Are you in a fitness slump? Maybe it's time you try out the most underrated piece of equipment at your gym: the VersaClimber.
It's probably in the corner collecting dust, and unfairly so. The few people who actually know how to use it swear by it, but the rest use it as a towel rack before wading into the sea of treadmills and ellipticals.
This machine combines both upper- and lower-body workouts in a fluid, vertical climbing motion. The best part? Not only does the VersaClimber improve your cardiovascular health, but it is a strength-training machine, too. It works your arms, legs, and core, while also strengthening your back—an area a lot of women overlook in their workouts. The VersaClimber will get your heart rate up very quickly, and I highly recommend wearing a heart rate monitor to gauge how hard you're working.
How does it work? The VersaCilmber’s handles and pedals move as if you're climbing a ladder. You can grasp the handles with your palms either facing away from your body (see above left photo) or toward you (above right), depending on which arm muscles you want to work. I suggest switching up your grip so you engage your biceps, lats, and even your obliques throughout your workout. While climbing, remember to stay nice and tall and resist the urge to hunch your shoulders.
Intrigued? Try this 15-minute VersaClimber workout the next time you hit the gym. You'll definitely feel it the day after.
Minutes 0 to 3
Warm up with a brisk climb, taking small steps with no resistance.
Minutes 3 to 5
Turn your resistance up to medium and start taking full steps.
Minutes 5 to 6
Pick up your pace to a sprint. Shorten your steps, and climb as quickly as possible.
Minutes 6 to 8
Lower your resistance, and go back to taking full steps.
Minutes 8 to 10
Crank your resistance up to a difficult level. Continue to take full steps, but flip your hand grip so your palms face toward your body, allowing you to work different muscles.
Minutes 10 to 11
Flip your grip back to normal. Leaving the resistance alone, shorten your steps and do a "heavy" sprint. Climb as fast you can without hunching forward.
Minutes 11 to 12
Lower your resistance to medium, and slow back down to a normal pace taking full steps.
Minutes 12 to 15
Cool down by taking increasingly smaller steps and gradually lowering your resistance until it's at zero.
Looking for a no-equipment workout? Try this 12-Minute Get Strong Workout!
Jennifer Cohen is a leading fitness authority, TV personality, best-selling author, and entrepreneur. With her signature, straight-talking approach to wellness, Jennifer was the featured trainer on The CW’s Shedding for the Wedding, mentoring the contestants’ to lose hundreds of pounds before their big day, and she appears regularly on NBC’s Today Show, Extra, The Doctors and Good Morning America. Connect with Jennifer on Facebook, Twitter, G+ and on Pinterest.