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Health Club Management

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Trends: Climbing party

Could Versaclimber classes emulate cycle workouts and Spinning to become the next big thing? Kath Hudson looks at the new concepts reinvigorating this piece of kit

By Kath Hudson | Published in Health Club Management 2019 issue 4
Celebrity trainer Jason Walsh has devised a 30 minute immersive Versaclimber workout for Rise Nation in West Hollywood
Celebrity trainer Jason Walsh has devised a 30 minute immersive Versaclimber workout for Rise Nation in West Hollywood
At Anthony Joshua’s high-end boutique club, BXR London, the Versaclimber programme features weighted vests, altitude masks, Polar heart rate monitors and HIIT training methods to improve cardiovascular capability

ightclub lighting, pumping music, a rockstar instructor, intervals and sweat. This is Climb to the Beat, Europe’s first Versaclimber class, and it’s going down a storm.

Alex Nicholl, director of Sweat by BXR at boutique London club BXR London, has devised this party on a climber and he reckons it could become as big as cycling.

Nicholl got the inspiration while he was working out on the Versaclimber, he tells HCM. “I really like the Versaclimber as a tool because it burns lots of calories, but isn’t high impact, so I use it as a rehab tool for running. While I was climbing I realised that I could build a class around it.”

To be picked up by one of London’s most happening boutiques – BXR is boxer Anthony Joshua’s swanky new club in Chiltern Street, opposite the Chiltern Firehouse – is great news for a piece of kit that hasn’t been seen around so much lately.

Versaclimbers first made their appearance in the US almost 40 years ago, and they were big in the 80s. Versaclimber UK launched in 1994, but despite providing an effective, total-body workout, the machines have often played second fiddle to treadmills and bikes and have never taken off for group fitness.

Zero impact calorie burn
But bringing the Versaclimber into a group training setting could be exactly the tool to stoke interest. The workout is extremely effective, zero impact and allows the body to burn calories without the stress or trauma that other dynamic exercise, like running and HIIT can sometimes cause.

“Because you’re standing on the climber it’s also better for posture than being on a bike and it’s great for calorie burn,” says Nicholl. “Our backgrounds are in nightclubs, music and hospitality, so we use this experience to create the atmosphere. We use a nightclub-spec sound system and a routine that is choreographed to the music, so people climb to the beat. It’s hard work, but fun, and suitable for all levels and abilities. The more you do, the better you become.”

Director of Versaclimber UK, Neil Kelford, welcomes the introduction of the equipment into a group setting. “While these sessions help to improve cardiovascular fitness, they also provide a stimulating environment for users to exercise by incorporating music, lights and large groups of people to help motivate your training. This is a vital factor that is often missing from training programmes,” he explains.

As a club, BXR offers four different types of training: climbing, mobility, boxing, and strength and conditioning. With plans to extend the estate with five more sites over the next two to three years, Nicholl says the climbing classes will stay central to the offering as the company grows.

The classes are popular. BXR runs 35 each week, with a capacity of 20 people and they have an average 90 per cent occupancy. A number of options are on offer: a single class is priced at £30, but investment in a pack of 50 brings the price per class down to £15, while opting for a membership of the club can reduce the cost to £6 per class.

In addition to Climb to the Beat, BXR also offers an endurance class, which pushes those who have mastered the technique to their limits. It’s an eight week continuous programme, designed to build endurance climbing ability, with the option of taking part in a challenge called The Vertical Mile: a 5,280ft climb with a cut-off time of 40 minutes.

The Performance classes mimic sessions used by professional athletes to increase their anaerobic threshold and VO2 max output and is part of the ‘train like an athlete’ trend.

Polar heart rate monitors, weighted vests, altitude masks and HIIT training methods all feature in this programme, which is designed to improve cardiovascular capability.

Rise Nation
In the US, celebrity trainer, Jason Walsh, has also devised an immersive Versaclimbing group exercise experience at Rise Nation, in West Hollywood. The 30 minute class involves intervals in a specially-created, stimulating environment.

The irregular surface of the ceiling invokes the feeling of being under a rocky outcrop and is animated with an array of internal LEDs. The lights are programmed to accompany the soundtracks, including simple fades and fields of lighting.

