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
Technogym
Technogym
Technogym
Health Club Management

Health Club Management

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
Get the latest news, jobs and features in your inbox
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
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
People
HCM people

Dave Courteen

MD and co-founder of Mosaic Spa and Health Clubs
I set myself the goal that if I found someone famous to write the foreword and a publisher, then I would write the book
People
HCM people

Dan Bond

Owner, CrossFit Fort Ashton
We’d explained leading up to the lockdown that if everyone decided to freeze or cancel, then there would be a possibility of not having a gym to come back to
People
HCM people

Debra Wein

founder and CEO, Wellness Workdays
I’ve always felt that if individuals had more education and understanding of nutrition and healthy lifestyle principles, we could literally change lives
Features
Supplier showcase
University College Birmingham has invested in elite performance facilities for students and staff, in partnership with Matrix Fitness
Features
The way I see it
As Technogym launches its new virtual and on-demand services, Francesco Arlotti, head of digital solutions, shares his thoughts with HCM
Features
US stats
New research from the US shows Millennials and Gen Z may be slow to return to gyms, while women are more hesitant than men. Club Intel’s Steve Tharrett reports
Features
Finance
Change is coming, with consolidation likely in the market – especially in the boutique sector. Nadim Meer advises operators how to position themselves for investment
Features
Insight
As some of the UK’s top gym operators unveil their reopening videos, insight specialists, Paul Roberts and Mike Evans, analyse members’ reactions on social media
Features
Immunity
Finding the best ways to boost immunity using exercise has never been more important. Two fitness equipment developers have taken up the challenge, with protocols that assist in strengthening the body’s defences
Features
Statistics
IHRSA’s Kristen Walsh gets a briefing from Blair McHaney on how operators can use gym member insight to inform reopening decisions and practices
Features
Latest News
Industry body, ukactive, has questioned the decision to close gyms and health clubs as part ...
Latest News
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has paid a surprise visit to a branch of The Gym ...
Latest News
Planet Fitness' share price on the New York Stock Exchange has remained steady at between ...
Latest News
Two of the largest health club operators in the US have announced that members and ...
Latest News
If you're a personal trainer working in the UK, you can now get online PT ...
Latest News
A member of SAGE, the government’s independent group of scientific advisers, has said gyms, pubs ...
Latest News
Following approval to build a £250mn wellbeing resort in Manchester, Therme Group has revealed plans ...
Latest News
Europe's largest gym chain, Basic-Fit, has provided the European fitness sector with some optimism, after ...
Opinion
promotion
Evidence suggests that over many years personal trainers have been forced to leave the fitness industry because employment patterns are erratic, earnings are inconsistent and it is difficult to build up value needed to secure an appropriate lifestyle.
Opinion: Personal trainers need support as employment opportunities diminish: FREE on-demand webinar
Opinion
promotion
Data-driven businesses are some of today’s greatest global success stories, providing blueprints for success.
Opinion: Up your ‘data game’ to successfully relaunch your fitness business
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Let's get restarted: Physical Company offers advice on keeping gym members safe
As countries around the world gear up to relax their lockdown rules, there remains a question mark over gyms and studios, which in many markets will be one of the last sectors to be given the green light.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Gympass partners with F45 Training to bring functional team training to world's largest corporate fitness platform
Gympass, the world’s largest corporate fitness platform, has announced a partnership with F45 Training, one of the world’s fastest-growing fitness franchisors that will give its corporate members access to their global network of workout facilities.
Company profiles
Company profile: TVS Group
The TVS Group supply and install sports and fitness flooring to a wide range of ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Keiser UK Ltd
Keiser began its history of visionary sports science leadership over 40 years ago, rejecting the ...
Supplier Showcases
Supplier showcase - Speedflex
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Design consultants
Zynk Design Consultants: Design consultants
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Independent service & maintenance
Servicesport UK Limited: Independent service & maintenance
Locking solutions
Monster Padlocks: Locking solutions
Management software
Fisikal: Management software
Wearable technology solutions
MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
Exercise equipment
EXF Fitness Equipment: Exercise equipment
Skincare
Comfort Zone - Davines S.p.A: Skincare
