Discount (309.50)
Sub-Total $2,785.50
My State Tax 0.00
S/H $388.50
Total $3,174.00
50% Deposit
NOTES: Set Up Is Customers Responsibility. Allow 2-3 Weeks Lead Time

Kelly
Kelly
1 year 3 months ago
I’m not understanding all the hate going around for this post. He’s just suggesting and talking about a piece of equipment that people may enjoy. No one anywhere is saying you have to buy this. The snark is unnecessary. I enjoy hearing about different types of equipment and workouts because one size does not fit all and sometimes you just get bored. I will row all day and I would use this too if my gym had one. It’s versatile in that like Mark said. If you have joint issues it allows you to get a more then solid workout… Read more »
Teri
Teri
1 year 3 months ago

+1

Shary
Shary
1 year 3 months ago

I think “hate” is much too strong a word, Kelly. I’ve read the comments and saw only one that was kind of hateful–actually more arrogant than hateful. Most of the people who have commented are just pointing out the drawbacks of this particular piece of equipment. Mark does invite feedback, you know. That usually means both positive and negative.

Kelly
Kelly
1 year 3 months ago
It’s clearly a generational gap Shary. Using the word “hate” in the figurative sense is what I did, not in the literal sense (despite that the dictionary now says they’re the same thing because people have used literally and figuratively interchangeably and incorrectly for so long). Inflection is hard to pick up online, of course. And yes, Mark is all about differing opinions and that’s cool, but complaining about price as if he is asking anyone to buy this is just a dumb thing to do. Comparing it to other workouts that are not the same in the least is… Read more »
Doc Randall
1 year 3 months ago

Grok on, Kelly! I would have never even considered this contraption if I’d not seen this post… now I have a much better idea about how cool it is! Mark’s not telling me (or anyone) to get it; he’s simply putting it in order that we be more informed.

Time Traveler
Time Traveler
1 year 3 months ago
Seriously? It looks like an awesome piece of equipment – aside from ah-mm… price tag and needed yard; and here I thought that the main idea behind emulating nature, was to use our own body weight, or at the very most, use a commonly available gear (like chin up bar etc’ in the park), or a make shift apparatus – like the Bulgarian lifting bag that cost peanuts to make. I created mine from a rubber tube that I got for free from the tire shop, filed with about 75Lb of sand that cost me a few bucks at the… Read more »
Gregg
Gregg
1 year 3 months ago

I would agree with what he is saying. Yes the equipment is expensive, but it is indeed an incredibly challenging workout in short time. Better than the airdyne for sure. Most bang for your exercise minute for sure.

Justin
1 year 3 months ago

Ahh I love this. I’ve had this on my to buy list for a while. I love the fact that it offers no impact on the joints. I’m you’re into that as well being a former long distance runner. This is one of the reasons I like rebounding as it has very little impact on joints as well. I’m going to have to pick one up!

Time Traveler
Time Traveler
1 year 3 months ago

Isn’t “impact” needed to build stronger bones? Not that I’m an advocate of long distance running. I switched to free lifting, bicycling and sprints.

Tim
Tim
1 year 3 months ago

“weight bearing” is probably more accurate. Don’t you stand on this thing?

Time Traveler
Time Traveler
1 year 3 months ago

I was referring to his running

Dave Gay
Dave Gay
1 year 3 months ago

All: Make sure if you are going to purchase one to check your ceiling height. I’d say at the minimum an 8ft ceiling is a MUST! As Maxwell Smart would say “Missed it by that much.” My basement gym ceiling height is: 7Ft 7inch. DARN! Since this is a good piece of quality equipment I would kill me to put it out in our garage w/ our winters. Dave “Maxell Smart Disappointed”

Matthew Zastrow
1 year 3 months ago

I’ll pass on this….. it is still a machine….

Climb trees
climb a class 4 or 5 mountain 😉
wrestle
swim
do gymnastics
or just play on a playground

(all of the above ideas are not on a machine….so they are not fair comparisons….but they are way more fun and prepare you for the real world)

steve
steve
1 year 3 months ago

I agree the versa climber is a heck of a workout machine. My former athletic club had several versa climbers. The hardcore were always on them and pushing.

Sure with the YMCA would dump all those useless elliptical machines and get at least a few versa climbers.

Jed
Jed
1 year 3 months ago

I’ll bet there’s a real cheap way to hack this idea, using a metal pipe and maybe different thickness rubber bands. I can see it in my mind… sorta.

Megan
Megan
1 year 3 months ago

Have you ever heard of skate skiing? Yes, you’re limited by the seasons, but you are guaranteed to be OUTSIDE! Skate skiers have the highest VO2 max and lifespans of endurance athletes, due in large part to the full body workout.

Vinnie
Vinnie
1 year 3 months ago

While I understand the sticker shock and the suggestion to just go out and exercise, I do appreciate hearing about different fitness equipment and options to workout and to play. Part of what I love about MDA are the ideas and options I’m exposed to that allows me to tailor TPB to fit my lifestyle. We’re not a cult. We do not have to do everything Mark talks about. I have yet to try paddle boarding or tight roping and I still haven’t been banned, lol!

Kelly
Kelly
1 year 3 months ago

+1 All day long

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