“I wanted to put something on the market which I thought was truly effective, efficient and safe. I think climbing has been overlooked until now, because nobody knew how to use it in a group class training setting,” Walsh tells HCM. “Climbing uses all the muscles in the body and is safe, while being highly effective. Our class is a good alternative to everything else on the market and appeals to men and women alike. Lighting, music and amazing instructors all add to the experience.”

Kelford welcomes both concepts: “I think they’re both incredibly effective, but most importantly they’re fun and provide a special group training setting where you can exercise with friends, while benefitting from an intensive workout. This is such an important aspect to training, as it can provide crucial motivation, especially when clubs are aiming to appeal to a wider audience.”

So where is this trend likely to go? Nicholls says there are a few barriers: at £5,000 per climber, it’s a sizeable investment to set up a studio. Also he says Versaclimbers still lag behind other cardio kit in terms of technology and provision of data, although improvements are currently being made.

Kelford says that the introduction of Bluetooth consoles will soon allow workout data to be transferred to iPhone or Android, so that people will be able to store, share, keep and compare statistics for future training, while new display technology has also created a far more interactive, in-depth analysis for users to track their progress, so Versaclimber will be able to compete on a level playing field.

Alex Nicholl
"We use a nightclub spec sound system and a routine that is choreographed to the music, so people climb to the beat. It’s hard work, but fun, and suitable for all levels and abilities" - Alex Nicholl, Sweat by BXR

An effective rehabilitation tool, Andy Murray reportedly used a Versaclimber to assist with his recovery ahead of the grass court season

Neil Kelford
"The introduction of Bluetooth consoles on the Versaclimber will soon allow workout data to be transferred to iPhone or Android, so people can share and store stats and track progress" - Neil Kelford, Versaclimber
GET CLIMBING

• Versaclimbing can be used to improve threshold capacity without causing micro-traumas. For example, during an hour-long training session, working in a high heart rate zone doesn’t excessively tire or damage the body

• The muscles of the posterior chain are all targeted during climbing-based exercise: shoulders, back, glutes, hamstrings and calves

• A session burns more calories per minute than any other cardio. On average, using a Versaclimber burns 22.3 calories per minute, while cycling, treadmill and rowing classes burn between 13 and 14 calories

• Climbing keeps the body aligned, reinforces better movement patterns and is zero impact, non-traumatic and injury preventative

Jason Walsh, Rise Nation
"I think climbing has been overlooked, because nobody knew how to use it in a group class training setting. I wanted to put something on the market that is effective, efficient and safe " - Jason Walsh, Rise Nation
Alex Nicholl, director of ‘Sweat by BXR’, leading a Versaclimber class at Anthony Joshua’s BXR London club. The company is planning to develop five more sites
Alex Nicholl, director of ‘Sweat by BXR’, leading a Versaclimber class at Anthony Joshua’s BXR London club. The company is planning to develop five more sites
Versaclimber workouts at BXR London range in price from £30 for a one-off class to £6 for members
Versaclimber workouts at BXR London range in price from £30 for a one-off class to £6 for members
Rise Nation in West Hollywood has invested in a dramatic LED ceiling by Softlab
Rise Nation in West Hollywood has invested in a dramatic LED ceiling by Softlab
http://www.leisureopportunities.com/images/imagesX/558887_552875.jpg
Could Versaclimber classes become the next big thing? We check out the concepts reinvigorating this classic piece of kit
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    features

    Trends: Climbing party

    Could Versaclimber classes emulate cycle workouts and Spinning to become the next big thing? Kath Hudson looks at the new concepts reinvigorating this piece of kit

    By Kath Hudson | Published in Health Club Management 2019 issue 4
    Celebrity trainer Jason Walsh has devised a 30 minute immersive Versaclimber workout for Rise Nation in West Hollywood
    Celebrity trainer Jason Walsh has devised a 30 minute immersive Versaclimber workout for Rise Nation in West Hollywood
    At Anthony Joshua’s high-end boutique club, BXR London, the Versaclimber programme features weighted vests, altitude masks, Polar heart rate monitors and HIIT training methods to improve cardiovascular capability

    ightclub lighting, pumping music, a rockstar instructor, intervals and sweat. This is Climb to the Beat, Europe’s first Versaclimber class, and it’s going down a storm.

