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A vertical climber is a piece of gym equipment that simulates climbing. They engage multiple muscle groups and may help people improve overall body strength and core strength.

This article explores what vertical climbers are, their health benefits and risks, and some vertical climbers that are available to buy online.

A quick look at 7 of the best vertical climbers

Vertical climbers are a way for people to simulate climbing at the gym or at home. Many vertical climbers come with adjustable heights or resistances so people can customize the difficulty of their workout.

Vertical climbers may also feature options to track distance or elevation, alongside heart rate and calories burned. Some companies may offer a fitness app that people can use with the equipment.

To use a vertical climber, people hold the top handlebars and place their feet on the footrests. Moving the handlebars and the footrests up and down works several muscle groups to simulate climbing.

Medical News Today chooses fitness equipment that meets the following criteria:

  • Price: MNT chooses products available for a wide range of budgets.
  • Size and capacity: MNT selects products to suit people of different heights, weights, and strength.
  • Connectivity: Where fitness equipment has fitness memberships or subscriptions, MNT ensures variation in classes and services that benefit a person’s health.
  • Materials: MNT chooses products that have safe and durable materials that are easy to clean and maintain.
  • Ease of use: MNT selects simple-to-use products that have clear instructions. If set-up is complicated, MNT chooses brands that offer a set-up or installation service.
  • Quality: MNT chooses companies that adhere to high quality manufacturing processes that ensure its products are safe for personal use.
  • Reputable: MNT chooses products from businesses that adhere to industry best practices and that offer reliable customer service and support.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.

Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.

Best for a budget: RELIFE REBUILD YOUR LIFE Vertical Climber

Price: Around $220

Weight limit: 260 pounds (lb)

This vertical climber has one of the lowest price points of all products on this list while still offering four guide rails and five adjustment levels for a demanding workout.

The climber also has the following features:

  • a triangular design for increased stability
  • foam handle that absorb sweat
  • a foldable design for easier storage, with folding dimensions of 72x28x16.1 inches (in)
  • a 1-year warranty on the frame, and a lifetime warranty on all other vulnerable parts

People also have the option of adding expert assembly at an additional cost.

Best for small spaces: Aceshin Vertical Climber Machine

Price: Around $160

Weight limit: 350 lb

This vertical climber is foldable for easy storage.

The Aceshin Vertical Climber also features the following:

  • a digital tracker to record a person’s exercise data, including time, speed, distance, and calories burned
  • workout options including high-intensity cardio, and a slow-burn muscle workout to target the shoulders, legs, hips, glutes, and core
  • an alloy steel design for stability
  • anti-rust paint
  • high-density sponge mats around the handles

Customers also have the option to pay extra for expert assembly.

Best for adjustable resistance: MaxiClimber XL-2000 Hydraulic Resistance Vertical Climber

Price: Around $599

Weight limit: 300 lb

This vertical climber features an adjustable 12-level hydraulic resistance system for a full-body workout.

The machine features a mobile device holder, which is convenient for people who use the free MaxiClimber fitness app, available on iOS and Android.

This MaxiClimber XL-2000 also has the following features:

  • an aluminum frame
  • a long lasting roller mechanism, which purportedly helps to keep motions smooth and quiet
  • an anti-sliding leveling mechanism to allow use on uneven surfaces

People can also pay an additional fee for expert assembly.

Best for third-aparty research: VersaClimber H/HP

Price: $2,295 – $2,395

Weight limit: No clarification

The VersaClimber website features a third-party research study showing that the machine burns more calories than traditional treadmills, spin bikes, or swimming exercises.

According to VersaClimber, this machine engages muscles in the arms, shoulders, back, glutes, and quads. It is a zero-impact climber, which is gentle on the knees and ankles.

The VersaClimber also has the following features:

  • a display module to track programs and race modes
  • a heart rate tracker on the HP model
  • smooth and quiet operation
  • a 3-year frame warranty, and a 1-year warranty on parts and labor

Best multipurpose climber: HEKA Vertical Climber

Price: Around $240

Weight limit: 220 lb

This device combines a climbing stepper with an exercise bike to provide a full-body workout.

The climber features an alloy steel frame in a triangular structure for maximum stability and is foldable for more convenient storage.

Features include:

  • an LCD monitor for tracking time, calories burned, and more
  • five adjustable height levels
  • adjustable resistance
  • a cushion seat
  • foam sleeves
  • a 30-day returns policy
  • a one-year guarantee

Best high-end: Sole CC81 Cardio Climber

Price: $4,199.

Note that at the time of writing this article, the Sole CC81 is available at a discounted price of $1,899.99

Weight limit: 400 lb

This vertical machine promises an all-body workout without putting pressure on the joints.

Features include the following:

  • a console
  • a tablet holder
  • a water bottle holder
  • resistance dials
  • toggling between high intensity and rest periods
  • adjustable ergonomic handles with four height settings
  • foot pedals that slope inward 2 degrees to reduce stress on the ankles and knees
  • a front-drive system
  • a lifetime frame warranty
  • a 5-year warranty on electronics and parts, and a 2-year warranty on labor

People can also purchase the Studio membership. This provides access to over 3000 classes, including strength, treadmill, rowing, boxing, and yoga classes.

Best with on-demand classes: CLMBR Connected

Price: $2,799 – $3,399

Weight limit: 350 lb

The CLMBR has a smaller price tag than the Sole, while still providing access to hundreds of on-demand classes.

