Rise Nation class: review + tips

Over Labor Day weekend, I took my first Rise Nation class…and it’s safe to say I love it. I’ve taken just one more class since then due to scheduling but I would love to be able to take more. However, because “I love it” is not very helpful, I thought I’d share a more detailed review today.

The machine: 

All Rise Nation classes take place on a Versaclimber, which looks something like this:



Source: httpsintimidatingber.com/product

It looks sort of intimadating but don’t worry – for your first class, a staff member will bring you over to your machine and show you the basics. Basically, you can adjust the height of the handles and you also want to make sure your feet straps are tightened/loosened appropriately (you want them secure but definitely not tight).

The VersaClimber has a display monitor so you can see your time (it only records when you’re moving, so if you take rests it may show less than 30 minutes at the end) and how far you’ve climbed, plus a few other stats. It’s up to you whether you pay attention to those or not.

Class format:

All Rise Nation classes are 30 minutes (and you will WORK for all those minutes, I promise).

There are three class levels – 1, 2 and 3. I’ve only ever taken a Level 2 class but I’ve heard Level 1 is still challenging. If you’re not used to high-intensity workouts, I would definitely start with Level 1. Level 3 scares me but, hey, whatever floats your boat (it doesn’t look like that level is offered all the time in Cleveland though).

Typically, the workout starts with a “warmup” song and builds in intensity. Sometimes there is a slow song in the middle or two-thirds of the way through, but I think that’s instructor dependent. The classes I have been to end with a sprint on the machine and then we all jump off for a few quick stretches to wrap up.

Yes, there are sprints, combos and other movements variations – it’s not a static climb.

The instructor spends most of the time on his or her own VersaClimber on a platform in front of the class, doing the workout right along with you. Sometimes she or he will get down to wander (or run or leap) around the room, but only after the moves/combos have been thoroughly demonstrated. I like this because, if you’re new, you may not know what a certain cue means – seeing it helps a lot.

Most of the time you will hold the handles, but sometimes the instructor will tell you to move your hands to the lower rails, which is more challenging.

Screen Shot 2017-09-28 at 6.39.05 AM

She is smiling…but doesn’t mean it. Source: https://www.facebook.com/climbrisenation/ 

Music and lights:

The demonstration from the instructor is also helpful because it is LOUD in there. The music is cranked and, at least for the classes I have been to, it’s a lot of rap with some thumping beats. I kind of like it but I also kind of want them to turn it down juuuuust a touch. 🙂

The lighting is also strobe-esque – the room is dark with flashing, bright lights that seem to be programmed to the beat of the music. This is somewhat helpful as I feel like no one can see me and it encourages me to NOT look at anyone else. However, I can see how this may bother some people, so it’s something to be aware of.

What to wear and bring:

My go-to Rise Nation outfit is shorts and a tank top. This class will make you SWEAT. I have seen people in capris or pants….but personally, I suggest the shorts/tank route because the less fabric the better. Also, of course, socks and athletic shoes.

As for what to bring, water is really all you need, though you may also want to bring a light recovery snack if you have a drive home. Rise Nation provides a towel for you.


Post-first class. Red-faced and sweaty. Note tank top and water bottle 🙂 

The benefits: 

One of my favorite thing about the class is the low impact-high intensity combination. Between my regular running and HIIT workouts, I personally get my share of impact in. Of course, I swim, which is low impact, but I like having options, especially higher intensity ones.

According to Rise Nation, because the class is “momentum neutral,” it’s “the most effective calorie burner on the market.” I have no way of validating the calorie thing (and remember, burning calories should not be your only goal of working out), but I do understand the momentum neutral part – it’s all you moving up there.

And, the fact that it’s only 30 minutes is a huge win in my book!

Some things to consider: 

I’ve said it’s high intensity and while I love high-intensity workouts…it may not be right for everyone. Now, you do have total control over how fast you really go, how long your stride is, etc. so someone who is just starting out in their fitness journey can customize their experience. You just need to go in remembering to listen to YOUR body, and not worry about keeping up with the instructor.


The Cleveland Rise Nation studio is located on Euclid Avenue but Geiger’s and Heinen’s (1026 Euclid). There is also one in West Hollywood and it looks like one coming soon to Miami.

Let me know if you check it out – or if you have questions on something I forgot to cover!


2 Comments Add yours

  1. I definitely want to try one of these classes! I have used a Versa Climber at Tremont Athletic Club and have the most success with it when I can try to match the beat of my music. It would be great to have an instructor handle that!



    1. I hope you get a chance to try it. They offer classes at a wide variety of times so hopefully you can find one that works for you. Oh and I think your first class is free!


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