Mountain climber is one of the plyometric exercises which strengthen multiple muscle groups in addition to the cardiovascular system. To this exercise, you must activate the core abdominal muscles in addition to those in both the lower and upper body. How to do mountain climbers exercise properly for optimum results?
Benefits of Mountain Climbers Exercise
Because of its ability to work multiple muscle groups, the mountain climber exercise is associated with multiple benefits. Here are some of the most important ones.
1. Cardiovascular Benefits
Doing mountain climbers will make your body work to provide the tissues which are working with fuel and oxygen and because of this they will increase both your breathing and heart rates. The stress involved in this exercise helps develop the cardiovascular system by strengthening the heart and lungs in addition to burning calories. This is a great option to incorporate in a circuit workout, especially between strength training exercises which are less intense as they will help you keep your heart rate in the right zone.
2. Power Training
Mountain climbers help you develop power in the lower body because of their explosive nature and this is why athletes frequently use them as a warm-up to help improve speed as well as prepare the neuromuscular system for the intense workout that follows. When you do mountain climbers over time, you will experience an increase in the explosiveness of your lower body. If you want to use the exercise to help your quickness, try to remain on the balls and switch leg positions as fast as you can.
3. Core Strength
When doing mountain climbers your torso won’t sag towards the floor because of the work done by your obliques, abdominals and the muscles around your hips as they isometrically contract, holding your torso stable. If you want a bigger challenge for your core, try placing your hands on top of a medicine ball that is by your chest’s center.
How to Do Mountain Climbers Exercise
1. Basic Steps
Here are the basic steps to successfully complete this exercise.
Step 1: Start the exercise by lying face down on the floor.
Step 2: Straighten out your arms and then touch your knees down to the ground or floor.
Step 3: Now you are ready to lift yourself up into position. When doing this, be sure that your hands are directly under your chest at a width that is slightly more than your shoulder length distance.
Step 4: Once you have settled into position and checked the position of your hands you should be sure to keep your legs stretched out, ensuring that they are properly lined up with the rest of your body. Pay special attention to your knees as many people tend to create a gap here but that should be avoided. If the recommended position is uncomfortable for you, it is alright to modify it slightly as long as you maintain the correct posture.
Step 5: Now you should stretch out your left leg for stability. Bend your right knee and bring it up in the direction of your right hand. At this point, you should be in a similar position to the one you would be in if you were climbing a mountain or tree (hence the name) except horizontal instead of vertical.
Step 6: After bringing your right knee up, return it to the original position and do the previous step with your left leg. (Once again, bend the left knee and bring it up towards the left hand mimicking the actions of a mountain climber).
Step 7: After you have done various repetitions, if you would like a challenge try placing your hands on a slightly raised platform or a step as this will make the mountain climber a bit more difficult.
Step 8: When doing this exercise, you should do at least three sets with between 12 and 15 repetitions per set.
Here is a video for you guidance:
Here are some tips to keep in mind while doing this exercise as it can be difficult for beginners.
- Proper Angle. When you do the mountain climber, it is important to always ensure that your angle is perfect. That is because the angle your legs move at is what will give you results that you desire. Even if you work hard, if your angle is not correct, you will not see results and will have gone through a wasted effort. Because of this, it is important that you not only maintain the proper angle with your legs, but proper posture as well in order to ensure the best results. When you follow the steps listed above, you will be able to maintain the proper posture and angle while doing a mountain climber and by doing so, lose weight and see your stomach shrink.
- Weight Distribution, Hips and Knees. When you do a mountain climber, the proper form will mean that your weight is distributed evenly between each of your feet and hands. During the movement your hips should be as low as they can be and you should bring the knees as close to your chest as possible, preferably almost under the shoulders.
3. For Beginners
If you are a beginner having difficulty with the exercise, try elevating your hands on a small bench or step. You can also do the exercise more slowly which will control your heart rate. Another option is to decrease your range of motion by not bringing your knees up as close to your chest and making shorter jumps.
4. For Advanced Exercises
If you are more advanced and want to make the mountain climber more challenging you can use a stability ball. You would place your arms and forearms on the ball during the exercise to help create the additional challenge of balancing. If you have mastered this, try straightening your arms on the stability ball for an even bigger challenge.