What is a mountain climber exercise?

Mountain climber exercise is an oft-talked about exercise that everyone seems to be doing these days. But what is a mountain climber exercise and what is it all about?

Mountain climber, also known as the running plank, is a bodyweight exercise that works on multiple muscle groups at the same time. It is a complete body workout that involves various modified poses such as the plank and pushups. 

This is a cardio exercise that has tremendous benefits for your mind and body.

How is mountain climber exercise practiced?

Though it may look complex, once you learn its proper technique, a mountain climber workout is quite easy. 

Here is how mountain climber exercise is practiced:

  1. Start by getting into the plank position. Keep your abdominal muscles pulled in and your body straight. Ensure that your shoulders are pulled away from your ears.
  2. Now draw your right knee to your chest and pull in your abs even tighter. This should be done without letting your body get out of the plank position.
  3. Quickly push your right knee away and pull your left knee towards your chest in the same way.
  4. Continue to pull in alternate knees to mimic the running motion. While doing this, ensure that your spine is straight and your body doesn’t sag.

Muscles worked: Deltoids, triceps, biceps, chest, abdominals, quads, hamstrings, hip abductors, and obliques.

Sets and reps: Start with 5-6 reps on each side for 3-4 sets and gradually increase to 25-30 reps.

What are the benefits of mountain climber exercise?

Mountain climber exercises are loved for how they combine simplicity and versatility and offer several unique health benefits.

Here are some of the most important mountain climber exercise benefits:

  1. This exercise is easy to customize for people with different fitness levels and restrictions. There are mountain climbers for beginners and as well as those who have advanced workout experience. 

  1. Mountain climber exercise can be used throughout your strength training workout routine. It can be done either as a warm-up or cool-down, the main part of your workout, supplement to a cardio workout like running and swimming, or combined with a multi-stage bodyweight workout that includes jumping jacks or squats.

  1. In mountain climbers, abs are one of the main muscles worked along with your obliques and other core muscles. This helps in getting you a stabilized and strong core.

  1. Because in mountain climbers abs are worked well, they make you stronger overall. This happens because most of your body’s strength comes from your core. This improves your ability to do physical activity by making you more agile and flexible.

  1. In mountain climbers plank position is incorporated. This is an excellent posture for improving your balance and coordination. Mountain climbers planks also help in preventing injuries due to falls.

  1. This is a fantastic exercise to get your heart rate up. This strengthens and conditions your heart and prevents cardiovascular disorders. 

  1. An elevated heart rate also helps in burning more calories and hence in weight loss. This prevents several obesity-related health concerns such as diabetes and hypertension.

  1. One of the most important mountain climber exercise benefits is that by working on the muscles in your lower body, this exercise gives you a stronger back and legs. This, in turn, not just improves your range of motion but also prevents pain and stiffness in the joints and bones.

  1. Mountain climber workouts are a great way to improve your functional fitness. By making you more agile and flexible, they enable you to do your everyday activities such as walking exercise, sitting, lifting, etc. 

  1. This exercise needs no equipment or even a large space. It can practically be done anywhere without investing tonnes of money.

What are the different types of mountain climber exercise?

Now that you know how to do the basic mountain climbers for beginners, it is time to crank them up a bit. Here are some variations of this exercise:

  1. Twisted mountain climber: In this mountain climber twist is a variation that engages your core and leg muscles better from all different angles. To do the mountain climber twist, you need to make a twisting motion while bringing your knee under your chest. 

  1. Bosu Ball mountain climber: This variation of mountain climber exercise increases your cardio endurance and agility. To do this, you need to keep the ball upside down and get into a plank position on it. Follow the rest of the steps as-is.

  1. Wall mountain climbers: This variation of the mountain climber exercise ups the stakes for your body by challenging it more. This is an excellent activity for your heart and builds up your core strength like nothing else. In this variation, you need to take your feet off the floor and push them against the wall. Instead of placing your feet on the floor, you need to place them against the wall.  

What are the safety precautions that your need to take while doing mountain climber exercise?

Mountain climber exercise may look like a simple exercise to master, there are certain precautions that you need to keep in mind. These are essential to prevent injuries and muscle soreness.

  • Keep your posture straight. It should never be arched or curved.¬†
  • Build up your speed slowly, especially if you are a beginner.
  • Never start doing more reps at the outset. Build your practice slow and gradually increase the reps and sets.
  • Never start practising mountain climber exercise without a light warm-up session to loosen and open your muscles. Follow the session with a cool-down session.¬†
  • Listen to your body. If you feel pain, nausea, or dizziness anytime while doing the mountain climber exercise, stop immediately.

Mountain climber exercise is a superb way to build physical fitness. This full-body workout is a challenging exercise that keeps you motivated. Just ensure that you follow all the safety tips and learn this exercise from an experienced trainer. This goes a long way in preventing muscular problems and helping you enjoy great health.


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