GET HCM
magazine
Sign up for the FREE digital edition of HCM magazine and also get the HCM ezine and breaking news email alerts.
Not right now, thanksclose this window
FIBO Exhibition
FIBO Exhibition
FIBO Exhibition
Follow Health Club Management on Twitter Like Health Club Management on Facebook Join the discussion with Health Club Management on LinkedIn Follow Health Club Management on Instagram
UNITING THE WORLD OF FITNESS
Health Club Management

Health Club Management

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
Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
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
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/imagesX/558887_552875.jpg
Could Versaclimber classes become the next big thing? We check out the concepts reinvigorating this classic piece of kit
Kath Hudson, Journalist, Leisure Media Alex Nicholl, Sweat by BXR Neil Kelford, Versaclimber Jason Walsh, Rise Nation,Versaclimber classes, Anthony Joshua, high-end boutique club, BXR London,
HCM magazine
Changes to DNA which occur during exercise give protection against a wide range of diseases, according to new research from the Univesity of Copenhagen
HCM magazine
We’re spending circa £800,000 a month on incremental COVID measures to ensure people feel comfortable, and that expectations aren’t just met, but are exceeded
HCM magazine
The Gym Group has taken its digital hybrid strategy full circle, piloting in-gym workout pods and studios with its home workout delivery partner, Fiit. HCM talks to the team driving the project
HCM Magazine
Everyone’s talking about
Booming membership sales, busy suburban clubs and members visiting during the working day. Operators are reporting it’s good to be back. Kath Hudson finds out what business has been like since the re-set button was pressed
HCM Magazine
Editor's letter
The appetite for health clubs is strong among consumers and investors – to take advantage of this, operators must figure out how to meet key challenges in operationally sustainable ways
HCM Magazine
Statistics
How have consumers responded to the end of lockdowns? Cesar Carvalho shares some bounceback numbers with HCM
HCM Magazine
Sponsored
Active IQ is launching courses to upskill fitness professionals to work in social prescribing, extending the reach of the industry
HCM Magazine
Sponsored
Les Mills is launching a new digital network called Les Mills Connect to help clubs build back better and emerge from the pandemic with a stronger business
HCM Magazine
Tokyo Olympics
GLL is best known for running leisure facilities on behalf of local authorities across the UK, but a lesser-known part of its remit is its GLL Sport Foundation which supports Olympic hopefuls. Liz Terry finds out more
HCM Magazine
Supplier launch
Life Fitness introduces Integrity SL, the next-generation LED console with intuitive functionality and digital connectivity
HCM Magazine
Latest News
Peloton has completed the merging of its commercial operations with Precor, the equipment brand it ...
Latest News
Half of UK adults aren't happy with their physical fitness levels, according to a study ...
Latest News
Temporary measures brought in to support businesses in the UK from insolvency during the pandemic ...
Latest News
Nadine Dorries has replaced Oliver Dowden as the Secretary of State for Digital, Media, Culture ...
Latest News
In a major move against the gym market, Apple has revealed a number of upgrades ...
Latest News
Physical activity professionals in England will soon be able to access free, one-to-one learning with ...
Latest News
Fitness equipment giant Nautilus has acquired VAY, a firm specialising in AI and motion technology. ...
Latest News
An award celebrating outstanding individuals in the fitness sector is to be named in honour ...
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Active IQ Skills Hub helps fitness professionals boost skills in post-Covid market
Suffice to say that the pandemic has completely changed the way fitness professionals work and the way consumers work out – and therein lies opportunity.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Uptivo: Individual and group heart rate tracking
Uptivo is an all-in-one digital solution for fitness clubs, fitness boutique studios and personal trainers that provides powerful tools to schedule activities, manage member payments, and monitor heart rate both for remote and on-site classes.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Everyone Active bolsters Everyone on Demand and enters second year with five new partnerships
Everyone Active has signed a number of new deals which will see the operator strengthen its digital product offering, Everyone on Demand.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Everyone Active generates £342m in social value
Award-winning leisure operator Everyone Active generated £342million in social value at its sites across the country in 2019/20.
Company profiles
Company profile: EGYM UK Ltd
EGYM empowers gym operators to deliver a workout experience that supports their members' lifelong fitness ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Indigofitness Ltd
We Create Training Spaces! We've been designing and delivering high quality training spaces for almost ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Whole body cryotherapy
Art of Cryo: Whole body cryotherapy
Lockers/interior design
Crown Sports Lockers: Lockers/interior design
Fitness equipment
Precor: Fitness equipment
Management software
Premier Software Solutions: Management software
Architects/designers
Zynk Design Consultants: Architects/designers
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Exercise equipment
Power Plate: Exercise equipment
Wearable technology solutions
MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
Red Light Therapy
 Red Light Rising: Red Light Therapy
Skincare
Comfort Zone - Davines S.p.A: Skincare
Property & Tenders
Welwyn Garden City
Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council
Property & Tenders
Newport, Shropshire
Lilleshall Sports Academy
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
21-24 Sep 2021
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
13-14 Oct 2021
Online,
Diary dates
01-03 Feb 2022
Coventry Building Society Arena, Coventry, United Kingdom
Diary dates
07-10 Apr 2022
Exhibition Centre , Cologne, Germany
Diary dates
15-16 Jun 2022
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates

