Top 10 Vertical Climber Benefits & Calories Burned

The vertical climber is without a doubt one of the most overlooked and least known cardio machines on the market today. Everyone is familiar with the treadmill and exercise bike, but when is the last time you’ve heard of or even seen a vertical climbing machine?

The vertical climber benefits you in so many more ways than either of these two machines combined. If you have never heard of this cardio machine before now, you will enjoy reading how this machine is so much more effective at burning calories and how it compares to the treadmill and other cardio machines and exercises.

In this guide, I have listed our top five health benefits of using a vertical climber, as well as the overall benefits of the actual machine itself.

Furthermore, I have included a segment where I compare the vertical climber vs the treadmill to give you a better picture of how climber may be a better choice for your home gym workout routine. I personally believe that the perfect setup for any home gym should include both a vertical climber or even a rowing machine, and a stationary bike.

So without further ado let’s move on to our top benefits of using a vertical climbing machine.


  • Top Vertical Climber Health Benefits
  • Top Vertical Climber Machine Benefits
  • Vertical Climber Calories Burned vs Other Exercises (Comparison Table)
  • Vertical Climber vs Treadmill – Which Has The Most Benefits Overall?
  • Vertical Climber FAQ
  • Closing Remarks

Top Vertical Climber Health Benefits

Let’s start off with our top 5 vertical climber benefits relating to your overall health and wellbeing. Surprisingly, there are far more benefits to this cardio machine than you may realize. After taking a closer look you will see why so many individuals are now making this machine part of their go-to machine.

#1 Weight Loss & Calories Burned

Probably one of the greatest benefits you’ll get from this machine is how effective it is at burning calories compared to most other cardio machines. Research has shown that the vertical climber can burn twice as many calories as a treadmill (see more information on this below).

What this means is that you could either burn twice the calories per workout or burn the same amount of calories in half the time. Now that should pique your interest!

#2 Low Impact – Joint Friendly

Another advantage the vertical climber has is that it is a low to no-impact cardio machine. It’s quiet and smooth up and down gliding mechanism makes this machine very easy on the knee and elbow joints.

#3 Total Body Workout

What separates this cardio machine from most others is the fact that it incorporates your upper body, lower body, and core muscles all at once. That is what makes this machine so favorable when it comes to burning calories. With all the muscles involved in this exercise, you can rest assure that you will not only be burning calories and doing your heart a favor but also benefit in toning your muscles overall and doing your physique a favor.

#4 Cardio Health

As a cardio machine, the vertical climber is very good at supporting cardio health. The intensity this machine can provide you in just a short 10-minute workout is more than enough to get your heart rate up and keep it there.

This machine uses your body weight as resistance when performing this climbing exercise. However, there are also machines now that have additional resistance built into the machines which can be adjusted to tailor your workout intensity. This is a great feature to have when you’re ready to challenge yourself and take your workout to the next level.

#5 Boosts Metabolism

The climber machine is exceptionally good at boosting your metabolism as it not only works your cardiovascular system but also engages both your upper and lower body and core muscles. Using so many muscles at once is a guarantee to effectively boost your metabolism, which increases your ability to burn more fat more quickly.

vertical rock climber woman
Vertical climbers are designed to simulate rock climbing which provides for a high-intensity full-body workout.

Top Vertical Climber Machine Benefits

#6 Small Footprint

The climbing machine has only about a 2 to 3 square foot base, which when compared to the treadmill is only about a third or less floor space used. That is a huge difference when it comes to taking up room in your house or apartment.

#7 Portable and Lightweight Design

Climbers are designed to be extremely portable and lightweight. Many of them weigh no more than 30lbs and can easily be transported from room to room. Some models are even foldable and can be stored in a closet. 

#8 Extra Resistance Available

Your typical climber uses bodyweight very effectively as resistance, but many of the newer models now have extra features to add more resistance to your workout. Even Maxi Climber has a new and improved machine called the Maxi Climber XL-2000, which now has 12 levels of Bi-Directional Hydraulic resistance levels. A huge improvement from its old model.

#9 Little Assembly Required

Many of these machines require no more than 5 minutes to assemble. In most cases, it’s nothing more than tightening a few screws or wingnuts and you’re already in business.

#10 Inexpensive

For the most part, vertical climbers can be found for around $100. I have even found one, the X-Factor, which is under $100 and I think is a pretty good deal and best bang for your buck. 

Vertical Climber Calories Burned vs Other Exercises (Comparison Table)

The following numbers are calculated based on stats taken from a well-known vertical climber manufacturer here in the U.S. It shows just how much more effective the vertical climber is at burning calories than other cardio exercises and machines.

Walking/Treadmill5.0 mph380
Bicycling/Stationary Bike9.4 mph384
Swimming2.0 mph486
Running7.4 mph792
Vertical Climber1.3 mph 840
* Numbers may vary based on age, gender, and metabolism.

Vertical Climber vs Treadmill – Which Has The Most Benefits Overall?

vertical climber vs treadmill

Even though the treadmill is more popular and widespread than the vertical climber, it does not necessarily have the most benefits when it comes to workout intensity and calories burned.

In fact, studies have shown the vertical climber to burn more calories in less time than the treadmill and many other cardio machines and aerobic exercises.

Let’s take a deeper look into which machine is more beneficial. Is it the vertical climber or the Treadmill?

1. Which Machine Engages More Muscles & Burns More Calories?

The climbing machine is far more engaging and requires far more muscle activation. The climber is made to simulate movements and muscle utilization to that of a rock climber. Your arms, shoulders, back, abs, and legs are all being used together simultaneously. Thus making the climbers far more effective at burning calories than the treadmill.

