Written by James Cooper
Last Updated

Mountain Climbers have been growing in popularity as a great addition to any workout because they provide the perfect exercise for your overall body. This move keeps you in balance, works all of your muscle groups as well as giving you a cardio challenge. 

You have to use your legs, shoulders, core, neck, and lower back to help you stay fully balanced and stable. By using all your core muscles in this way, it keeps your spine straight and neutral throughout the motion. 

Your shoulder muscles are being used to help keep your upper body stable, while your hands are pushing downwards. All your chest muscles work to help keep your shoulders solid while performing the movement. 

At the same time, your legs will be delivering the power. While undertaking the Mountain Climber, your driving leg is moving forward using all the muscles to push it forward, while your back leg is making use of your hips and pelvis, and knee to stay balanced. 

While the Mountain Climber is a favorite for trainers and coaches to deliver to their clients, it’s important to always get the form right to get the maximum benefit from the workout and to avoid injury as well.

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How Do I Do the Mountain Climber Exercise?
  • You start out in the same positions as for a regular push-up. You should have your hands lined up under your shoulders and your body should be in a very straight line, like for the plank. Staying in this position helps to work all your shoulder muscles to help you stay balanced on your hands. 
  • Next, keep your left leg completely still and bring up your right leg so your knee is touching your chest while your toes are on the ground. Driving this leg helps to work your leg muscles, glutes, and back muscles. 
  • Next, stretch your right leg back so it’s straight again but at the same time, bring your left leg forward so your knee is at your chest and your toes are on the ground. 
  • You need to continue this repetitive leg work to complete as many reps as you are able to, before resting to allow your body to recover. 

 

What are the Benefits of Doing the Mountain Climber?

There are many benefits to the Mountain Climber as it supports both strength, cardiovascular activity, and core stability, all in one simple movement. When compared with other similar exercises such as crunches, it provides a far superior performance in all areas, particularly for working all the core muscles.

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Are there Different Types of Mountain Climber Exercise?

Yes, there are a number of varieties of Mountain Climber depending on what you want to achieve.

 

Slow Mountain Climbers

These are generally used as a warm-up to another routine and work in the same way as the regular climber but holding the position for longer to provide a really good stretch to the legs.

 

Unstable Mountain Climbers

These are performed with your hands on something unstable, such as an exercise ball as this will require more effort from your arms and your core muscles to help you remain balanced.

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Plank Jack Combinations

These add an extra boost of cardio to your regular Mountain Climber, by adding in a jumping jack on the floor, in plank position, between your sets of Mountain Climber movements. 

 

How Do I Keep My Form Correct?

While it is a fairly straightforward movement to make once you are used to doing it, it’s important to make sure you get your form right, because otherwise, you won’t be getting the full benefits of the Mountain Climber workout. 

You shouldn’t be bouncing up and down while you drive your legs as this means you are not using your core properly? If you are not engaging your core effectively you wouldn’t be getting the full benefits of the mountain climber. 

When your drive your front foot forward it’s important to make sure your foot touches the floor each time. Not doing so makes the movement easier, so it can be tempting to miss this step out, but that reduces the amount of cardio and muscle activity you will be doing. 

It’s also important to keep your back straight and not let your hips rise upwards. If your hips are in the air, you won’t be able to perform the move correctly or effectively and will be missing out on all the benefits. 

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If you have any problems doing the mountain climber, you can also perform a similar version by standing up and pushing your hands against a wall, and bringing your leg up. You can do the same movements without all the stress on your upper body. 

Mountain Climbers are named as such because they work your body in the same way as when real climbers try to scale mountains, helping to build up your cardio and the strength in your core muscles as well as your back and legs.

 

Do I Need Any Special Equipment to Do Mountain Climbers?

The good thing about Mountain Climbers is you don’t need any kind of gym equipment to do them, and you can do them anywhere at any time. You can add them in as part of your warmup or as part of your full workout. It’s up to you how you incorporate this simple but effective movement into your routine. 

The Mountain Climber is a great exercise that works all of your muscle groups as well as giving you a cardio challenge at the same time, which is why it has been introduced into many personal training routines by professionals and is being adopted broadly by people wanting to get fitter quickly. 

With one move that works out your core muscles, your leg muscles, your neck, and back muscles, as well as all your chest and arm muscles at the same time, the Mountain Climber could be the only exercise you need to help get fitter and stronger. 

 

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