Some of the machine’s features include:

  • adjustable handles at 1-in increments, with over-hand, under-hand, and neutral grip modes
  • a built-in sound system
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • 11 magnetic resistance settings
  • textured foot pedals with optional over-foot straps
  • wheels for easy maneuvering when storing away
  • belts with steel reinforcement and stronger ball bearings for stability
  • a maximum user height of 7 feet (ft).

There is also the option to purchase a monthly membership that provides access to the following:

  • on-demand classes
  • tracking and workout history
  • access to benchmarks, challenges, and competitions.

The table below offers a side-by-side comparison on the vertical climbers listed above.

RELIFEAceshinMaxi
Climber
Versa
Climber
HEKASoleCLMBR
Price$220$160$599$2,295 – $2,395$240$4,199$2,799 – $3,399
Size
(l x w x h)
37.5 x
28 x
85 in
N/A25.78 x
41.33 x
92.88 in
36 x
44 x
91.2 in
80 x
25.7 x
46.4 in
59 x
31 x
86 in
35 x
32 x
88 in
Folding size
(l x w x h)
72 x 28 x 16.1 inN/A14.17 x
25.78 x
72 in
N/A80 x
26 x
24 in
N/AN/A
Maximum user weight260 lb350 lb300 lbN/A220 lb400 lb350 lb
Maximum user heightN/AN/A6.6 ftN/AN/AN/A7 ft
Resistance levels5fixed12fixedN/AN/A11
Access to on-demand classesnonoyesnonoyesyes
Warrantylifetime; parts

1 year; frame

none, but a 2-year protection plan is available from Amazon1 year3 years; frame

2 years; parts

1 year; labor
1 yearlifetime; frame

5 years; electronics and parts

1 year;
labor
1 year

People looking to purchase a vertical climber should consider the following criteria before making a decision:

  • Cost: Climbers vary in price according to their different materials, adjustability, and features. Budget machines will have fewer features than those with a high-end price tag.
  • Resistance: Some devices come with adjustable resistance, while others have a fixed resistance level.
  • Maximum weight: People with a heavier body weight need to purchase a vertical climber that supports their size and weight while remaining stable on the floor.
  • Space: Some people may live in small spaces or have low ceilings. They will need to ensure that the vertical climber they choose fits their space and does not impede their ability to exercise safely. Foldable climbers are easier to move and store, especially if they also have wheels.
  • Warranty: Choosing a longer warranty period on the frame, parts, and electronics can work out more cost-effective in the long term.

There are several alternatives to vertical climbers. Other types of home gym equipment to consider include:

Unlike some of the above equipment, vertical climbers offer a full-body workout. However, a person can exercise muscles throughout their body without using any gym equipment.

Learn about the best full-body exercises here.

Some people may benefit from an exercise program from a personal trainer or other trusted source. Following an exercise routine that works all the main muscle groups may offer benefits similar to those of vertical climbers.

Learn about the best home exercise programs here.

While there is no current scientific research on the specific health benefits and risks of vertical climbers, there is evidence that climbing is beneficial.

Benefits

A 2018 study suggests that rock climbing has a significant positive impact on physical fitness by improving overall body strength and physical fitness. However, the study did not find significant improvements in heart rate or body fat percentage.

Vertical climbers simulate climbing by working similar muscle groups and offering differing levels of resistance. Users may experience similar benefits to rock climbing, including improvements in overall body strength and fitness.

Physical activity of any kind can provide health benefits. A 2018 research paper notes that regular exercise throughout life is associated with a longer period of health and a delay in the onset of various chronic health conditions. There is also evidence that physical activity can have a beneficial impact on mental health.

Learn more about the physical and mental health benefits of exercise here.

Risks

There are potential risks to consider when using gym equipment. A 2015 study found that the following injuries were common among people using fitness faccilities:

  • crush injuries due to falling weights or equipment
  • trips and falls from gym equipment
  • falls and awkward landing

To reduce these risks, people should ensure to use the gym equipment correctly, and should stop exercising as soon as they experience muscle strain or other types of pain.

Most sports injuries heal by themselves. However, a person should seek medical attention if they experience pain that prevents them from performing their daily activities.

Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about vertical climbers:

Do vertical climbers build muscle?

Vertical climbers work different muscle groups. This can help improve muscle tone and mass throughout the body, particularly if a person increases the resistance to force the muscles to work harder.

Is a vertical climber or elliptical better?

An elliptical trainer or “cross-trainer” is a machine that allows a person to perform various exercises, including stair climbing, walking, and running.

No research specifically compares vertical climbers and elliptical trainers. Both machines can target different muscle groups, making them an ideal choice for many people.

People recovering from injury or illness should ask their doctor or physical therapist about the best workout options to improve recovery time and minimize the risk of injury.

What muscles does a vertical climber work?

Vertical climbers are full-body workout machines that work larger muscle groups, including the arms, legs, and torso.

However, individual machines may differ in terms of their resistance, with higher-resistance machines offering a more intensive workout.

A vertical climber is a piece of gym equipment that enables users to simulate rock climbing. There are many vertical climbers available for purchase online, with varying features and price points.

People who use vertical climbers may experience similar health benefits to those who rock climb. However, there is currently no research on the specific health benefits and risks of vertical climbers.

People who are recovering from illness or injury should talk to a doctor or physical therapist before making any major changes to their workout routine. When using exercise equipment, it is crucial to follow the instructions to minimize the risk of injury.

Please note: Medical News Today do not imply warranty of fitness for a particular purpose or endorse any of mobile applications. These apps have not been evaluated for medical accuracy by Medical News Today. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have not approved them unless otherwise indicated.