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Best Vertical Climber Machines

"Laurel Bustard" (2019-09-06)

At its most basic, the stair-climbing machine consists of two pedals that alternately drop under your weight to simulate walking or running up steps. Attached to the pedals of most machines is some form of variable resistance device, which allows you to step at a faster or slower rate. The faster the pace, the harder the workout. A side rail or handlebar lets you steady yourself. An electronic monitor is often included, to let you gauge the progress of your workout. The standard advice about trying before you buy is particularly apt for the stair-climbing machine. Four years after its debut, the home version of this exercise device is still in its shakedown period. Designs are being tried out that aren't destined to survive, and the worst of them could sour you on stair climbers forever. None of the machines Consumer Reports tested, sold primarily for home use, could compare with the high-priced models found in health clubs.

Still, several of the tested models did stand out. 400, a single-action machine (which exercises only the lower body). Its handrail has three vertical adjustments to accommodate people of different heights, and fore-and-aft adjustments. It also sports forearm rests so you can assume a bicycle-racing-style tuck, though that takes some of the work out of the exercise. Some of its extras were also its weak points -- a somewhat unreliable pulse monitor and a latch that jammed on both test samples, making it impossible to fold for storage. Those were minor flaws, however. 160. It was judged a best buy. It was a smooth and quiet performer, although tall exercisers found they had to stoop a bit. Furthermore, adjusting its resistance requires you to kneel by the shock absorbers and fiddle with knobs. If you'd like the benefit of an upper-body workout, choose a dual-action machine. 650. It was smooth, quiet, solidly built and fit exercisers well. Drawbacks are arm levers that can bump lightly into a tall person's chest and an inconvenient way to adjust resistance.

Like both CSAs, the Precor 730e uses dependent leg motion (the pedals are linked, so pushing down on one pedal makes the other go up), which makes climbing easy for beginners and intermediates. For a more challenging workout, choose an independent-motion model, one that doesn't link the pushing down of one leg to the lifting of the other. 625, performed nearly as well as the top-rated machine. It's a single-action model. 549. Its unusual system of linking arm and leg levers forces you to use upper- and lower-body muscles more than you would with any other tested machine, but some users had trouble coordinating the motions required. There's considerably less to choose from among ladder-type machines. 299, was the best of three models rated, but it has its limitations. Its hand pegs and monitor are too low for tall users, its side rail is too low for almost all users, and its flywheel resistance system gains enough inertia that some testers complained of feeling pressure in their knees.

  • What are the shipping dimensions

  • No resistance adjustments

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  • Quiet operation

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  • The pedal placement may not be comfortable for some users

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The vast abandoned slate quarries of Llanberis in Snowdonia provide a surreal and dramatic backdrop to some very good sport climbs. Over 50 bolted climbing routes can be found on the slabby, terraced levels of the Australia sector at Dinorwig. Access is gained by following a public footpath from the parking area. Bear in mind that technically the routes are on private land and that the landowner (a power generation company) does not officially allow access away from the marked footpaths. When to go: Not in winter, when it’s very cold. There was no recorded climbing on this crag before 2009. Most local climbers apparently thought climbing wouldn’t be permitted here as it’s so close to the town centre of Settle in Yorkshire. Early in 2009, a rock-fall brought attention to the crag, and conversations led to an intense crag clean-up and transformation into a superb, south-facing climbing area. It was a unique collaboration: the local council funded the development, and local shops bought route names. Some loose rock remains here, so wear a helmet.

A limestone quarry on the border between England and Wales, near Oswestry, Shropshire. Offers dramatic, quite adventurous sport climbing - probably not suitable for novices on their fi rst outdoor ventures. For those with a little more experience under their belts there are over 100, long sports routes here on several different faces. This quarry is a nature reserve managed by Shropshire Wildlife Trust. Be aware that due to rare nesting birds parts of the cliffs are under restricted access from 1 March to 30 June. Dancing Ledge offers easy access from a free car park close to the village of Langton Matravers and non-tidal climbing by the sea. As a result, it’s probably the most popular cliff at Swanage. However there’s plenty to go around: roughly 100 climbs, mostly sport, ranging from very hard routes to easier beginner climbs. Be aware that some of the 5s and 6s have become polished due to the passage of many rock shoes, and are consequently hard for their grade. Also worth noting: a small tidal pool was blasted into the rock overlooking the sea for local schools to use about 100 years ago. It’s not big enough to swim in, but a great place to cool down on a hot day. Read more about where you can climb, access restrictions and your responsibilities. Check out the BMC regional access database for the latest crag access information. This article is an extract from Get into Climbing, our special edition magazine for beginners. The magazine contains 100 pages (over 30 articles) of essential information and expert advice on how to start climbing. Buy your copy from the BMC shop for just £5 (£3 for BMC members). Don't want to miss out on the climbing competition action? Whether you're a competitor, spectator or volunteer, sign up to the climbing calendar mailing list to get reminders for comp registrations, and start times here.