How To Do Mountain Climbers

Mountain Climbers and Variations

Mountain climbers are a dynamic, compound exercise, that works several muscles simultaneously. This move helps you burn off body fat while actively engaging your core, and increases your aerobic fitness, flexibility, and agility.

Benefits of Mountain Climbers

Mountain climbers are a great power move for runners. They ramp up your heart rate, challenge your balance and agility, and get your muscles burning. And though they’re usually considered a lower-body exercise, mountain climbers actually engage the upper arms and core, too.

As you perform the move, your shoulders, arms, and chest work to stabilize your upper body while your core stabilizes the rest of your body. As the prime mover, your quads get an incredible workout, too. And because it’s a cardio exercise, you’ll get heart health benefits and burn calories.

Common Mistakes

Not having the correct position

Make sure your back is straight and flat, not curved or arched and your hips are not raised (your bum shouldn’t be up in the air). Review the form while in the plank position and then try to hold it as you perform the move.

Not letting your toes touch the floor

As the move speeds up you may end up not fully completing the movement by letting your toes touch the ground as you bring them into your chest. Don’t this means that you might not get the full benefit of the injury and could risk injury.

Bouncing on your toes

You need to exercise with proper form not only to maximize effectiveness but prevent injury. Don’t be tempted to bounce on your toes as you workout – it may feel like you are working out harder but it doesn’t engage your core muscles properly.

Variations

Basic Mountain Climbers

  1. Start in a traditional plank with your shoulders directly over your hands and wrists. Be sure to keep your back flat and your butt down, maintaining a neutral spine.
  2. Engage your core (think about pulling your belly button toward your spine) and lift up your right knee, bringing it toward your elbow. It’s OK if you can’t bring the knee all the way to your elbow. Return the right knee back to the starting position as you simultaneously drive your left knee up toward your left elbow. Return to the starting position.
  3. Continue switching legs and begin to pick up the pace until it feels like you’re “running” in place in a plank position.
  4. Continue “running” in your plank for 30 seconds. Repeat for a total of four rounds.
ab workout Mountain Climber Twist
ab workout Mountain Climber Twist

Mountain Climber Twist

  1. Start in high plank, with your palms flat on the floor, hands shoulder-width apart (or wider if that’s how you usually do push-ups), shoulders stacked above your wrists, legs extended, and core engaged.
  2. Engage your core and draw your right knee to your left elbow.
  3. Return to starting position and immediately draw your left knee to your right elbow.
  4. Continue to alternate, moving quickly.
  5. Make sure to keep your core engaged and back flat throughout. If you have to slow down to maintain form, that’s fine.

Plank Jack Mountain Climbers

Combine your love for jumping jacks and planks n this ultimate heart-pumping core move. This mountain climber not only tests the limits of your heart rate but also works your abs, thighs, and glutes as you hop back up to a standing position.

Get into a high plank position with your shoulders aligned with your hands

  1. Using your lower abdominal muscles, do three jumping jacks, landing softly on the balls of your feet.
  2. Be sure to keep your upper body still and your shoulders and triceps engaged
  3. Bring your feet together and hop forward to meet your hands.
  4. Stand up tall and repeat 
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