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Mountain Climber Exercise For A Strong And Toned Body With Variations And Benefits

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ISSA Certified Specialist in Fitness & Nutrition
Mountain Climber Exercise For A Strong And Toned Body With Variations And Benefits August 31, 2018

A strong core and a good posture are the secrets to a killer body. And doing mountain climber exercises regularly will get you 10 steps closer to a fit body.

The mountain climber is a bodyweight floor exercise (similar to a plank) that’s a hybrid of cardio and strength training. It works on the deltoids, biceps, triceps, glutes, core, quads, and hamstrings. This exercise significantly improves muscle coordination, balance, and posture along with burning fat.

In this article, I will show you how to do mountain climbers, 5 mountain climber variations, and ways to incorporate this exercise into your workout routine. Get ready to get a body that slays. Swipe up!

How To Do Mountain Climber Exercise (Beginner Level)

Doing the mountain climber exercise is simpler than actually climbing a mountain. However, if you engage the right muscles and do it with precision, you will be able to see results in just a few days’ time. I have broken down each step of this exercise for you. This is a beginner’s mountain climber exercise. Take a look.

Step 1

Assume a table position or come on all fours. Keep your toes pointed, palms flat on the floor, and elbows directly below your shoulders.

Step 2

Extend your left leg behind you and then the right leg and come to a plank pose. This is your starting position.

Step 3

Engage your core, squeeze your glutes, exhale, and flex your right knee and bring it straight up close to your chest.

Step 4

Inhale and get your right leg back to the starting position. Keep your core engaged and glutes squeezed.

Step 5

Exhale, flex your left knee and bring it straight up close to your chest.

Step 6

Inhale and get your left leg back to the starting position.

This completes one rep.

Tip: Make sure your back is in line with your neck. Also, your back should not be not piked up or stooping down.

Sets And Reps – 2 sets of 10 reps.

Now, if you have successfully completed the sets and reps and feel confident about it, let’s move on to the intermediate level of the mountain climber exercise.

Mountain Climber Exercise (Intermediate Level)

Here’s a video that will help you understand the small and basic difference between the beginner level and intermediate level mountain climber exercises. Challenge yourself and try it!

Sets And Reps – 3 sets of 15 reps.

Feeling the burn now? No? Good! Increase the reps to 25 and get sweating. I promise you, you will feel amazing.

Alright, apart from just these exercises, there are a few variations of the mountain climber exercise that will help you get a full body workout and recruit all the small muscles to improve your posture and balance. Here you go!

5 Mountain Climber Exercise Variations

1. Wide Arm Mountain Climber

Level – Intermediate

Target – Core, glutes, deltoids, pectorals, quads, hamstrings, and biceps.

How To Do
  1. Get on all your fours or assume a table pose. But this time, place your palms wider than shoulder-width apart.
  2. Extend your right leg and left leg behind you, one after the other. Engage your core and squeeze your glutes. This is the starting position.
  3. Flex your right knee and bring it close to your chest.
  4. Inhale and extend your right leg back to the starting position.
  5. Hop on your left leg, flex your left knee and bring it close to your chest. Exhale as you do so.
  6. Inhale and extend your left leg back to the starting position.
  7. Do this at a faster pace.

Sets And Reps – 2 sets of 15 reps.

2. Cross Body Mountain Climber

Level – Beginner to Intermediate

Target – Obliques, glutes, abs, deltoids, biceps, hip flexors, quads, and hamstrings.

How To Do
  1. Get into a plank pose.
  2. Inhale, flex your right knee and bring it close to your chest. But this time, twist your body to the left so that your knee is close to the left side of your chest.
  3. Exhale and extend your right leg back to the starting position.
  4. Inhale, flex your left knee, twist your body to the right, and bring your right knee close to the right side of your chest.
  5. Exhale and extend your left leg back to the starting position.

Sets And Reps – 3 sets of 15 reps.

3. Spiderman Mountain Climber

Level – Beginner to Intermediate

Target – Obliques, hip flexors, adductors, abductors, abs, deltoids, lats, biceps, and triceps.

How To Do
  1. Get into a plank pose.
  2. Engage your core and squeeze your glutes. Inhale and flex your right knee, open up your right leg, and crunch to your right side.
  3. Inhale and bring your right leg back to the starting position.
  4. Flex your left knee, open up your left leg, and crunch to your left side.
  5. Do it at a faster pace.

Sets And Reps – 3 sets of 15 reps.

4. One Arm Mountain Climber

Level – Advanced

Target – Core, pectorals, glutes, deltoids, biceps, triceps, quads, and hamstrings.

How To Do
  1. Get into a plank pose.
  2. Lift your left hand, hop, and bring your right knee close to your chest. Keep your left elbow slightly flexed. This is the starting position.
  3. Hop on your left leg, flex your left knee and bring it close to your chest. Simultaneously, push your right leg back and extend your left hand behind you.
  4. Do this 10 times before switching the hands and repeating the exercise.

Tip: Keep breathing and keep your core engaged.

Sets And Reps – 2 sets of 10 reps on each hand.

5. Semicircle Mountain Climber

Level – Advanced

Target – Obliques, abs, quads, hamstrings, deltoids, and biceps.

How To Do
  1. Assume a plank pose and start doing mountain climbers.
  2. After 5 reps, keep your upper body stationary and start moving toward your right while doing mountain climbers.
  3. Then, without stopping, move to your left.

Sets And Reps – 3 sets of 2 semicircles.

These were the mountain climber variations that you could do. But how to incorporate them into your workout routine? Find out next.

Mountain Climber Workout Routine

DaysWorkout Circuits
Day 1Warm-up + running (20 mins) + mountain climbers (beginners level) + cool down stretches
Day 2Warm-up + mountain climbers (intermediate and advanced variations) + weighted squats + leg press + cool down stretches
Day 3Warm-up + walk (6 mph) + mountain climbers (intermediate and advanced variations) + hip thrusts + wrist exercises + bicep curls, hammer curls, shoulder press + cool down stretches
Day 4Warm-up + mountain climbers (intermediate and advanced variations) + crunches + sit-ups + leg up crunches + side plank jacks + cool down stretches
Day 5Rest
Day 6Warm-up + mountain climbers (intermediate and advanced variations) + cool down stretches
Day 7Rest

This fat blasting and body toning exercise will keep you gasping for air, but it is worth the pain. Why? Check out the list of benefits below!

Benefits Of Mountain Climber Exercise

  • It is a full body workout that will help you burn calories and shed fat.
  • Tones the body by building lean muscle mass.
  • Improves posture and balance.
  • Helps you shed fat from the belly region.
  • Helps you get that slight hint of chiseled abs that look so good on anyone!
  • Gives your shoulders a defined look to help your boatneck or off-shoulder tops and dresses sit perfectly.
  • Great exercise for toned glutes.
  • Low impact on knees as compared to running.
  • Helps you get slender and toned legs.
  • Keeps your heart and lungs healthy.
  • Amazing exercise for strength and conditioning.

So, there is literally no reason you shouldn’t be doing this exercise. All you need is a mat (or not), comfortable clothes, correct shoes, and 20 minutes of your time. Do it at home, office, or the gym to build immense strength and stamina. Transform your body and take your fitness to the next level with mountain climbers. Take care!

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

Are mountain climbers good for cardio?

Yes, mountain climbers are amazing for burning some calories and shedding fat. Especially if you have been struggling to lose the stubborn belly and lower body fat.

How many calories do you burn in mountain climbers?

It depends on your current weight and the intensity and duration of the exercise. You may burn up to 100 calories if you do high-intensity intermediate to advanced level mountain climbers.

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