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This Denver Fitness Brand Has Attracted Pitbull and Jay-Z as Investors

CLMBR, an at-home climbing machine, raised $1.3 million through a crowd-funding campaign in January.

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Peloton bikes may have taken over living rooms and home gyms as the pandemic shuttered fitness centers, but one Denver company is climbing into the at-home fitness craze. CLMBR is a vertical climbing machine that works both your upper and lower body, mimicking a climbing or crawling motion—the “best kind of primal movements that a person can do,” says founder and CEO Avrum Elmakis.

“We’ve basically taken that contralateral, crawling movement and stood it upright,” Elmakis says. “What I love about that is it’s not only engaging the entire body at one time, but it’s doing it in a very safe way. The user is regulating their own movement, and it can be very intense or not intense at all.”

Founded in 2019, CLMBR launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indigogo in late 2020. In addition to the campaign, which sold nearly 600 climbers and brought in $1.3 million, CLMBR has secured funding from notable investors like Pitbull, Jay-Z, and tennis player Novak Djokovic. Former Denver Nuggets point guard Chauncey Billups is also an ambassador for the fitness brand.

The interest in CLMBR is strong because there’s nothing like it on the market. Elmakis—a longtime entrepreneur who founded TDBBS, a dog treat company, in 2007—pivoted into the health and wellness space when he moved to Denver 10 years ago. He found Versa Climbers at a local gym and became interested in climbing, but noticed there wasn’t an at-home fitness machine for such a workout.

When comparing CLMBR to rock climbing, Elmakis says the two are somewhat different. Users will get a full-body workout with the machine or traditional climbing, but CLMBR doesn’t improve your grip strength.

CLMBR is equipped with handlebars that can be adjusted by one-inch increments to accommodate for each user’s height. The handlebars can be held underhand, overhand, or neutral—up and down, similar to how one would hold a hammer—to work various muscles in your arms. Foot pedals also move as you maneuver your arms. If a user wants more of a leg workout, they can focus on climbing with their legs and rest their hands on a lower bar, says Christa Dellebovi, CLMBR’s director of training and education. To increase the intensity of a workout, users can expand their arm reach or select one of the 11 resistance settings.

Photo courtesy of CLMBR

According to the Indiegogo campaign, workouts on CLMBR burn up to 60 percent more calories than traditional cardio or aerobic exercises like cycling, rowing, and running. “Most people, I believe, are like me in the sense that they want to accomplish more in less time,” Elmakis says. “Would you rather workout for 15 minutes or workout for 30 minutes and get the same result?”

CLMBR is available in two models: the CLMBR Connected and the CLMBR Pure. CLMBR Connected is designed for the at-home user and features a large, interactive touchscreen tablet. This model also offers a $39.99 per month subscription with access to more than 100 on-demand classes ranging from five- to 45-minute workouts. The second model, CLMBR Pure, is designed for fitness studios or group classes, and features a smaller touchscreen.

While the machine has a three-foot-by-three-foot base, giving it a smaller footprint than most other exercise equipment, it is more than 7.5 feet tall. So if you don’t have ceilings at least eight feet high, CLMBR won’t work for you. CLMBRs also have built-in wheels to help you relocate the 150-pound machine and a convenient spot to hold water bottles while you sweat it out.

Customers wanting to tap into the at-home workout trend with CLMBR can pre-order a machine online for $2,499. If you want to test it out before you buy, customers will be able to find CLMBR at B8ta, a retail store in Cherry Creek Mall, come July. CLMBR is also set to open its own storefront in Cherry Creek, where the company is headquartered, this June—around the same time that the machines are expected to arrive in homes.

“We’re proud to be a Colorado born and bred company. We’ve got an incredible road ahead of us,” Elmakis says.

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