    Alex Nicholl, director of Sweat by BXR at boutique London club BXR London, has devised this party on a climber and he reckons it could become as big as cycling.

    Nicholl got the inspiration while he was working out on the Versaclimber, he tells HCM. “I really like the Versaclimber as a tool because it burns lots of calories, but isn’t high impact, so I use it as a rehab tool for running. While I was climbing I realised that I could build a class around it.”

    To be picked up by one of London’s most happening boutiques – BXR is boxer Anthony Joshua’s swanky new club in Chiltern Street, opposite the Chiltern Firehouse – is great news for a piece of kit that hasn’t been seen around so much lately.

    Versaclimbers first made their appearance in the US almost 40 years ago, and they were big in the 80s. Versaclimber UK launched in 1994, but despite providing an effective, total-body workout, the machines have often played second fiddle to treadmills and bikes and have never taken off for group fitness.

    Zero impact calorie burn
    But bringing the Versaclimber into a group training setting could be exactly the tool to stoke interest. The workout is extremely effective, zero impact and allows the body to burn calories without the stress or trauma that other dynamic exercise, like running and HIIT can sometimes cause.

    “Because you’re standing on the climber it’s also better for posture than being on a bike and it’s great for calorie burn,” says Nicholl. “Our backgrounds are in nightclubs, music and hospitality, so we use this experience to create the atmosphere. We use a nightclub-spec sound system and a routine that is choreographed to the music, so people climb to the beat. It’s hard work, but fun, and suitable for all levels and abilities. The more you do, the better you become.”

    Director of Versaclimber UK, Neil Kelford, welcomes the introduction of the equipment into a group setting. “While these sessions help to improve cardiovascular fitness, they also provide a stimulating environment for users to exercise by incorporating music, lights and large groups of people to help motivate your training. This is a vital factor that is often missing from training programmes,” he explains.

    As a club, BXR offers four different types of training: climbing, mobility, boxing, and strength and conditioning. With plans to extend the estate with five more sites over the next two to three years, Nicholl says the climbing classes will stay central to the offering as the company grows.

    The classes are popular. BXR runs 35 each week, with a capacity of 20 people and they have an average 90 per cent occupancy. A number of options are on offer: a single class is priced at £30, but investment in a pack of 50 brings the price per class down to £15, while opting for a membership of the club can reduce the cost to £6 per class.

    In addition to Climb to the Beat, BXR also offers an endurance class, which pushes those who have mastered the technique to their limits. It’s an eight week continuous programme, designed to build endurance climbing ability, with the option of taking part in a challenge called The Vertical Mile: a 5,280ft climb with a cut-off time of 40 minutes.

    The Performance classes mimic sessions used by professional athletes to increase their anaerobic threshold and VO2 max output and is part of the ‘train like an athlete’ trend.

    Polar heart rate monitors, weighted vests, altitude masks and HIIT training methods all feature in this programme, which is designed to improve cardiovascular capability.

    Rise Nation
    In the US, celebrity trainer, Jason Walsh, has also devised an immersive Versaclimbing group exercise experience at Rise Nation, in West Hollywood. The 30 minute class involves intervals in a specially-created, stimulating environment.

    The irregular surface of the ceiling invokes the feeling of being under a rocky outcrop and is animated with an array of internal LEDs. The lights are programmed to accompany the soundtracks, including simple fades and fields of lighting.

    “I wanted to put something on the market which I thought was truly effective, efficient and safe. I think climbing has been overlooked until now, because nobody knew how to use it in a group class training setting,” Walsh tells HCM. “Climbing uses all the muscles in the body and is safe, while being highly effective. Our class is a good alternative to everything else on the market and appeals to men and women alike. Lighting, music and amazing instructors all add to the experience.”

    Kelford welcomes both concepts: “I think they’re both incredibly effective, but most importantly they’re fun and provide a special group training setting where you can exercise with friends, while benefitting from an intensive workout. This is such an important aspect to training, as it can provide crucial motivation, especially when clubs are aiming to appeal to a wider audience.”

    So where is this trend likely to go? Nicholls says there are a few barriers: at £5,000 per climber, it’s a sizeable investment to set up a studio. Also he says Versaclimbers still lag behind other cardio kit in terms of technology and provision of data, although improvements are currently being made.