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
Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
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
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/imagesX/558887_552875.jpg
Could Versaclimber classes become the next big thing? We check out the concepts reinvigorating this classic piece of kit
Kath Hudson, Journalist, Leisure Media Alex Nicholl, Sweat by BXR Neil Kelford, Versaclimber Jason Walsh, Rise Nation,Versaclimber classes, Anthony Joshua, high-end boutique club, BXR London,
Latest News
Peloton has completed the merging of its commercial operations with Precor, the equipment brand it ...
Latest News
Half of UK adults aren't happy with their physical fitness levels, according to a study ...
Latest News
Temporary measures brought in to support businesses in the UK from insolvency during the pandemic ...
Latest News
Nadine Dorries has replaced Oliver Dowden as the Secretary of State for Digital, Media, Culture ...
Latest News
In a major move against the gym market, Apple has revealed a number of upgrades ...
Latest News
Physical activity professionals in England will soon be able to access free, one-to-one learning with ...
Latest News
Fitness equipment giant Nautilus has acquired VAY, a firm specialising in AI and motion technology. ...
Latest News
An award celebrating outstanding individuals in the fitness sector is to be named in honour ...
Latest News
David Lloyd Leisure (DLL) has reorganised its top team in order to expand its estate ...
Latest News
Downtown Miami’s upcoming mixed-use development Legacy Hotel & Residences has signed a joint venture deal ...
Latest News
Colin Waggett has revealed that the recent deal, which saw KSL Capital Partners acquire a ...
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Active IQ Skills Hub helps fitness professionals boost skills in post-Covid market
Suffice to say that the pandemic has completely changed the way fitness professionals work and the way consumers work out – and therein lies opportunity.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Uptivo: Individual and group heart rate tracking
Uptivo is an all-in-one digital solution for fitness clubs, fitness boutique studios and personal trainers that provides powerful tools to schedule activities, manage member payments, and monitor heart rate both for remote and on-site classes.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Everyone Active bolsters Everyone on Demand and enters second year with five new partnerships
Everyone Active has signed a number of new deals which will see the operator strengthen its digital product offering, Everyone on Demand.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Everyone Active generates £342m in social value
Award-winning leisure operator Everyone Active generated £342million in social value at its sites across the country in 2019/20.
Company profiles
Company profile: EGYM UK Ltd
EGYM empowers gym operators to deliver a workout experience that supports their members' lifelong fitness ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Indigofitness Ltd
We Create Training Spaces! We've been designing and delivering high quality training spaces for almost ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Whole body cryotherapy
Art of Cryo: Whole body cryotherapy
Lockers/interior design
Crown Sports Lockers: Lockers/interior design
Fitness equipment
Precor: Fitness equipment
Management software
Premier Software Solutions: Management software
Architects/designers
Zynk Design Consultants: Architects/designers
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Exercise equipment
Power Plate: Exercise equipment
Wearable technology solutions
MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
Red Light Therapy
 Red Light Rising: Red Light Therapy
Skincare
Comfort Zone - Davines S.p.A: Skincare
Property & Tenders
Welwyn Garden City
Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council
Property & Tenders
Newport, Shropshire
Lilleshall Sports Academy
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
21-24 Sep 2021
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
13-14 Oct 2021
Online,
Diary dates
01-03 Feb 2022
Coventry Building Society Arena, Coventry, United Kingdom
Diary dates
07-10 Apr 2022
Exhibition Centre , Cologne, Germany
Diary dates
15-16 Jun 2022
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates
Search news, features & products:
Find a supplier:
FIBO Exhibition
FIBO Exhibition