We’re not going to tell you to work out exactly like LeBron James. Sorry! Not happening. Why? Because he’s a 6-foot-8, 250-pound freak of nature who has been training for decades to thrive in a very specific athletic environment, the NBA. You’re…almost definitely not. And even if you are, you’re still not LeBron James.
Plus, to be completely honest, most of the workout snippets that James has let out over the years don’t look like anything you’d want to do anyway. Anyone up for kneeling on an exercise ball while waving a Bodyblade today? Didn’t think so.
That said, there is one undeniably awesome, undeniably brutal component to James’ training that is worth submitting yourself to. It’s the VersaClimber, a machine that provides a full-body strength and conditioning challenge unlike just about anything out there. It’s also been central to the seemingly ageless James’ training since his third season in the league, as well as to the rest of his former team, the Cleveland Cavaliers.
“If I could only have one piece of equipment to train with for the rest of my life,” James once told ESPN, “this would be it.” He put it in even more intimate terms on Instagram: “Me and my girlfriend!! All I need. Versa Climber is her name.”
This is one case where athletes and celebs agree. Even though the VersaClimber has been around since the early 1980s, it recently went viral as “Hollywood’s new favorite workout,” and has been cited as a fave by everyone from Jennifer Aniston to Lady Gaga. James has also been known to hop into classes at Rise Nation, a VersaClimber-focused gym in West Hollywood. Now that he’s donning the purple and gold of the Lakers, don’t be surprised to see VersaClimber obsession take over his new team like it did his old one.
So, what do you do with it? If you’re new to the VersaClimber, just climb aboard and push and pull. It really only has one action, a piston-style cross-body approximation of climbing up the side of a mountain. Set the resistance relatively low, and try to survive this simple workout:
- Versaclimber: Max distance in 23 minutes, for LeBron James’ number.
“But I Don’t Have One!”
So, what if your gym doesn’t have a VersaClimber? That’s a common problem, and it’s the only reason it’s not on our list of the 10 Best Cardio Machines.
If that’s the case, try this:
1. Make sure your gym really doesn’t have one. VersaClimbers are such a battle to train on that most of us are conditioned to ignore them, even if they’re right in front of us. James’ manager Maverick Carter noted this in the ESPN article, saying, “There was one in my building in Miami in the gym. Nobody used it for the whole five years I lived there, except for me. Like, people don’t like to use it.”
2. Find a blend of cardio activities that combine pushing, pulling, and epic cardio. For instance, you could do this:
- Rowing machine: Max distance in 11.5 minutes
- Stair stepper: Max distance in 11.5 minutes
No, it’s not exact, but it’ll make all the same parts of your body cry uncle. Now go sweat like the King!