June 17 2015

The Greatest Piece of Exercise Equipment Ever Invented

By Mark Sisson
152 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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152 thoughts on “The Greatest Piece of Exercise Equipment Ever Invented”

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  1. 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?

    1. 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!

      1. 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

        1. 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?).

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

    2. 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

      1. 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 versaclimber would be about half that, though I’ve never used one.

        So that’s where I’m coming from. Equal parts of awe, at Mr. Sisson’s incredible endurance, and disbelief, at the thought of anyone being able to climb a mile straight up in 22 minutes. Just saying the mile on a vc might not be representative of a mile on a ladder. Not that your software’s calculations are inaccurate.

        Your thoughts?

        1. 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 can make it so that you can barely move the machine.this can turn it into a real strength workout. But it is a killer.
          I almost never use the easiest setting. To me it feels like you are just moving your arms and legs around in space.
          I do adjust the setting depending on the level of workout I want.
          An easier setting and go for an hour of easy movement at 80 to 100 vertical feet per minute.
          A slightly harder setting for a 15 minute workout.
          A easiercsetting for interval sprint or tabsta sessions.
          A hard setting for a strength session.
          Amy of these can leave you sore and drenched.
          I am disappointed in the electronics on it. Looks like 25 year old technology.
          You can adjust step height, step speed, foot position, and resistance to change up muscle groups and workouts.
          Great for use in sh**y weather but it can be hard to motivate youtself to get on it. It, like most machines, can be boring as well until you get into a routine.
          If anyone in calgary wants to try mine, just let me know.

  2. 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… 😛

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

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

  3. 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…

  4. 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.

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

    Cheers.

    1. +1.

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

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

  6. 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.

  7. 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 is the most amazing piece of equipment ever and I’ve never heard of anyone touting it.
    I ended up buying the home model – on cable – and hated it. It just didn’t work as smoothly as the chain model. When I moved to Indiana, I craved my old Versaclimber. They are based in Orange County, so I stopped by to see them while on vacation. They let me try one out and I purchased one on the spot.
    Love it again. I can even do sprints on it during the winter. Tough stuff, but awesome too.

      1. 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.

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

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

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

  10. 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 becomes almost hypnotic, (at least for me).
    You can put more or less emphasis on upper or lower body, as well as adjust the resistance, (if on a model that has this feature).

    Too bad the ones around seem to be getting little use, (although I can understand, since the 1st time on one lets a person know immediately that this thing is going to work you hard).
    Now, maybe we can get Andrew & Muriel on one to beat their pr on that famous climb around Aspen, (where Lance holds a record)!

    Thanks for exposes this great machine!

    S2

  11. 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!

  12. 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!

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

  13. 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)

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

      Thanks!! (from another Adam)

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

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

      1. 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 wasa longer but more ” leisurely pace 30-40 minutes depending on my energy level –

        I do miss it!

  15. 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 …..

  16. 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

  17. 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 their inevitable demise as the fat and out of shape masses migrate to something more tame worthy of their sordid work ethic. Of course, when the manufacturers realized this, they and Gyms also opted out because there’s no money in it (these hypocrites don’t want you to be fit, they want you to be fat, it’s great for business)!
    When I worked at Sports Club LA, I think they had 5-6 Versaclimbers, Sports Connection had 2, even Holiday Spa had 1.
    I used them extensively to get in shape for Hawaii Ironman 1981, (Mark, that was a great ? and answer session the next day with Dave Scott and company).
    America will get fatter, it’s inevitable I’m afraid!

    1. 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.

      But knocking people for trying, as best they know how (e.g. hours on a treadmill reading magazines) is certainly not going to help anyone. Perhaps you could channel all that energy into actually helping people.

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

      2. 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 1.5 miles in 12.5 minutes, do 25 pushups and hold a 120 second plank was difficult]

        I’ve since lost ~90lbs, maintaining most of my muscle mass (though not all – I was a pretty strong girl, and even though I was about 35% fat to begin with, I didn’t have 90lbs of it to lose), and I now am even more active – but it’s so easy. It’s like taking off the weight vest. I *feel* much lazier, even though most people see an increase in activity at this weight – but which is harder? Doing 6 hours of exercise a week, or doing 4 hours while wearing a 90lb weight vest?

        Fatties trying to maintain fitness are NOT lazy. Srsly.

    2. “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.

    3. 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.

  18. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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!

  21. 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

    1. 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.

    2. 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!

      1. 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.

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

  23. 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 the article seems to run slightly counter to the idea of making “exercise” fun, practical and desirable.

