Young blonde woman in black and blue doing mountain climbers outside in park


Written By Elise Velazquez Personal Trainer Prescription Fitness

A mountain climber is a body weight exercise that burns calories, builds stamina and strengthens the core. Not only do mountain climbers make use of all of the body’s major muscle groups so it’s almost like getting a total body workout in just one move!  When properly performing a mountain climber, your shoulders, arms and chest work to stabilize your upper body, your core works to stabilize the rest of your body and your quads get a workout as the prime mover  Besides that, they are simple and can be done almost anywhere. When performed at a rapid pace, they are also a good form of cardio training. The primary actions involved in mountain climbers are supporting the body in plank position while flexing the knees to work the core.  Imagine the movements used to climb a mountain but on the floor.

How to do a Mountain Climber

There are many variations but my two favorite are:

Version 1 – Running Mountain Climbers

  • Get into a plank position.  It is important to start with good plank form.
  • Your hands should be about shoulder-width apart, back flat, abs engaged and head in alignment.
  • Pull the right knee in to your chest as far as you can.  Now, switch and bring the other knee in.
  • Run the knees in as far and as fast as you can while keeping the hips down.

Version 2 – Foot Switch Mountain Climbers

This version, to me, is a bit harder than version above.  Start off slow and increase speed as you become comfortable with the movement.  Again, form is key.

  • Get into your plank position as in the above version.
  • When you bring your right knee in, touch the toe to the floor.
  • Jump the feet in the air and switch sides so that the right foot is back and the left foot is in front.
  • This move is more of a foot switching motion than a run, so there’s more impact, which will get your heart rate up faster.

If you find that the two versions I give above are still too tough, you can modify the move by using a bench or a step.  Basically, you are doing a plank off a bench or step.  Elevating the upper body takes the weight off your arms and shoulders allowing you to focus on the leg movement and core.

Mountain climbers are a great move to sprinkle into your next workout.  Regardless of what version you choose from above, I guarantee you will see results.  Also, once you master this wonderfully challenging move, you will be hooked.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

About the author : jhaase

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