Mountain Climbers: How To, Are They Good,…

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You can challenge your body in many ways and positions. Find out how to do mountain climbers and whether they are a good exercise.

Mountain climbers are basically the high knees exercise in a plank position.

In turn, this makes the exercise a cardiovascular workout that also improves coordination and works a few muscles like your abs and hip flexors to a nice extent.

If you like this specific combination of cardiovascular and training or simply like doing them, mountain climbers can be a good exercise choice for you.

At the same time, it is worth mentioning that there are also better cardiovascular workouts and more effective ab exercises available.

People who don’t have a specific preference for mountain climbers likely want to choose one of these alternatives to see more results in a shorter amount of time.

How to do mountain climbers

Take the following steps to do mountain climbers:

  1. Sit on your hands and knees. Keep your arms slightly less than stretched and your shoulders above your wrists during the rest of the exercise.
  2. Step back with your feet until you are in a straight line from your head to your heels.
  3. Move one knee forward as far as comfortable. Keep the rest of your body in more or less the same position.
  4. Return this knee to starting position. If you are more advanced you can combine this step with the next one.
  5. Move the other knee forward similar to step 3.
  6. Keep alternating what knee you move forward.
How to do mountain climbers

Two things to pay attention to during mountain climbers are the position of your shoulders (above your wrists) and the height of your hips (preferably the same).

If you are more of a resistance training beginner, you may need to start with plank progressions before your ab muscles are strong enough to do mountain climbers for a reasonable amount of time.

Additionally, you may need to get used to the exercise before you can really pick up the pace.

Muscles worked with mountain climbers

Some of the muscles worked with mountain climbers are your hip flexors (front hips), abs, glutes (butt), hamstrings (back thighs), quadriceps (front thighs), and triceps (back upper arm).

However, it is important to note that mountain climbers are typically not challenging enough in these areas to be able to actually build muscle.

Even if you do add something like ankle weights to the exercise.

At the same time, engaging your muscles with mountain climbers could still be enough to improve endurance or slow down degradation.

These things can be valuable too.

Benefits of mountain climbers

While they may not be optimal for every single situation, you can definitely still say that mountain climbers offer benefits. A few of these include:

  • Can improve cardiovascular health: Mountain climbers will mainly work your cardiovascular system. Doing this enough (but not too much) can improve its health and capacity.
  • Bodyweight exercise: You can do mountain climbers basically anywhere and without a fitness budget.
  • Can help weight loss: The intense movements of mountain climbers burn more calories than usual. This benefits the weight loss process (but is no guarantee for results).
  • Adds variety: Switching up your workouts with unusual exercises like mountain climbers can make things more fun.
  • Can improve muscle endurance: The muscle engagement during mountain climbers could be enough to improve endurance in certain areas.
  • Can improve coordination and balance: Mountain climbers can be somewhat challenging in terms of coordination and balance. This can help you improve these skills.

Mountain climbers are not the only exercise that offers these benefits but these could be enough to make you add this movement to your routine.

Mountain climber alternatives

By now you may conclude that you like the positive effects of mountain climbers but not the exercise itself. In that case, you can consider one of the following mountain climber alternatives instead:

  • High knees
  • Plank jacks
  • Squats
  • Cycling
  • Burpees
  • Crunches

Details like your training goals and preferences will influence which of these mountain climber alternatives are the best options for you.

Are mountain climbers a good exercise?

Mountain climbers can be a good exercise for training your cardiovascular health, improving coordination, and working your abs and hip flexors at the same time.

Another benefit of this exercise is that you don’t need any equipment or location to do it.

That being said, a disadvantage of mountain climbers is that there are better exercise options if you are only interested in improving cardiovascular health, improving coordination, losing weight, or working your abs and hip flexors.

On the other hand, personal preference matters too.

Mountain climbers can still offer nice benefits so if you like doing them, you can definitely consider implementing them into your exercise routine.

How many mountain climbers you should do depends on details like what you are trying to achieve, your fitness level, your body strength, how much time you have, and the rest of your workout plan.

Something simple like 100 mountain climbers a day will often not be good enough since it is only about 2 minutes of exercise.

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What is the mountain climber exercise good for?

The mountain climber exercise is mainly good for improving cardiovascular health, improving coordination, and working your abs and hip flexors at the same time.

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Matt Claes founded Weight Loss Made Practical to help people get in shape and stay there after losing 37 pounds and learning the best of the best about weight loss, health, and longevity for over 4 years. Over these years he has become an expert in nutrition, exercise, and other physical health aspects.