  24. 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.

  25. 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 to the idea of working out so that you can play. Also, it becomes a form of play.

    (I now have plans for building an Ewok village in my back yard for my nephews and me to play in. So thanks for an article that gave me more ideas for ways to play!) 🙂

    1. +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) high that you get when you go to the extreme physically. Some people are addicted to it.

      At some level, I think it brought back for Mark, the feelings he used to get when he did massive cardio work that drives one into this zone.

  26. 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.

  27. 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 this ‘equipment’. Even if you swim in a pool or the ocean, it still needs ground underneath it.

    Stick to ground, and you can`t go wrong. IMHO.

    But of course, that hardly makes for a juicy blog post these days.

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

      🙂

  28. 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 interconnected. This means (because it is a weight-bearing action) the upper body is merely going for a ride. The legs are doing the majority of the work.

    Yet, in theory, dual-independent flywheels sounds difficult, but if the height-adjustment and the two resistance knobs are set correctly, the user can get into a pleasant and natural synergistic rhythm. The zen of synergy is why two flywheels are better than one.

    See comparison:

    https://scontent.fphx1-1.fna.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xfa1/v/t1.0-9/10409592_10206064672289457_7684724817269942965_n.jpg?oh=47209fa6886cf50bc9dc95e28872ca26&oe=562F62F1

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

    1. 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 has to be wall mounted whereas the Versaclimber is freestanding
      It is about $1500. I haven’t purchased it yet but am seriously thinking of getting it instead of a Versaclimber.

      1. Hi. I’m wondering if you purchased a Steel Climber? I am debating between a used Versaclimber or a new Steel Climber. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated!

  30. 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.

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

    1. 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

      1. Yes rom machine is awesome i used it but there is a new machine called xlr8 power trainer looks awesome too

  32. 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

  33. 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!!

  34. 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.

  35. 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.

  36. 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!

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

  38. “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?

  39. 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.

    1. 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

  40. 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 in without hurting yourself. It’s great for people like me who can’t do simple movements like push-ups because of an intense wrist injury, or for my guy who has knee issues and needs something besides running/walking outside that doesn’t put so much tension on his joints. Lighten up people. It’s only a blog post.

    1. 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.

      1. 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 also disingenuous and misleading especially when certain people use that to complain. Discussing alternatives without flat out complaining is how you have a conversation which contains different opinions. Whining or complaining as adults is the quickest way to turn people off to what you have to say. (and I mean “you” in an overall general sense not a specific one, to clarify for you) Would it be nice if he had included a type of exercise for people who don’t have access to this equipment or who can’t afford to purchase it (though again, he didn’t tell anyone to do so) that does sort of the same thing, absolutely, but he didn’t and he’s getting a lot of unnecessary (personal) flack for it. Ya dig?

        1. 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.

  41. 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 hardware store.

    I know that MDA is also a business entity and I respect that (no amount of money would suffice to cover the wonderful info and guidance that Mark provided us – past, present and future, but it seem to me that as of late it became more and more merchandise oriented, if the judge from the emails on the subject. And I say that with the most respect (-: I guess it’s a neutral evolvement after staying clear for so many years, aside from books and vitamins line; if only there was away to ship them oversea for a reasonable cost. ):

    To me, MDA and Paleo stand for simplicity, back to your roots (not just in term of food) sorts of thing and leaving the endless shopping to the masses. Thank you from the button of my hearth!

  42. 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.

  43. 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!

    1. 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.

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

  44. 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”

  45. 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)

  46. 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.

  47. 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.

  48. 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.

  49. 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!

  50. I am definitely old enough to remember this machine. I have a gym membership and have just started working out again after years of inactivity. I’m obese. Can you recommend how to start on this machine without killing myself?

  51. This seems perfect for my girlfriend, who has old injuries to her knees. But I doubt we can afford a true VersaClimber right now. Has anyone used the cheaper versions, like the MaxiClimber? Do they provide the same basic benefits?

  52. Haven’t finished reading all the comments but I’d bet some of the naysayers are younger than we are Mark! Easier on the joints – just becomes more important. And it is SO difficult to keep doing body weight exercises with arthritis in my wrists…. I can do pull-ups but not too many push-ups and especially not too many side planks (with movement). I called my local gym and the trainer said he really wished we would get one – so we’re starting a letter-writing campaign! Thanks for the great article.

