Leave the treadmill. Jake Gyllenhaal’s trainer says a vertical climber will take your fitness to the next level.

Alex Nicholl (center) leads a versaclimber workout at BXR.

Alex Nicholl (center) leads a VersaClimber workout at BXR.BX extension

  • Vertical climbers are cardio machines that mimic a climbing motion, creating a full-body workout.

  • Jake Gyllenhaal used them a lot when getting into MMA fighter shape for “Road House,” his trainer said.

  • Vertical climbers are the most efficient machines for building fitness, said a VersaClimber trainer.

If you want to improve your cardiovascular fitness and get in shape at the same time, a vertical climber could be the piece of gym equipment for you.

Also known as VersaClimbers, the machines mimic a climbing motion thus creating a full-body workout. Keeping your torso erect, you hold on to the handles and place your feet on the pedals, then scramble up, taking strides as big or small as you decide.

VersaClimber classes have been a key part of Jake Gyllenhaal’s training regimen as he got into MMA fighter form for the upcoming film ‘Road House,’ his trainer Jason Walsh told Insider.

Walsh owns Rise Nation, a boutique training studio that runs VersaClimber classes in four locations in the United States, the Philippines and Australia. Gyllenhaal was a regular at the New York studio while training for the film, Walsh said.

Jake Gyllenhaal in the UFC.

Jake Gyllenhaal made a surprise appearance at UFC 285 earlier this year to film live fight scenes for his movie ‘Road House.’Photo by AP

“Babies learn to crawl, right? That’s exactly what you’re doing on a VersaClimber,” said Walsh, who described the motion as “primitive.”

Alex Nicholl, director of upscale gym BXR, agrees, telling Insider that many people find the motion of the VersaClimber to feel natural, providing a good workout that doesn’t stress the joints like running does.

BX extension

BXR’s “Climb to the beat” workout classes are inspired by nightclubs.BX extension

BXR has locations throughout London, UK, as well as in Doha, Qatar, and Daios Cove, Greece, and their “Climb to the Beat” VersaClimber classes are inspired by Nicholl’s earlier career in nightclubs, with lights at LED strips and dance beats.

In London, attendance at the classes has increased from 1,500 people when they launched in 2017 to 8,000 people in 2022.

It’s popular not only with athletes and everyday gym-goers, but also high-profile people like British Vogue editor Edward Enninful, singer and former One Direction star Liam Payne, and socialite and model Emma Weymouth , Marchioness of Bath.

Here are three benefits of using a VersaClimber.

The VersaClimber allows your heart rate to reach new heights

The VersaClimber requires coordination because opposite arms and legs are used simultaneously.

“It’s the only piece of cardio equipment that actually uses both hemispheres of the brain,” Walsh said.

However, the potential cardiovascular benefits are the biggest draw.

The machines have been shown to increase people’s heart rates compared to rowing machines or treadmills, thus allowing them to burn more calories.

Part of the reason for this is that reaching for the head makes the heart work harder to pump blood around the body, Nicholl said.

While VersaClimbers primarily builds cardio fitness, holding your full body weight there’s also some resistance involved, which means your core needs to be engaged.

VersaClimber workouts are low impact

Unlike running on a treadmill, VersaClimber workouts are both low-impact and full-body, minimizing unnecessary stress or trauma to the body.

In fact, it was after battling running injuries that Nicholl first attempted a VersaClimber.

“I was running day after day,” she said. “My knees were hit, the impact hit me.” But Nicholl was “addicted” to high-intensity workouts.

“I wanted high intensity and high energy, I just didn’t want it with impact,” said Nicholl. The VersaClimber ticked those boxes.

Beginners and professionals can use VersaClimbers

In addition to allowing already fit people to push themselves harder, VersaClimbers are a good option for people new to fitness because you can make it as hard or as easy as you like by taking bigger or smaller steps, Nicholl said.

Nicholl said he has seen many people who lack gym confidence improve their fitness in VersaClimber workouts and then branch out into other activities. Still, it takes most people three classes to really “figure it out,” he said, because they may seem like just “torture machines” at first.

BXR City, London.

The VersaClimber studio in BXR City.Rachel Hosie/Insiders

Common mistakes are gripping the handles too tightly, starting with the handlebars too high, which can cause you to overstretch, sticking your butt and/or leaning too far, which can lead to back pain, and keeping your feet still, which can prime pins and needles, Nicholl said.

But once you get the hang of it, a lot of people get hooked, and their results speak for themselves, Nicholl said.

“The VersaClimber wins in efficiency and calories burned per minute, nothing touches it,” said Nicholl.

Read the original Insider article

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