Helpful Tips

Vertical Climber Exercises

People everywhere are becoming more and more concerned about their weight these days. You might be wondering, “What cardio machine will burn the most fat?” The truth is, there is no right or wrong answer.

However, research suggests there might be a winning fat-burning machine out there, and surprise! It’s the vertical climber! Sure, you might be thinking it looks like a Leaning Tower of Pisa, but that old-looking piece of equipment in the corner of the gym has been known to be the most effective tool yet if you’re looking to get lean and in shape. Check out the best vertical climbers on our detailed buyer’s guide!

Where Did Vertical Climbers Originate?

The vertical climber was built in an old engineer’s garage back in 1981. It’s still widely used today as much as it was when it first debuted. This machine offers a ridiculous amount of power and gives you the ability to strengthen and tone your entire body with one easy cardio workout.

Research studies have even shown that maximal heart rates were even higher than when working out on a treadmill. VO2 levels, which measure how fast oxygen is consumed in the body, were greater when climbing a vertical climber than using a rowing machine or treadmill.

Benefits of Climbing Exercises

Regardless of the machine you are using, whether it be a stair stepper or a vertical climber, the benefits are far greater than you will get with any other machine or workout.

Full-Body Cardio Workout

You’ll notice that the climbing movement mimics climbing a ladder or staircase, meaning it’s a full-body workout. Climbing workouts are far more superior to any other cardio workout you can do since you’re bearing down with your body weight.

You work against gravity, so you get more of a workout regarding cardiovascular benefits. You’ll get benefits that most other workouts aren’t able to offer you without being weight-bearing.

Endurance and Strength Gains

Vertical climber workouts help to build both stamina and strength by way of high-intensity interval exercises. Steady-state exercises are another form of exercise you get with a vertical climber. Having both allows for improved overall fitness. Vertical climbers can give you both in one 30-minute session!

Low-Impact Calories Burnt

You’ll find that climbing exercises burn more calories in a shorter amount of time as well. This is great for those looking to lose weight. And because it is low impact, it’s a lot easier on the joints. It eliminates having to run on gravel, pavement, or a treadmill.

Getting Started with Vertical Climber Exercises

When getting started with vertical climber workouts at home, you’ll find it can be a lot of fun. However, before jumping in with both feet, make sure you are ready. If you suffer from breathing or cardiac issues, you might want to talk to your physician. This could indicate other underlying issues.

For those of you who are new to climbing exercises, you should start slow to make sure you are not pushing yourself too much. You want to wait until your body becomes used to the routine before adding anything extra into it.

If you’ve never used a vertical climber you might want to read the manual to ensure you do it correctly to avoid injuries. You need to learn what the ideal form looks like as well. Good form prevents injury. You might even want to consider getting a tutorial from a professional coach or someone who has used one before.

Make sure when you begin working out, you are working at a speed that works for you and allows you to keep the proper format. Try not to move your feet so fast that you have difficulty keeping up and hanging onto the handlebars.

When it comes to designing a workout to do at home, there are a few different styles of workouts you might want to consider incorporating.

  • Rhythm-based: This is an approach like spin class. You climb to the beat of the music, and with that, the beat of the music can give you the energy and motivation to keep going. You will soon find that you are climbing to the music, making you work more intensely.
  • Time-based: This is a more cardio approach to vertical climbing that uses intervals or a set amount of time. This is where you are continuously climbing in a controlled manner. This type of working out is great for building muscle endurance and building stamina.
  • Circuit workouts: You can also use vertical climbing in a circuit training workout that uses free weights, a jump rope, or a rowing movement. There are also other exercises you can incorporate to help get your heart rate up. This will allow you to work all areas of your body to get the best workout possible.
  • Tabata workouts: This is an approach that uses quick 20 second HIIT workouts followed by 10 seconds of rest. This is done for a cycle of 8 minutes and is one killer approach that’ll surely get you into the best shape of your life!

Vertical Climber Exercises Routines to Consider

Here is a great workout you can get started with to give you an all-around workout while pumping up your heart rate.


Start by doing long-range strokes for about 4 min. Make sure you are going at a pace of 130 feet/min

3 minutes total

Do 45 seconds of short strokes, about 12 inches, 200 feet per minute, and an additional 45 seconds of long-range strokes which equals out to be 130 feet/minute.

Make sure to repeat both intervals another time.

Rest for 30 seconds

3 minutes total

Do 30 seconds of short-range strokes which equals out to be about 200 feet/minute, +30 seconds of short-range strokes, and 150 feet/min.

Repeat these 2 more times.

Rest for 30 seconds in between.

3-minutes total

30 seconds of short-range strokes which equals out to be 200 feet/min plus an additional 30 seconds of short-range strokes at 150 feet/minute.

Repeat twice more. 

Rest for about 30 seconds

4-minute total

20 seconds of short-range strokes, and then another 10 seconds of short-range strokes.

Repeat both intervals 7 times.

3-minute total

30 seconds of long-range strokes and then another 60 seconds of long-range strokes.

Repeat one more time.

4-minute total

Do 4 minutes of short-range strokes and then rest for 30 seconds.

3-minutes total

Do 20 seconds of short-range strokes with an additional 60 seconds of short-range strokes.

Repeat one time, and then perform a 20-second interval one more time before resting for 30 seconds.

3-minute total

Do 45 seconds of short-range strokes equaling 220 feet/min, and then 30 seconds of short-range strokes equaling 140 feet/min.

Repeat once and then perform the 45-second interval once more.

Other options you can use to get you started on HIIT combinations and routines might include:

  • Do your vertical climber for 30 seconds followed by doing 10 pushups or 10 handstand pushups. Do this for 10 minutes.
  • Use your vertical climber for 15 seconds and then do 5 burpees for a total of 15 minutes alternating.
  • Vertical climber for 60 seconds followed by jumping rope for 60 seconds alternating for a total of 20 minutes.
  • Use your vertical climber for 15 seconds and then do 10 overhead presses using weight. Follow with 15 squats.

Exercise Option #3

warm up exercise

Another great workout to try at home includes warming up for 4 minutes. Make sure you go steady and are doing 18-inch strokes equaling 120 feet/min. This 20-minute workout will burn about 370 calories.

For 3 minutes, do an alternating spring with a slower climb. Do 12-inch strokes equaling about 200 feet/min for about 45 seconds. Lengthen your strokes to 18 inches equaling 130 feet/min for an additional 45 seconds and repeat this one time. Rest for 30 seconds before heading to the next interval.

The next set is going to be for another 3 minutes. Start with 12-inch strokes equaling about 200 feet/min for 30 seconds. Maintain this stroke length but slow down to 150 feet/min for an additional 30 seconds. Do this combo at least 3 times and then rest for 30 seconds.

For the 3rd interval, which is the Tabata sprint, start with 12-inch strokes at an all-out rate of 220 feet/min for about 20 seconds. Recover at a pace of 120 feet/min for about 10 seconds. Complete this combo 8 times and rest for 1 minute.

The 4th set, also known as the finisher, requires you to use whatever is left in your tank. Start with an 18-inch stroke equaling 140 feet/min and do this for 30 seconds. Keep the length you are currently at but bump up your pace to about 200 feet/min for about 60 seconds. Repeat this interval once.

Now it’s time to recover! For 3 minutes do a 12-inch stroke at about 150 feet/min.

Vertical climbers have become a quite valuable workout tool. While they aren’t the most popular on the market, they have earned the reputation of being the most effective! Each interval and set works out your entire body. And at the end of the day, that’s what we all want. To be in better health and have a great-looking body in the process!