Climbing a mountain would be an intimidating workout to most, however what if the mountain is the floor? That’s the idea behind mountain climbers. Done from a plank position, you’ll swap bringing one of your knees to your chest, then back out again, speeding up each time till you’re “running” against the floor.
While it sounds to be quite simple, mountain climbers are responsible for exercising almost the entire body and also raise your heart rate. You can easily include mountain climbers to your morning workout at home or the gym, in a hotel room while you’re travelling, or even squeeze in a few in your break room at work. The basic move is great for beginners, however more experienced exercisers can take things up a notch with variations.
The Benefits Of Mountain Climbers
The mountain climbers exercise is an explosive bodyweight exercise which engages multiple muscle groups at once so helping to improve your balance, agility, coordination, strength, flexibility as well as blood circulation. As a compound exercise which utilises multiple muscle groups in your whole body, mountain climbers are an efficient way of strengthening your arms, back, shoulders, core in addition to your legs.
Another benefit of utilising multiple muscles at once is an increased heart rate, which will assist you to burn more calories. This makes this a fantastic exercise if your goal is to get more definition in your abdominal region.
Mountain climbers can also improve your reflex speed, joint movement and overall stability. The great news is that it is not necessary for you to trek to your nearest mountain to give this exercise a go!
How To Do Mountain Climbers
- Start in a plank position. Have your shoulders placed directly over your hands and wrists. Make sure that you keep your back flat and your glutes down, ensuring that you maintain a neutral spine.
- Engage your core (think about you pulling your belly button toward your spine) and then lift up your right knee as you bring it towards your elbow. It’s OK if you can’t bring your knee all the way to your elbow. Take your right knee back to your starting position as you simultaneously drive your left knee up toward your left elbow. Return to your starting position.
- Continue switching legs and start to pick up your speed until it feels as if you’re “running” in place in a traditional plank position.
- Keep On “running” in your plank for 30 seconds. Repeat for a total of four sets.
Up for a Challenge?
Once you’ve mastered the fundamentals, you should challenge yourself with a more advanced variant.
Foot-Switch Mountain Climbers
This variant is more of a footswitch as opposed to a run. It has more impact and the potential in order to get your heart rate up:
- Begin from a plank position.
- As you bring your right knee in and then touch your big toe to the floor.
- Jump-switch your feet, making sure that you take your right foot back and then your left foot forward at the same time.
- Repeat for your required number of reps or time period.
Sliding Mountain Climbers
If you have a gliding disc or – alternatively – a towel, as well as hardwood floor, try utilising them to change up the fundamental move:
- Put your disc or towel on the floor and then position your foot on it as you assume a plank position.
- Slowly start to complete a basic rep, using your other non-sliding leg and your upper body to stabilise yourself.
- As you quicken the move, you’ll feel this variation working your quads more than the basic mountain climbers version.
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