A study conducted by the Department of Kinesiology and Leisure Studies at WSU proves how VO2max was indeed significantly higher with a vertical climber machine compared with the treadmill and rowing machine ergometry.

So what does this mean?

It means the amount of energy your body exerts while using the vertical climber is much greater than with the other machines and reaches a higher rate of whole-body oxygen uptake.

In short, your cardiovascular system is working harder to achieve the oxygen levels necessary to supply your muscles and organs.

Trust me when I say you will build up a sweat far quicker with these climbers than with the treadmill. Not only will you burn calories faster, but the added intensity will activate more growth hormones and increase your metabolism, thus creating a more efficient fat-burning environment.

After all, this is our main objective – to burn more fat in less time.

Vertical Climbing Machine Workout Routine for Maximum Results

Here is an example workout routine you could use that takes only about 20 minutes but will give you better results than a 45-minute session on the treadmill. If you are a beginner, maybe try a 5-minute session to start out with and with time work your way up to 20 minutes. Your goal over time should be to work your way up to at least a 30-minute workout.

A new study shows that a 30-minute workout may benefit just as well as a 1-hour workout session for helping overweight adults lose weight.

To begin with, I recommend a 5-minute warmup session with some light aerobic exercises and some stretching. Once you’re warmed up, use your vertical climbing machine at a light pace for about 1 minute. Next, push yourself through a high-intensity 20-second workout on these climbers.

After that, take a 30-second breather, and continue with some light jumping jacks for about 1 minute. Take a quick breather if necessary and immediately perform another 20 seconds of high-intensity vertical climbs. Repeat this sequence for a 5 to 10 or even 20 minutes workout. I guarantee you will see results.

Vertical Climber (light pace)1 minute
Vertical Climber (high intensity)20 seconds
Jumping Jacks1 minute
Vertical Climber (high intensity)20 seconds

In the following video find out why LeBron James calls his fountain of youth the VersaClimber vertical climber.

We Tried the "LeBron James" Workout (VersaClimber) - No Ifs, Ands for Butts

2. Is the Vertical Climber More Portable than a Treadmill?

I like to compare the vertical climbing machine to the rowing machine when it comes to intensity. But much like the treadmill, the rowing machine uses a lot of floor space. Both are very bulky and heavy, making it very difficult to move around or find a suitable location. The cardio climber, on the other hand, has a much smaller footprint in most cases and is much lighter and easier to maneuver around the house.

Furthermore, these climbers can be easily placed in just about any room. Its small footprint makes it ideal for corners, and if need be, a large closet would even do the trick. Some models are even foldable for easy storage. Check out my review for some of the best vertical climbers available online.

3. Which Machine is More Affordable?

Compared to any decent treadmill on the market, the vertical climbing machines are far less expensive. We all know when shopping for pretty much any product, that price is usually our first concern, after the quality of course.

Furthermore, let’s not forget at some point a treadmill will either break down or need maintenance or repair work. And parts and labor do not come cheap. A climber, on the other hand, does not require much maintenance at all and does not have expensive electrical parts, rollers, or bands that need fixing or replacing.

4. Quick Comparison Table (Vertical Climber vs Treadmill)

There are a few more differences between the two machines that benefit the climber over the treadmill. But rather than make this article any longer let’s just include them in the table below. 

Vertical ClimberTreadmill
Total Body Workout
Burns More Calories
More Portable/Lightweight
Less Floor Space
Least Maintenance
Less Expensive
Most Popular
Suitable for seniors

Vertical Climber FAQ

Do vertical climbers build muscles?

A climber is a cardio machine and thus meant to burn calories and strengthen your cardiovascular health. However, with ample use, this machine is capable of strengthening and toning muscles over time.

Are vertical climbers good for weight loss?

Since the vertical climber is a full-body cardio workout machine, it will burn twice the calories of a treadmill and many other cardio exercises. See our table above for more comparisons.

Are vertical climbers good for seniors to use?

I personally would not recommend using climbing machines for the elderly. A much more suitable cardio workout machine for seniors would be a recumbent bike or even a rowing machine. Both of these are no impact and joint-friendly machines that can be better adjusted to intensity levels suitable for the elderly.

What is the best vertical climber?

The best climber machine is one that has additional tension adjustments so you can modify the intensity levels so you can challenge yourself to reach higher goals. In my review of the best vertical climbers to own, you will see my top recommendations and editor’s choice awards.

Is the Maxi Climber bad for your knees?

Absolutely not. A climbing machine is a no-impact machine which is very joint-friendly, and thus ideal for anyone with joint problems.

How long should I workout on the vertical climber?

Since the vertical climber is a full-body cardio workout machine, a 10-15 minute workout session is usually the norm for this machine. The intensity and calories burned on are much greater on this machine vs most other cardio machines.

Does the Maxi Climber have resistance?

The Original Maxi Climber uses your own body weight as resistance. However, with the new and improved Maxi Climber XL-2000, you now have the option to challenge yourself with an additional 12 levels of Bi-Directional Hydraulic resistance levels.

Closing Remarks

As you have now learned, there are many advantages to be had from using a vertical climber compared to other cardio machines. Just by comparing the vertical climber to the treadmill, we have seen the many benefits the climber has over the treadmill.

Besides the many health benefits and advantages this machine offers, it is hard to ignore just how much more effective this machine is at burning calories. Considering this is a full-body cardio workout machine, you get twice the results in less time than with most other machines.

That means you will burn double the calories and lose weight twice as fast!

If this machine sounds like something you may be interested in, you can find my full review of the 6 best vertical climber machines available online.