Mountain climbers would be a daunting exercise for most, but what if the mountain was the ground? This is the concept of Mountain climbers. Performed from a plank position, you will alternate bringing one knee to your chest, then back again, accelerating each time until you “run” against the ground.
Although it sounds simple, Mountain climbers exercise almost the entire body and increase your heart rate. You can easily add climbers to your morning workout at home or at the gym, in a hotel room while traveling, or even squeeze a few into the break room at work. Basic is great for beginners, but more experienced exercisers can take things up a notch with variations.
Mountain climbers are great for building cardio endurance, core strength, and agility. You work several different muscle groups with Mountain climbers it’s almost like doing a full-body workout with one exercise.
As you perform the movement, your shoulders, arms, and chest work to stabilize your upper body while your core stabilizes the rest of your body. As the main engine, your quads also get an incredible workout. And since it’s cardio exercise, you’ll experience heart health benefits and burn calories.
Step by step instructions :
When you are starting out, try the classic variation of the exercise:
- Get into a plank position, making sure to distribute your weight evenly between your hands and toes.
- Check your shape – your hands should be about shoulder-width apart, back flat, abs engaged, and head aligned.
- Pull your right knee into your chest as far as possible.
- Switch legs, pull one knee out, and bring the other knee back.
- Keeping your hips down, bring your knees in and out as far and as fast as possible. Alternate inhaling and exhaling with each leg change.
Common mistakes :
There are a few common mistakes that can make Mountain climbers less efficient or even dangerous.
– Bouncing on Your Toes
You need to exercise in a proper form not only to maximize efficiency but also to prevent injury. For example, a common beginner mistake among mountain climbers is to bounce on your toes as you perform the movement. Rebounding may seem like a harder workout, but it actually requires less engagement of your core muscles.
– Not Allowing Your Toes to Touch the Floor
Another form mistake you might find yourself making, especially as the movement speeds up, is not completely ending the movement with your toes touching the floor as you bring your knees to your chest. If you find this to be the case for you, you won’t get the full benefit of the exercise and could injure yourself.
– Shifting Your Weight Back
If you are not used to this movement, it is easy to let your weight fall back so that your body ends up in a downward doggy movement. Keep the weight balanced and the shoulders on your wrists.
– Modifications and Variations
Use these variations of the Mountain climber to customize the exercise to suit your level and abilities.
If you are at the beginner level, start with a low impact version
Low-Impact Mountain Climbers
- From a plank position, bring your right knee towards your chest, keeping your right foot elevated.
- Bring your right foot back into a plank position with your toes touching the ground.
- Quickly reverse the movement, this time bringing your left knee to your chest, keeping your left foot on the floor.
- Return your left foot to a plank position, toes touching the floor, and immediately lift your right foot to repeat step 2.
- Quickly switch sides for a minute or however many reps you choose.
If you feel like you need to take some of the weight off your arms, shoulders, and hands, try modified Mountain climbers on a walk. For this variation, raise your upper body on a step or block. This can be useful if you are starting to train again after an injury or if you are still working on building upper body strength.
Ready for a challenge?
Once you have mastered the basics, challenge yourself with a more advanced variation.
Foot-Switch Mountain Climbers
This variation is more of a footswitch than a race. It has more impact and the potential to actually increase your heart rate.
- Start with a plank position.
- When you bring your right knee back, touch your big toe to the ground.
- Jump-change your feet, taking your right foot back and your left foot forward at the same time.
- Repeat for the desired number of repetitions or duration.
Sliding Mountain Climbers
If you have a slip disc or towel and hardwood floor, try using them to change the basic movement.
- Place your disc or towel on the floor, then place your foot on it when you assume a plank position.
- Slowly begin to perform a base repetition, using your other non-slippery leg and upper body to stabilize yourself.
- As you speed up the movement you will feel this variation making your quads work harder than the base version.
Standing Mountain Climbers
Add some extra cardio to this move by performing it while standing:
- Start by raising your knee to hip level, then lower to the floor in a plank position.
- Perform the basic movement, bring your knee to your chest, then pull back.
- To increase your heart rate, try jogging to 10 before switching to the other side.
Safety and Precautions :
Mountain Climbers of any variant depend heavily on your ability to assume and maintain a good plank position. This includes checking to be sure that:
- Your arms and hands are positioned directly down from your shoulders
- Your back is straight and flat, not curved or arched
- Your hips are not raised (your buttocks should not be in the air)
To make sure the move is efficient and safe, review the correct form for curling. Planking in poor form can put you at risk for injury and dramatically reduce the benefits of adding Mountain climbers to your training routine.
Mountain climbers should be avoided if you have any injuries or instabilities to the shoulders or pelvis. Mountain climbers are a great workout for your knees, but if you’ve had surgery or need surgery (like to repair a sports-related injury or replace a joint affected by arthritis) you’ll want to talk to your doctor about it. doctor. or a physiotherapist before incorporating these movements into your routine.
If you have recently been pregnant or have had certain types of abdominal surgery, you may have a condition called diastasis recti, where the muscles in your abdomen are separated. Until this condition heals completely, you will want to avoid this type of trunk exercise.
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