  53. Mark, I have always loved Versaclimber and have been trying to find one I can buy for my home. I was a sprinter in high school, and nothing feels as good as going all out for a short period of time. I feel like a kid again! Since reading your Primary Fitness e-book, I’ve been doing a series of 6 short sprints with my big dog on our morning walks. I only do it a couple of times a week, but it is such a joy to do! I wish I could do it every day, but it seems you are saying less is more, so I haven’t increased the frequency any. I will just increase the speed and the length of time until I start to slow.

    Now, about that Versaclimber. I loved using it in gyms decades ago, but it’s hard to find them nowadays. I can’t imagine why, since THEY GIVE YOU THE GREATEST BUTT AND THIGHS IN THE WORLD!!!!! And that’s a problem area for so many people! I just don’t get it. And it FEELS GOOD to do it, my body enjoys the reaching, and pulling, and climbing. Guess I’m just a cave woman at heart. Keep up the good work. You are helping so many people.

    PS. I’m turning my patients onto your Primal Fitness and Primal cookbooks, particularly those in middle age who are used to being in shape but are starting to find themselves becoming soft and squishy and fat, despite exercising and eating Paleo.

  54. Can anyone in the fitness industry tell me if they have delt with someone with a fused able that does not move at all. Would a machine like this help. I can’t ride a bike, use leg machines or rower anything that requires move y of the ankle. I can only walk and swim in summer. Please help.

  55. Versaclimber CL-108SM Sport Model Stepper (Remanufactured)
    AU $4,641.18
    Postage not specified

    At that price, plus shipping from USA to AU it would want to be good.

  56. My gym in Adelaide (Australia) had one of these, hasn’t seen one before and haven’t seen one since! It is definitely a killer workout. My gym used to include it in their circuit-style workouts that changed every day (similar to crossfit but not as difficult), along with other cardio machines like the grinder and rower, and of course a strength component. Great for when the weather is terrible and going for a sprint is off the cards!

    I wouldn’t buy one, but if you frequent a gym and are on good terms with the managers/owners it would be worth your while to try and convince them to buy one! A true indoor total body cardio workout for sure, and also encourages good posture I think

  57. When I was in college in the 90’s, I used to use this all the time. and it was almost always free even at peak gym times. This was back in my chronic cardio days and the only reason I didn’t use it more was that I couldn’t read a magazine on it. Ha! Anyhow, this machine is killer! I wish I saw it more often these days.

  58. I live in a condo and when I was on the board 4 years ago I got us a versa climber for the workout room. A really great one with the adjustable resistance.

    I wish it had a way to hold a water bottle — but I am super happy to see that is use it for sprinting because it can be disheartening to get on and be exhausted after 5 min. My max is 30 min at a slow pace, but now I will use it more for sprints!

    Thanks for making me feel normal!

  59. I’ve loved the versa climber for 20+ years and agree 100% that it’s the best work out equipment ever! I have one of my own & could never understand why it never really caught on.Its great any time, but especially when you need a non-impact day. A couple years ago when I was in the final month training for a race, I hurt my ankle & couldn’t run at all . I was able to completely maintain my fitness/ endurance by using the versa climber instead. My teenage boys also use it while training during wrestling season. I’m glad you’re bringing attention to this machine; I’ve been praising it for years !!

  60. Another even simpler piece of “equipment” is the “Burpee” – try either the no, half or full pushup version, of use the leg adjuster by do high, middle low, squats, and you can also adjust the “jump height” setting as you need also.

    Jokes aside, the versa climber looks pretty cool for a alternate to a sprint session (Burpee’s will also do it)

  61. You gotta admit everybody – you feel like going out and having a try on one…

  62. I first used one while playing for the Philadelphia Flyers. I had 2 hip surgeries and a knee surgery in same season. My back was/is a mess. The Versa Climber is the #1 tool I used to stay in elite condition while rehabbing and playing. And it’s the first and only cardio machine I have bought for my home gym. I’ll “never” use anything else. Quite honestly I can’t use anything else for the sake of my back and hips!
    The hardest part is mentally forcing yourself to get on it and go!! 😉

  63. As a Marine aboard a Navy ship for 6 months at a time I have spent many hours on these things. They were easy to get even during peak gym hours because no one lasted on them for long. I thought they were great at the time, but not enough to seek one out now.

  64. BEAR CRAWL

    Go do 10 x 100 yard bear crawls instead of buying a VersaClimber. Or 5x or 20x. Scale to fit your fitness level and intention for that workout.

    Works nearly all the same muscles in a slightly different direction and it’s free! 😉

    If you want to go to the local high school football field you could do bear crawls up the stands. Would be even closer to a versaclimber motion. Still Free.

