T Nation

Versaclimber Training


I have started using my Versaclimber again after having it collect dust in my garage for the past year. I have been using it mainly for light cardio but would like to see how others are using it. Mostly I go for time and then log the feet climbed, other times I will see how fast I can reach a certain number of feet climbed for example 1000 feet in 12 minutes.

Anyone else have some ideas on how to train with it?



Thats sounds like one of those dodgy products you see on infomercials, like the great new ab rocker3000 and new abrocker 3000Turbo.


Before you slam the product, why don't you at least Google it so you will know what you are talking about.

I have the $3000 commercial unit and it does kick your ass. I bought it reconditioned for $1400.


I had a look on google already and personally think its a waste of money, you could have bought a power rack or something useful for that money. You climb that jazersizer thing for 2 years then go tackle a real mountain and see how you go, same as a treadmill and real running its totally different.


Tabata Intervals


Oh man, I can run for like, an hour straight. But that stupid Versaclimber can totally kick my ass in about ten minutes.

Just use it. That should be good enough.


its the best dang "cardio" machine going in my opinion. You can train injured athletes on it with the seat, even with a bum wheel or arm an athlete can still get tons of good work in with the good limbs. You can do distance for light days working on recovery (when I had access to one I swore Id recover faster from heavy squats), or you can kill yourself with intervals. If the timer on yours isnt working, strap a stop watch to that thing and vary the times of sprint to slower paced, repeat, etc.

The movement is mechanically sound, it is much more transferable to your lifts and sprinting than ellipticals and other machines.

Rock on, I wish I had one.


That's great cardio machine!! Wish the gym I'm @ had one! Do intervals with it. Mix it up.

Will whip your ass in shape quick!


With regards to intervals, do you "sprint" for a period and then stop completely or just slow way down for a period.

I was thinking of sprinting for 30 seconds rest 30 seconds. For 10 minutes total. 5 intervals. Sound OK? Too little/too much?

My GPP is really quite bad right now. Getting winded climing two flights of stairs.

Thanks for the positive responses.


I dont know if there is a "right way", but on the intervals we always slowed down, didnt stop, just kept it moving with longer strides (you know how you can short stroke that thing? try to get full range of motion), then pick it up and sprint all out...

I think there are tons of articles on this site with "intervals" or "tabata" in them that could be used. Maybe try checking the versaclimber site as well, they have some other interesting equipment there and might have some workouts posted? I dont think there is a right or wrong though in the question you are asking.


Good idea to check to the Versaclimber site found a few articles:



Thanks. Sully.


all sorts of things you can do on one of them. Look into heart rate training and learn how to train your aerobic power and aerobic capacity, anaerobic capacity and power too, design yourself some intervals. You can get in good shape on one in my opinion.

To dismiss a versaclimber as a gimick is stupid and shows the level some people are at. However, i wouldnt use it as your only form of cardio. Variety is good!



That is a great piece of equipment! I wish I can trade in my lifecyle for a versa climber. I know I would be in better shape :slightly_smiling:

When I use it at my gym. I would go very hard and then just slow down(not stop) and keep repeating that. I am sure anyway you do it, if your going fast will work for you. Cheating on that machine is almost impossible.

good luck


Great machine for true enegy system workouts when trying to avoid impact.
I think it's great for cardio, HIIT conditioning.


Great for anerobic, but not aerobic, for me anyway. The damn thing sends my heart rate off the charts.


Attempted to do interval training today using a 15 second sprint and a 45 second period of long slow steps in beteween sprints for a one minute total set. I made the first few without much effort but it got exponentially more difficult after that.

Did a total of 7 sets and I was spent. I really tried to concentrate on pulling and pushing with the arms and not just use the legs. Towards the end my sprints were more like 10-12 seconds and I had the resistance set to the minimum. Nowhere to go but up from here.

Tabata intervals of 20 second sprint and a 10 second rest would be impossible for me right now. It is good to have goals to shoot for.


I thought I was making progress on my Versaclimber sprints until today.

I made 8 sprint intervals on one session and 10 on another session last week. This week I had my wife time me on my intervals, her 15 seconds seemed about 2 to 3 seconds longer than mine and significantly more difficult as I only made 8 true 15 second sprints.

My first two sprint I was getting 250 feet per minute by the last 2 I was at about 150-175 feet per minute, quite the massive decrease in speed. My legs were so pumped afterward that I had a hard time standing up straight.


LOL great work. Sometime your clock is so damn different Kind of like our mirror etc.

Keep up the great work.


The following is an interval program I have used with Sprints and gotten good results with. The author recommends using the versaclimber and I have heard positive reports from the grapplers at the underground forum.


Always begin each workout with a 5-minute warm-up at a level of 3-4 on your R.P.E. scale. Follow this with 5 minutes at a steady pace that is just starting to get hard by the end, level 5-6 on your R.P.E. scale. And then reduce the intensity and do 5 more minutes, back to level 3-4 on your R.P.E. scale. This 15 minutes remains the same throughout the first three phases of your H.I.I.T. protocol. After this 15 minute period proceed immediately to the high intensity intervals, which will be described below. During the intervals you should be pushing hard, striving for about a level 7-10 on your R.P.E. scale. Always finish your session with a 5-minute cool-down, another level 3-4 on the R.P.E. scale.

Phase 1:
Weeks 1 & 2: 4 X 90 seconds work + 90 seconds recovery.
Weeks 3 & 4: 5 X 60 seconds work + 60 seconds recovery.

Phase 2:
Weeks 1 & 2: 6 X 45 seconds work + 30 seconds recovery.
Weeks 3 & 4: 7 X 30 Seconds work + 20 seconds recovery.

Phase 3:
Weeks 1 & 2: 8 X 20 seconds work + 10 seconds recovery.
Weeks 3 & 4: 10 X 20 seconds work + 10 seconds recovery.

The first phase will lay the foundation for the following phases. Obviously you can not sprint for 90 seconds at the same pace you can keep up for a shorter duration. Your job is to go as hard as you can for the given time specified. During recovery periods you may go as slow as you wish but DO NOT STOP MOVING! Active recovery is always better than passive recovery and will help remove the buy-products of your anaerobic overload more effectively. Once you reach phase 3, you can remain there in maintenance mode. Avoid boredom and stale training by changing machines* every 2-3 weeks as well as continually striving to train at higher resistance levels on each machine. * If you feel you are not fully recovering be sure to add extra rest days where needed. These sessions should be done 2-5 times a week, experiment to find what works best for you. Do your best to get in at least two sessions per week. If you are diligent you should start noticing an improvement right away. By the time you finish phase three you should be on your way to having a 30-gallon gas tank.

*For the H.I.I.T. portion of your training I recommend the following machines in order of my preference:
1) Versa Climber.
2) Air Dyne Bike.
3) Elliptical walker with arm attachments.
4) Rowing ergometer.
5) Cross country Ski simulator.

These machines have been selected because they work the entire body as a unit rather then just the legs alone. Although the machines mentioned are my favorites, anything will work, rope skipping, running, biking, stair-climbing etc. If you do choose running or rope skipping I recommend cross training with one of the above recommended machines to reduce the potential for overuse injuries due to the inherent impact on the joints from these activities.

full article at Train for Stength.


That's real smart advice except for one thing - Sully NEVER said that he was using the Versaclimber to train for mountain climbing now, did he?

Sully - For variety I like doing Mike Mahler's HOC workout. Do dumbbell or kettlebell swings, snatches, or cleans, followed by 2 minutes or so on the climber at an easy pace.