    Kelford says that the introduction of Bluetooth consoles will soon allow workout data to be transferred to iPhone or Android, so that people will be able to store, share, keep and compare statistics for future training, while new display technology has also created a far more interactive, in-depth analysis for users to track their progress, so Versaclimber will be able to compete on a level playing field.

    Alex Nicholl
    "We use a nightclub spec sound system and a routine that is choreographed to the music, so people climb to the beat. It’s hard work, but fun, and suitable for all levels and abilities" - Alex Nicholl, Sweat by BXR

    An effective rehabilitation tool, Andy Murray reportedly used a Versaclimber to assist with his recovery ahead of the grass court season

    Neil Kelford
    "The introduction of Bluetooth consoles on the Versaclimber will soon allow workout data to be transferred to iPhone or Android, so people can share and store stats and track progress" - Neil Kelford, Versaclimber
    GET CLIMBING

    • Versaclimbing can be used to improve threshold capacity without causing micro-traumas. For example, during an hour-long training session, working in a high heart rate zone doesn’t excessively tire or damage the body

    • The muscles of the posterior chain are all targeted during climbing-based exercise: shoulders, back, glutes, hamstrings and calves

    • A session burns more calories per minute than any other cardio. On average, using a Versaclimber burns 22.3 calories per minute, while cycling, treadmill and rowing classes burn between 13 and 14 calories

    • Climbing keeps the body aligned, reinforces better movement patterns and is zero impact, non-traumatic and injury preventative

    Jason Walsh, Rise Nation
    "I think climbing has been overlooked, because nobody knew how to use it in a group class training setting. I wanted to put something on the market that is effective, efficient and safe " - Jason Walsh, Rise Nation
    Alex Nicholl, director of ‘Sweat by BXR’, leading a Versaclimber class at Anthony Joshua’s BXR London club. The company is planning to develop five more sites
    Alex Nicholl, director of ‘Sweat by BXR’, leading a Versaclimber class at Anthony Joshua’s BXR London club. The company is planning to develop five more sites
    Versaclimber workouts at BXR London range in price from £30 for a one-off class to £6 for members
    Versaclimber workouts at BXR London range in price from £30 for a one-off class to £6 for members
    Rise Nation in West Hollywood has invested in a dramatic LED ceiling by Softlab
    Rise Nation in West Hollywood has invested in a dramatic LED ceiling by Softlab
    http://www.leisureopportunities.com/images/imagesX/558887_552875.jpg
    Could Versaclimber classes become the next big thing? We check out the concepts reinvigorating this classic piece of kit
    Latest News
    Mike Lamb CEO, Asia of Jetts 24 Hour Fitness, which has clubs in south-east Asia, ...
    Latest News
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    Job search
    POST YOUR JOB
    Opinion
    promotion
    Hedgehog Concept Ltd has developed software that allows its clients to track usage and customer volume on a minute to minute basis.
    Opinion: Is your software fit for COVID-19?
    Featured supplier news
    Featured supplier: EGYM presents Corona Gym Solution, for the successful re-opening of fitness studios
    Finally, the time has come: fitness and health facilities around the globe are gradually resuming operations.
    Featured supplier news
    Featured supplier: Bicester hotel opens purpose-built performance facilities to attract new target audience
    The Bicester Hotel and Spa has launched purpose-built fitness and performance facilities to create a standalone, unique offering to attract a new demographic to the site.
    Video Gallery
    Technogym mywellness app
    Technogym
    Improve your training experience. All your data in a single app. Read more
    More videos:
      Company profiles
      Company profile: Incorpore Limited
      Incorpore Ltd is a leading fitness and wellness company which has been successfully delivering solutions ...
      Company profiles
      Company profile: Life Fitness
      Through our Life Fitness Solutions Partners, we can deliver design and build services, finance solutions, ...
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      Click on a catalogue to view it online
      Directory
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      Diary dates
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      Diary dates
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      Diary dates
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      Diary dates
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      Diary dates
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      Diary dates
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      Diary dates
      27-30 Oct 2020
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      Diary dates
      30-31 Oct 2020
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      Diary dates
      27-28 Nov 2020
      Athena, Leicester, United Kingdom
      Diary dates
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