    If you don’t want to leave your house, do bear crawls on your stairs! Call them Stair Crawls. You might have to do it 20 or 30 times or more to get a full workout. Boring? Use music, set a challenging goal like 30 stair crawls in 8 minutes (or whatever)…

    The reason we buy all this crap is because we lack imagination!

    Grok on!

  65. I prefer the Stairmaster. Why? Because of the fact you don’t have to motivate yourself to create the force. Instead, you have to keep up with the descending motion of the stairs or else the stairs will settle to the floor stopping the exercise. So you have to keep stepping or else the exercise stops, which is what you don’t want to happen. It’s unique in that respect.

  66. After reading this article I went to the gym today and had a good look around. Guess what…..found one sitting right in the middle of the room. It looked quite lonely, no one giving it any attention at all. I asked one of the instructors if they could show me how to use it, he said he was new to the gym and wasn’t sure. Anyway, I wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity so I jumped on, set the resistance and offno went. I lasted about a minute. What a killer…….will definitely start using it more often.

  67. When I read the first page I thought of a versaclimber. I love this machine sooo much. Best work out I ever had. Glad to see you agree.
    I owned one once but it fell apart. Had to find on the market. Would love a new one.

  68. I’m sure it’s great to smash your cardio workouts but the range of movement seems very limited, especially your arms which barely cover 30 degrees and most videos seem to show people thrashing at it with sort, quick movements. Cardio yes, but crap for mobility. (Yes, I know it’s not designed for mobility) It’s not like climbing (except ladder climbing): climbing is operating all 4 limbs independently, in a varied range of motion in most planes and with varied load.
    I dunno. It seems out of place on this website but perfect for “World Corpo Gym”

  69. I just started using this at the suggestion of my trainer. I am a rock climber so the movement is intuitive for me, but it isn’t anything as fun as climbing in the gym or outside. I have done 3 days so far, 5 minutes to begin, will work up, very slowly work up, to 30 mins. Matt up thread said that The hardest part is getting yourself to go get on it. So true.

  70. I was interested until I saw the price. I took Mark’s advice and checked Craig’slist but no dice. Then I saw the Maxiclimber for 1/10th the price on Amazon. OK it’s a cheap knockoff but the majority of reviews are pretty positive. Has anyone here tried one?

    1. I just ordered one from amazon. It’s getting here tomorrow. I read a lot of reviews on Amazon before buying. If it sucks I’ll just send it back. Almost all of the reviews were “verified purchase” so it would be unlikely that they are all shills.

      Unfortunately it seems impossible to find any reviews outside of Amazon as any googling of maxi climber leads to the obnoxious tv ads, many of them in spanish.

      One thing the maxi climber does NOT do is the “cross crawl”. Who knows if that makes any difference or not.

  71. The good old-fashioned Nordic Trac is a good full-body workout too, but it’s hard to find a gym with one.

  72. You are absolutely correct on the versa being hands down the best piece of cardio equipment ever. Nothing else will get the heart rate up faster and get the legs pumped more than this evil contraption. We had one at the gym I use to work at and made our clients use it all the time, they hated it but knew it was good for them. I am a fan of a lot of short sprint distances and we often times did challenges like: fastest to 50 feet, fastest to 100 and 200 feet. The machine is brutal but just like most anything else it’s all about intensity, the harder you go the more benefit you receive. I just wish it didn’t have the governor on it and max out at 255 feet per minute.

  73. I used to use it at my gym when I still had a membership. It was great to use and right next to the rowers. Unfortunately, the gym wouldn’t replace the batteries for the display so it was always dead. It also was rarely ever used and they eventually got rid of the 2 climbers they had. Too bad. I totally forgot about how great a workout it was and got a rowing machine instead, also a great workout.

  74. I am an overweight 50 year old man, who has recently decided to get my act together and turn my health around using a functional medicine approach to correcting early stage metabolic syndrome issues that I have acquired over the last year or so. This has included a paleo diet and lifestyle, improving my gut health, and detoxification ability. The one difficulty that I am having is getting the right kinds of exercise into my life. I have many old injuries to my back, shoulders, left knee and right foot, from my extreme training days with body building, fencing, martial arts, volleyball etc… (If I only knew then what I know now about the importance of proper recovery time between workouts) these injuries are making it really difficult to get the exercise that I need. I can, and do, hike quite frequently and am working my core with rehab exercise, but this simply isn’t getting it done for me. i really want to work HIIT workouts into my life.

