What is the mountain climbers’ exercise?

A mountain climber is a very efficient (and pretty fun) full body exercise that activates muscles throughout the entire body.

Which muscles are used for performing the mountain climbers?

Mountain climbers are challenging because they include so many different muscle groups.
They are considered one of the more intense exercises because they engage abdominals, glutes, legs, arms, chest, and shoulders since the body has to be held up in the plank position.

What are the benefits of mountain climbers?

Even though it is relatively simple to perform and it requires only bodyweight, mountain climbers are a great exercise that comes with a huge deal of benefits.

Some of the main benefits performing mountain climbers include:

– Mountain climbers are very efficient.

Mountain climbers are a compound exercise, which means that they engage multiple muscle groups and joints while they are being performed. This means they will burn a lot of calories, especially when performed at higher pace. So they are really worth adding to your workout routine.

– Mountain climbers improve mobility.

The dynamic nature of mountain climbers makes them a great option for those who are looking to improve their mobility. Every time that the movement of the mountain climber motion is repeated, the hip and knee joints are loosened, enhancing overall function and improving range of motion. Once our hips and knee joints are mobile, the risk of injury is drastically reduced.

– Mountain climber exercise supports heart health.

You might associate mountain climbers with strength training exercises, especially when it comes to strengthening the lower-body muscles. And while that is true, mountain climbers are also a great cardio workout since the quick, constant leg switching gives your heart rate a good boost. In addition, as you improve and grow stronger, you will be able to pick up your pace, which means that the cardiovascular benefits will be even greater.

How to do a mountain climber exercise?

Every exercise has to be done with proper form in order to maximize effectiveness and prevent injury. Here is how to perform mountain climbers with proper form:

  1. Get into a plank position, with your hands and feet on the floor, legs hip-width apart. Make sure your weight is evenly distributed, and your hands shoulder-width apart. Your back should be completely flat, your core should be engaged. This is your start position.
  2. Without moving the rest of your body, let your left knee drive towards your chest as far as you can landing on your toes. Your right leg should remain still, with your right foot still on the floor.
  3. Quickly switch up the legs, pulling one knee up and pushing the other knee back.
  4. Make sure to inhale and exhale as you continue alternating the first and the other leg while paying close attention to proper form.

Variations of a mountain climber exercise

Mountain climbers are pretty fun as it is, but some mountain climber variations can spice up your workout. Some of the variations include:

Cross Body Mountain Climber Exercise

A little cross-body action can spice things up and turn up the intensity of the classic mountain climber. Just make sure to draw one leg towards the opposite shoulder as you are performing this movement in a high plank position while keeping your upper body in a straight line.

Army Crawl Mountain Climbers

This move mimics the experience of treading through barbed wire and mud in a plank position. Army crawl mountain climbers will also engage your core strength, obliques, your upper body (shoulders, and arms),  but they will also challenge and improve your stability.

Plank Jack Mountain Climbers

Plank jack mountain climbers will combine your love for planks with your passion for jumping jacks. This movement will also work your abs, thighs, and glutes, especially as you hop back up to a starting position.  Plank jack mountain climbers are a sure way to feel your heart pumping and to up your heart rate.

Mistakes/Safety Tip

There are some common mistakes that many people tend to make when it comes to mountain climbers, especially if they are starting their fitness journey.  When performing the mountain climbers, make sure to avoid:

– Dropping hips too low

Don’t let your hips drop low, instead when you feel that you can’t hold a straight plank position take a break and reset. Having hips drop low can take a strain on your lower back and potentially lead to injury.

– Arching your back

Make sure to keep your back nice and flat with core engaged throughout the movement to help you with the support. Rather perform less reps with quality form then too much too soon.

– Bouncing on your toes.

The most common beginner mistake when it comes to mountain climbers is bouncing on the toes while performing the movement. Unfortunately, the bouncing requires less engagement of your core muscles, making the exercise less effective.

– Shifting your weight back.

It is very easy to let your weight shift back, especially if you are new to this movement. When this happens, your body ends up in a down-dog position, which should be avoided. Instead, make sure to keep the weight balanced and your shoulders over your wrists.

– Not allowing the toes to touch the floor.

As the move speeds up, you might catch yourself failing to fully complete it by not to allowing your toes off the lifted leg to touch the ground. If the toes do not touch the ground, you are risking injury, but you are also not gaining the full benefit of the exercise.