Whole body cryotherapy
Zimmer MedizinSysteme GmbH / icelab: Whole body cryotherapy
Fitness equipment
Healthcheck Services Ltd: Fitness equipment
Property & Tenders
Waltham Abbey, Essex
Lee Valley Regional Park Authority
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
21-24 Sep 2020
Loews Coronado Bay Resort, Coronado, United States
Diary dates
21-24 Sep 2020
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
22-23 Sep 2020
Heythrop Park, United Kingdom
Diary dates
17-23 Oct 2020
Pinggu, Beijing, China
Diary dates
03-06 Nov 2020
Online,
Diary dates
27-28 Nov 2020
Athena, Leicester, United Kingdom
Diary dates
23-26 Feb 2021
IFEMA, Madrid, Spain
Diary dates
03-04 Mar 2021
NEC, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Diary dates
03-06 Jun 2021
Expo Centre & Riviera di Rimini, Italy
Diary dates
16-17 Jun 2021
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
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
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
Industry body, ukactive, has questioned the decision to close gyms and health clubs as part ...
Latest News
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has paid a surprise visit to a branch of The Gym ...
Latest News
Planet Fitness' share price on the New York Stock Exchange has remained steady at between ...
Latest News
Two of the largest health club operators in the US have announced that members and ...
Latest News
If you're a personal trainer working in the UK, you can now get online PT ...
Latest News
A member of SAGE, the government’s independent group of scientific advisers, has said gyms, pubs ...
Latest News
Following approval to build a £250mn wellbeing resort in Manchester, Therme Group has revealed plans ...
Latest News
Europe's largest gym chain, Basic-Fit, has provided the European fitness sector with some optimism, after ...
Latest News
DW Sports is going into administration saying it's working to save its 73-strong gym portfolio. ...
Latest News
The American Council on Exercise (ACE) is urging US Congress to pass a new law ...
Latest News
Equipment giant Technogym has introduced its new Excite line of fully-connected cardio kit that has ...
Opinion
promotion
Evidence suggests that over many years personal trainers have been forced to leave the fitness industry because employment patterns are erratic, earnings are inconsistent and it is difficult to build up value needed to secure an appropriate lifestyle.
Opinion: Personal trainers need support as employment opportunities diminish: FREE on-demand webinar
Opinion
promotion
Data-driven businesses are some of today’s greatest global success stories, providing blueprints for success.
Opinion: Up your ‘data game’ to successfully relaunch your fitness business
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Let's get restarted: Physical Company offers advice on keeping gym members safe
As countries around the world gear up to relax their lockdown rules, there remains a question mark over gyms and studios, which in many markets will be one of the last sectors to be given the green light.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Gympass partners with F45 Training to bring functional team training to world's largest corporate fitness platform
Gympass, the world’s largest corporate fitness platform, has announced a partnership with F45 Training, one of the world’s fastest-growing fitness franchisors that will give its corporate members access to their global network of workout facilities.
Company profiles
Company profile: TVS Group
The TVS Group supply and install sports and fitness flooring to a wide range of ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Keiser UK Ltd
Keiser began its history of visionary sports science leadership over 40 years ago, rejecting the ...
Supplier Showcases
Supplier showcase - Speedflex
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Design consultants
Zynk Design Consultants: Design consultants
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Independent service & maintenance
Servicesport UK Limited: Independent service & maintenance
Locking solutions
Monster Padlocks: Locking solutions
Management software
Fisikal: Management software
Wearable technology solutions
MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
Exercise equipment
EXF Fitness Equipment: Exercise equipment
Skincare
Comfort Zone - Davines S.p.A: Skincare
Whole body cryotherapy
Zimmer MedizinSysteme GmbH / icelab: Whole body cryotherapy
Fitness equipment
Healthcheck Services Ltd: Fitness equipment
Property & Tenders
Waltham Abbey, Essex
Lee Valley Regional Park Authority
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
21-24 Sep 2020
Loews Coronado Bay Resort, Coronado, United States
Diary dates
21-24 Sep 2020
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
22-23 Sep 2020
Heythrop Park, United Kingdom
Diary dates
17-23 Oct 2020
Pinggu, Beijing, China
Diary dates
03-06 Nov 2020
Online,
Diary dates
27-28 Nov 2020
Athena, Leicester, United Kingdom
Diary dates
23-26 Feb 2021
IFEMA, Madrid, Spain
Diary dates
03-04 Mar 2021
NEC, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Diary dates
03-06 Jun 2021
Expo Centre & Riviera di Rimini, Italy
Diary dates
16-17 Jun 2021
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
Search news, features & products:
Find a supplier:
Technogym
Technogym