    Kettlebell work, especially swings, used to work well for me a year and a half ago, but recently they seem to flare my L5 disc up too much. Crossfit and running are simply to damn repetitive and damaging to my joints and disc.

    Sprint swimming is one option, though the maximal effort necessary to do the HIIT training worries me the same way that sprints do, and I am not the greatest swimmer in the first place.
    This brings me back to the Versaclimber. I have been looking into it over the past month or two as a possible way to work HIIT workouts into my life. I really want the incredible health benefits that HIIT imparts ( inc. Testosterone, human growth hormone, increased insulin sensitivity, etc…) I really like that idea of ithe VC’s ability to work at being able to alter the range of motion as I need to, its low impact and its resistance settings to slow the exercise repetition down and yet still be able to reach the muscle fatigue that is necessary for the HIIT benefits.

    The question I have for any of you out there is, do any of you suffer from an L5 disc injury and how has it held up to your use of the VC?

    Also, I thought I might mention a knockoff product that I looked into while researching the VC that was quite intriguing. It is called a Steel Climber. It is definitely more industrial looking, which I don’t mind, but you might. It runs 1400.

  75. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the Versaclimber. The Versaclimber can be a great piece of training equipment if you can get on one on a consistent basis even if only once a week. I have trained extensively on a C2 as a world class rower and realize that if you don’t log a bunch of meters on one workouts with proper sequencing and control the benefits are diminished. I used to own a physical therapy practice and we had a Versaclimber and a couple of C2_rowers. Prior to Cross fit,C2s were almost as scarce in gyms as the Versaclimber because they really push the cardio-system. Most people just don’t have the desire to train that hard which is fine. With the current fad of really intensive training going on more and more Versaclimber and C2s are showing up in main stream training which can be a good thing. When comparing the two one is training your musculo -skeletal system in a vertical plane, the other in a seated horizontal plane. From a cardio perspective both will push you hard. From a musculo-skeletal level they are training the body in different planes. Alternating them would give a far greater benefit and adding a lateral moving cardio activity would be even better. The cardio system does not recognize whether you are running, climbing, rowing,or swimming(name the endurance activity) it is just a pump, what is far more critical is that we do cardio training is in many planes as we can so we can better train the muscul-skelral system in a diverse way. Picking one piece of equipment that only trains you in one plane(Versa Climber or C2 or bike etc.)and really pushes you cardio is not optimal for balanced training. Now if you want to talk about the best piece of strength training ever invented reply back and I will share Bob Kaehler MSPT, CSCS

  76. Holy! You are not kidding! I had never seen one of these before until my trainer at Mountain Athlete put me on it. I had just come out of knee surgery so had to do a different workout than the rest of the team. I don’t remember what the reps and sets were but I can tell you I wanted to pass out every time I had to get back on it. It was intense! I was surprised and stoked to know that I had actually seen and used this mystery machine!

  77. Versa climber will kick your butt !! My C.S.C.S. started me on this machine, instead of the bike, or the pool, or the rower… Buckets of water flowed out of me and it was no problem for my back, or shoulder, or wrist (all broken from a drunk driver hitting me 2 years ago). Lost 60 pounds, feel great, stamina is fantastic, and I am back to powerlifting and able to go 90+ minutes in the gym. Awesome machine ! will always use it…

  78. I’m pretty sure the Steel Climber is going to be my choice as it seems to do everything that I want it to do. In fact it says you can easily switch between cross crawl and a standard crawl which you cannot do with the Versaclimber. The one disadvantage of the Steel Climber is that it is not free standing but I can live with that I guess.
    I used a Versaclimber in the 90’s when I was a gym member. I didn’t pursue it because I really felt odd using it (as in odd looking) at the gym. I didn’t realize at the time what a great piece of equipment it really is.
    I have since purchased a knock off (EverYoung 73500 also known as Infinity 73500) but it is used and so old that the wheels are disintegrating and it is impossible to find replacement wheels — we found some wheels that work but they are not ideal and they have taken a lot of jerry rigging to get them to fit and they start to squeak after using for 10 minutes or so. The EverYoung company seems to be out of business and I cannot find them on the internet anywhere.

    I also have an Airdyne bike that I got for $150 on Craig’s list which I use frequently, and I have a nordic track that I bought from a thrift store for $40. I ride my regular bike all over town so between them all and my kettlebells I am pretty well set up for exercise. I hate running (knee problems) and really don’t like walking much but I love bike riding and I love to get up early in the morning while it’s still cool and get out to the garage and exercise. I like exercising at home with a fan blasting all over me. I use an iPhone app for tabata sprints and other timed programs. I listen to podcasts while I exercise. Life is good.

