You know the move. Hands down, bum in the air and legs pumping. It isn’t the most dignified exercise but a good mountain climber can work almost your entire body and raise your heart rate. Add to that the fact they can be done anywhere and are great for beginners but can also be upgraded for more experienced athletes and you’ve got a pretty great exercise. But if your form isn’t right, you won’t be reaping all of the benefits. This is how to do the perfect mountain climber.
What Are the Benefits of Doing Mountain Climbers?
This simple, no equipment compound move works almost your entire body. In particular though, they work your arms, core, shoulders and quads as well as raising your heart rate rapidly. When you hold your upper body in the plank position your core is engaged. Your deltoids, triceps and back muscles hold you steady, while your hip flexors, hamstrings, quads and bum get to work. Mountain climbers are incredibly efficient in this way, making them a great addition to any workout.
After just a couple of reps of mountain climbers most people feel pretty puffed out. They’re a great move for getting your heart rate up quickly and boosting your cardiovascular fitness. Plus, if you’re looking to get fit but want to avoid high-impact exercises (like running) mountain climbers are a good place to start because they don’t put pressure on your back or ankles.
The Perfect Mountain Climber Form
Use these five simple moves to nail the perfect mountain climber:
- Get into a plank position with your arms directly underneath your shoulders.
- Check that your back is flat, your head is inline with your body and your core is engaged.
- Lift one knee towards your chest, return it. Then draw in the other knee and return it.
- Repeat this as quickly as you can, driving your knees into your chest until it feels as if you’re running
While you concentrate on keeping your hips straight and your back flat it can be easy to hold your breath – make sure you’re breathing steadily as you move through the reps.
Mountain Climber Variations
If you’ve got the basic mountain climber under your belt there are plenty of variations to push you that little bit further.
Cross Body Mountain Climber
Keep the basic form the same but as you drive your legs up pivot and draw them towards the opposite side of your body (instead of straight up). This one is going to engage your obliques, so perfect for those of us who are looking for the dream six-pack.
Slow Motion Mountain Climber
Make it harder by…going slower? Yes, that’s right. Moving through the classic mountain climber slowly will really engage your muscles. Try adding in a press up to really start a fire.
Wall Mountain Climbers
If you’re looking build your upper body strength then this one is for you. Keep your hands in the usual mountain climber position, but put your feet up onto a wall. We suggest starting slow if you don’t want to fall on your face.
Now that you’ve honed your mountain climber, why not put your new strength to use at a Tough Mudder event?