The Mountain Climber: an Exercise to Get you in Shape

When you do an exercise such as the mountain climber, you activate and work different muscle groups. The calves, buttocks, and biceps are the most involved, but this exercise really demands the muscles of the whole body. Learn more below!
The Mountain Climber: an Exercise to Get you in Shape

Last update: 05 September, 2019

Physical activity is more than necessary if you want to have a great figure all year long. Sometimes, the inconvenience of going to the gym turns into an excuse to do absolutely nothing. However, there are exercises such as the mountain climber that don’t require any special equipment.

Muscles you work with the mountain climber

With this aerobic strength exercise, you’ll work on different muscle groups: the calves, the biceps femoris, the quadriceps, and the gluteus maximus are the muscles that you’ll strengthen the most. This is because they’re performing the principal movement.

Nevertheless, they’re not the only ones; the mountain climber can also focus on other areas if you try different variations.

During the workout, the abdominal wall, which includes the core, also plays an important role. Contraction of the abdomen is part of the routine and helps you maintain stability.

At the same time, your arm and shoulder muscles also work hard, since they constitute the main support for the body. This work also increases when performing the inclined mountain climber or doing the original mountain climber exercise with only one support arm.

Both of these are options for performing this exercise once you’ve mastered the correct technique.

How to do this exercise properly

To get in the correct starting position, support yourself with the palms of your hands and the tips of your toes, face down on a mat. Your body should form a straight line from the shoulders to the feet. It’s almost the same as the push-up starting position.

It’s important that you align your hands with your shoulders and that your back remains straight throughout the entire exercise.

Now, bring your right knee to your chest while you keep your other leg stretched out, just as the starting position. Then, change sides to bring your left knee to your chest and keep your right leg stretched out and supporting you. This movement simulates that of a mountain climber, hence the name.

Woman doing mountain climber to work her abs.

How to incorporate the mountain climber into your workout

The mountain climber is an exercise that doesn’t demand too much time or space. Anyone who has a workout routine can incorporate it. Additionally, the mountain climber is very beneficial for getting in shape and burning calories.

It’s recommended that you gradually increase the amount of time you perform this workout to increase the difficulty so you can progress. The first few times, each set should last about 20 seconds.

When you reach an intermediate level, add 10 more seconds to each set. People who are at an advanced level may perform up to one minute of mountain climbers before resting.

Possible variations of the mountain climber

Part of your personal motivation to enjoy better results comes from progress in your workouts. Once you’ve mastered the correct technique for this exercise, it’s time to make it more difficult so you can continue to progress. Some of these variations allow you to focus more intensely on other muscles, or simply make your workout more fun.

  • Mountain climber with objects: placing a moving object such as a ball is a variation that requires greater arm strength and stability. Instead of having your hands on the ground, you’ll hold on to the moving object that you’re using.
    Abs with bosu mountain climber style.
  • Spider style: if you want to add your abductors and adductors to the mix, try the spider movement. To do this, the knee you’re bending should go in all different directions, even passing your elbows.
  • Declined Mountain Climber: this variation consists of supporting the feet on a bench or object, which makes your arms work harder. It’s important that the bench isn’t too high, so it doesn’t hurt your back.
  • One less supporting arm or foot: in this variation, remove one hand or one foot from the ground so the rest of your limbs have to support the weight. This is the only change to the execution of this exercise.
  • Crossed style: one way of developing and defining your obliques more is by doing the cross climber. Direct the knee that’s raised towards the opposite elbow.
The mountain climber can also be done cross over style

Tips not to injure yourself

Whatever your physical condition or the variation of this exercise you choose, keep the following tips in mind to prevent injuries:

  • Try not to keep your body in a straight line so you don’t overexert your back and core.
  • Keep an even and steady pace.
  • Don’t demand too much from your body or force any positions or movements.

As you can see, the mountain climber is a progressive and customizable exercise that can be very beneficial for the muscular development of athletes. Add it to your workout routine and see for yourself how effective this exercise really is!

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This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.