    1. Oh and the Steel Climber is about half the price of the cheapest VersaClimber another big thing going for it.

  79. In Cleveland there was a gym that was popular and had several versa climbers in it called the Omin. My friend was going there a lot and he got us into stairclimbing first and then working out the versa climber. I loved it so much I bought one for home off craigslist for $500 from another place called Mentor Racketball club. Man it was old and so beat up. I would challenge anyone who thought they were in shape to do 2 minutes on it. No one ever could. The workout was so intense. I moved and had to get rid of it, I traded it for a cement job. The guy who bought it saw it and said hey my brother in law is a Navy Seal and they use these, he said if I ever saw one to get it. A month later he called me and said he lost 15 lbs just adding a 10 minute workout a day on this. My current gym will buy a new exercise machine every month but I can’t convince them to get one these. So sad. But I do like to comment above for the ‘poor man’s versa’ using 4 sliders. I’m going to have to try that.

  80. I absolutely love this!! I’m 30 now and have been at the gym since my early teens and totally agree that the VersaClimber in a marvellous piece of equipment but it’s not for the faint hearted 😉
    I’m desperately trying to save to get my own at home but unfortunately where I live (South Australia) there’s only one company that sells them and the one I want is over $6k!!!! But one day I’ll get there.
    Please spread the word about these wonderful machines and let’s make them a household name
    Xxx

  81. I used one of these many years ago at a gym and loved, loved, loved it.

    Where can you buy them?

  82. Mark, et al. — thanks for a good article and comments. I just ordered an ALX CC and am now paranoid about whether I should have spent another $900 on the tension control (which in addition to the extra $$ also puts a bad-gnarly hydraulic motor (w/ fluid) on the top).

    Any hand-holding or advice would be much appreciated. The wife and kiddos and I will be using it, and we’re mostly interested in the aerobic element, but will we miss the option of adding some tension?

  83. Now its time to try the ROM Quick Gym… I think you will find great benefits from it just as the thousands who have purchased one.

    Do you have for minutes?

  84. I just finally found one the guy would sell me. I have wanted one since they were made, but this is not only the first I could buy, but the first I had ever seen. I am rehab from heart disease and have some bad knees and ankles from a crash. I would guess there is a 50% chance I won’t be able to benefit from this machine, but what I would say is that while it is a fabulous gonzo workout machine, It can be used by people who are not elite athletes and want to maintain a designated heart rate prescription, and minimize impact. Mine is an x commercial model so I can adjust stuff. The guy who sold it to me was one of the fittest guys I have seen on civie street, but he said he never could do more than 5 minutes. And all my kids are jumping on it for 50 seconds then collapsing. But if you read the brochure they tell you how to use if to an equivalent stress level to other machines, and that you should set it up so you can go 10 minutes first time out. But people don’t treat is seriously they regard it as a thrill ride, which is cool, it is fun, but you can use it sensibly even if you aren’t a world champion.

    1. Hi Vivian,

      Why not rock climb? Well, w/ the VersaClimber I can jump out of bed and start. If i go rock climbing i have to drive to a place to rock climb and I might lose motivation…However, rock climb is always an option TOO! but not as convenient when you need to get your workout in quickly. : ) Be well

  85. I can’t decide between buying a row machine or a versaclimber. I want to build muscle and do cardio what do you think I should purchase

  86. Unbelievable – thanks for the tips Mark – I just bought a climber in Walmart and started using it – its not a versa climber, its inova brand – but its pretty awesome!!!

  87. I bought a second hand helix sc8000 really cheap. As they say, if it lookks too good to be true, it probably is! After a copule of uses I noticed plenty of shredded rubber on the ground and realised the rollers were shot. No one seemed to carry spares for these machines so I made my own, buring around 16 small chair casters from the local hardware shop. Using a power drill i cut and sanded them down to size and fitted them (with plenty of lubrication in the guides).
    There is little doubt that this is one hell of a workout. At 71 I still do sprints in masters athletics and this is great training for that. I do 5 sets of 3 minutes with a 2 minute break between. This is not flat out, perhaps nearer 90% but I do try for 100% for the last 20 seconds of each set.
    Great for days when the weather (Queensland) is too hot or wet or if you want to nurse an injury without venturing away from home. Just aim a fan at the unit and go for it!