VersaClimber (Vertical Climber): Technique, Benefits and Common Mistakes

VersaClimber - Sharp Muscle
7 min read
Updated: February 14, 2023

The VersaClimber offers a unique climbing action that involves the arms and legs, thus making it another great option for performing supramaximal interval training.

The Vertical Climber (with the VersaClimber and MaxiClimber being the leading brands) machines encourage physical climbing, which is a great form of aerobic exercise. Despite technically being classified as cardio fitness, the Vertical Climber workout specializes in its ability to offer a full-body workout to low-impact remaining athletes.

Plus, because it keeps you in an upright position, the VersaClimber is very back friendly, making it a good choice for people who have difficulty sitting on a bike due to back problems. It is also highly effective; Athletes who master the Versa workout may find that they burn calories much faster than they would when using other cardio machines like treadmills and elliptical.

What is VersaClimber (Vertical Climber)?

The VersaClimber is a type of vertical climber, also known as a stair climber or stair stepper, that provides a full body workout. It is a piece of fitness equipment that simulates the motion of climbing stairs, with two independent stepping pedals and two hand-grips. The machine provides a low-impact workout that can help to improve cardiovascular fitness, build strength and endurance, and burn calories. So, a VersaClimber (VC) workout can be a highly effective way to get a full-body workout that engages your legs, core, and upper body.

Benefits of VersaClimber (Vertical Climber)

VersaClimber (Vertical Climber) helps in improving cardio health as it accelerates blood flow and makes it last longer. This good blood flow speed is better for the heart health. 1

Aerobic exercise that gradually increases the rate of breathing is considered appropriate for aerobic health. The VersaClimber gradually strengthens the lungs. A quicker breath allows the lungs to take in more oxygen from the air and helps the system throughout the body by providing enough oxygen. 2

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Exercising on a vertical climber places tension and metabolic stress on your lower muscles, leading to increased muscle hypertrophy. After a few minutes of exercise, you will feel a deep burning sensation on your lower body.

Due to its efficient cardio benefits and metabolism boost, it results in rapid weight loss and strengthens the lower muscles with limited time daily use. Not only this, using it for a long time also increases strength and stamina. It satisfies the users and improves mental toughness.

The VersaClimber strengthens the muscles of the upper body and lower body. The exercise directly affects the four central lower muscle quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves to create tension in the muscles of the arms, chest, and back. The user’s muscles begin to gain, become stronger and are in good shape.

The movement of the arms and legs also affects the core muscles. This effect burns belly fat and makes the abs line visible. It enhances the appearance of the user by burning core muscle fat, but it also strengthens the core muscles. 3

It helps to keep bones strong. When you do intense exercise regularly, your body reacts accordingly by building bone cells, which strengthens your bones. 4

This machine acts on the joint, helps to stretch the muscles around the joint and improves the health of the joints.

Research shows that people who exercise regularly have better mental health and emotional well-being and lower rates of mental illness. Vertical climber exercise is not only that, it can be your perfect friend to improve overall fitness and improve mental health. 5

VersaClimber (Vertical Climber) Technique and Common Mistakes

You’ve seen the VersaClimber machine at the gym—but you’re probably not sure what to do with it, or how to turn it into your good workout.

Well, it’s time to ditch the other machine, the VersaClimber burns more calories per minute than other treadmill or elliptical trainer machines.

You can work hard for 20-30 minutes and you will get an amazing full body workout while burning more calories than many other 60 minute workouts.


  • Using short to medium strides, drive the legs and arms faster and faster and as high as you can for 30 to 90 seconds.
  • Rest completely for 90 seconds to 3 minutes between intervals.
  • Minimize shifting the body from side to side as you complete each work interval. Keep the body fairly centered on the machine.
  • During the resting position between each work interval, get off the machine and either stand up or do a slight movement before starting the next work interval.
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Training Tips

Two stationary hand rails can be used to hold and anchor the upper body while only stepping with the feet. By holding a hand rail in front of you or on the side of your body and stepping with only feet, buttocks, front and back of thighs, shins and shins can be a complete lower-body aerobic and strength exercise.

Taking stair steps is also an effective way for beginners to become familiar with the VersaClimber (Vertical Climber). After regular use, you can graduate to full body climbing.

During this exercise the heart rate can be increased or decreased by increasing or decreasing your stroke rate (how fast you are stepping) or by increasing or decreasing the length of your stroke. The VersaClimber (Vertical Climber) exercise can be performed in any mode of operation.

Your arms and shoulders can be exercised by standing on the base plate in front of the VersaClimber machine and using movable the hand grips. The palms can be in the front or back grip. Pull down with one hand and resist with the other, or push and pull with one hand while resisting with the other.

During this activity, a full range of cyclic rates and stroke lengths can be selected for only the upper body exercise. These isolating exercises can be performed as interval exercises during your regular aerobic workout.

The position of the foot on the pedals will allow you to focus the work on the muscle groups like ankles and calves, climb onto the toes. Quad work can be increased by pushing the heel of your foot forward on the pedals.

The intensity of inner foot work can be increased by pointing the toes inward. Turning the toes outward will work the outer foot. If tingling or numbness occurs in the foot, keep the foot on the pedal (front or back) until you are comfortable. Also check shoelaces and toe straps that may be too tight.

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VersaClimber HIIT

  1. 4 minutes warm-up (Easy climb):
    • Go steady, do 18-inch stroke at 120 feet per minute.
    • RPE: 6
  2. 3 minutes long interval:
    • Alternate sprints with a slow climb, do a sprint segment of 12-inch strokes at 200 feet per minute for 45 seconds. Then lengthen to an 18-inch stroke at 120 feet per minute for another 45 seconds.
    • Repeat once.
    • RPE: 8
    • Rest: 30 seconds.
  3. 3 minutes medium interval:
    • Kick your intensity, do a 12-inch stroke at 200 feet per minute for 30 seconds. Then maintain training stroke length, slow down to 150 feet per minute for another 30 seconds.
    • Complete this combo 3 times.
    • RPE: 9
    • Rest: 30 seconds.
  4. 4 minutes tabata sprint:
    • Go hard at this HIIT formula, its proven to torch calories long after your workout is done. Do 12-inch stroke at an all-out 220 feet per minute for 20 seconds. Recover at 120 feet per minute for 10 seconds.
    • Complete this combo 8 times.
    • RPE: 9
    • Rest: 60 seconds
  5. 3 minutes finisher:
    • Use whatever you have left in the tank right here, do an 18-inch stroke at 140 feet per minute for 30 seconds. Keep the length but bump up the the pace to 200 feet per minute for 60 seconds.
    • Repeat once.
    • RPE: 9
  6. 3 minutes recover:
    • Keep strokes short and slow, do a 12-inch stroke at a 150 feet per minute pace.
    • RPE: 6

  1. Front Cardiovasc Med. 2018; 5: 135. doi: 10.3389/fcvm.2018.00135. “Cardiovascular Effects and Benefits of Exercise.” Available here:
  2. Breathe (Sheff). 2016 Mar; 12(1): 97–100. doi: 10.1183/20734735.ELF121. “Your lungs and exercise.” Available here:
  3. Iran J Public Health. 2018 Oct; 47(10): 1440–1452. “Effects of Rock Climbing Exercise on Physical Fitness among College Students: A Review Article and Meta-analysis.” Available here:
  4. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. “Exercise for Your Bone Health.” Available here:
  5. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med. 2018 Jul; 8(7): a029694. doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a029694. “Health Benefits of Exercise.” Available here:

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