Improving your form is one way to grow into a better runner. You'll need to do more than log miles to accomplish this. Strength training comes into play. Mountain climbers, in particular, can assist you in developing a strong and sturdy core, which can enhance your running power, effectiveness, and posture.

Although the movement appears straightforward, mountain climbers work almost the full body and increase heart rate. Mountain climbers are a simple exercise to incorporate into your morning workout, whether you do them at home, in the gym, while traveling, or even in the office break room. The fundamental exercise is excellent for beginners, but more seasoned exercisers can amp things up with variations. In this article you will learn more about what kind of exercise this is, the benefits, the common mistakes, the variations of this exercise, and safety and precautions to take when you try this exercise. 

What is a mountain climber exercise?

Mountain climbers are a legendary workout for a variety of reasons, including: Do the move as fast as possible to add low-impact cardio to your workout sessions. Slowing it down puts your core stability and hip flexion to the test, which is essential for proper running form. Wrap resistance bands around your feet for a seriously difficult exercise that strengthens your core and hip flexors.

Even so, many people who perform this exercise inaccurately, so learning how to do a mountain climber correctly is essential before pounding out some swift reps during your next workout.

How to do mountain climbers workout (Steps involved)

When you first begin, try the classic alteration of the exercise:

  • Get into a plank position, distributing your weight evenly around your hands and toes.
  • Check your structure: your hands should always be shoulder-width apart, your back flat, the abs engaged, and the head aligned.
  • Lift your right knee as far into your ribcage as you can.
  • Switch legs, putting one knee out and the second knee in.
  • Maintain a low hip position and run your knees in and out as quickly as possible. For each leg change, alternate keep up with  inhaling and exhaling.
  • You could perhaps find yourself holding on to your breath when you're centered on the move. Keep in mind to take deep breaths.

Expert Advice: Make sure your quads are involved, your knees are off the ground, and your toes are positioned directly beneath your heels. Always begin in a neutral position, with your buttocks not up in the air and your tailbone not tucked.

You don't really want your buttocks or low back to bend in. Both postures put you in danger of injury.

When you pull your knee forward into your chest, keep in mind the movement is controlled and that your spine remains neutral. You can pace up the movement once you have that power; your moves are not springy or ballistic. Always ensure that your knee comes in strongly. If you're new to mountain climbing, Williams recommends starting slowly and perfecting your form before expediting.

Ultimate benefits of mountain climbers exercise

The move can be done quickly to increase your heart rate during workouts. Furthermore, the move can help you focus on core stability and hip flexion, both of which are important as you work to improve your running form.

It is a great way to strengthen your core and teach your body to keep a strong form in the plank position, equivalent to the form you want when trying to run. Slow mountain climbers can also be added to your workout to give it a Pilates vibe. The move will very much engage your muscles if you slow down.

Experts frequently instruct clients to alternate 20 seconds of slow mountain climber durations and 20 seconds of fast mountain climber ranges, with rest between each one.

Mountain climbers are excellent for developing cardiovascular endurance, strength, flexibility, and agility. Mountain climbers work several different muscle groups—almost like gaining a total-body workout only with one exercise. Your quads get a great workout as the guiding force. You'll also get heart health advantages and burn calories as it's a cardio exercise.

Multiple variations of mountain climbers

Cross-Body Mountain Climber

  • Begin in a high plank position with your wrists under your shoulders and your core engaged so that your body forms a solid line from your heels to your ankles. 
  • Go back to the starting position by bringing the right knee in toward the left elbow. 
  • Back to the starting position by bringing the left knee in toward the right elbow. 
  • Continue alternating.

Mountain Climber With Exercise Ball

  • Start in a high plank with your elbows on top of the exercise ball and your core engaged so your body forms a perfect line from head to heels. 
  • Return to the starting position by drawing the right knee in toward the chest. 
  • Return to the starting position by bringing the left knee in toward the chest. 
  • For thirty to forty seconds, alternate legs as quickly as possible.

Plank Jack to Alternating Mountain Climber

  • Begin in a high plank position and do one plank jack by leaping both feet apart and back together, as if you were doing a jumping jack on the floor. 
  • Return to a high plank position after bringing the left knee into the rib cage (like one half of a mountain climber). 
  • Then, perform another plank jack, return to high plank, and bring your right knee into your chest. Repeat.


  • Begin in a high plank position with your wrists under your shoulders, and your core engaged so that your body forms a perfect line from your heels to your ankles. 
  • Bounce both legs in between your hands, pause, and then return to the starting position. Repeat. 

To make the move more difficult, jump both legs toward your hands, landing with your feet outside your hands.

Mountain Climbers Standing

Perform this move while standing to add some extra cardio:

  • Begin by bringing up your knee to hip height, then lower yourself to the floor in a plank position.
  • Carry out the basic move, putting your knee to your ribcage and then back out.
  • Jog for a count of 10 before swapping to the other side to get your heart rate up.
  • You also can try slowing the movement to increase the stretch.

Common mistakes to avoid while doing mountain climbers exercise

Keep your buttocks down

The most popular mountain climber error: your buttocks begin to rise higher than the shoulders. This occurs as a result of fatigue or a lack of core discipline. Keep your hips level with the shoulders at their maximum height. The mountain climber is essentially a plank with motion; when doing a plank, your hips should never be higher than your shoulders.

Maintain Your Arms Stacked

Maintain your hands directly beneath your shoulders. It's usual to see people's shoulders wander behind their hands on mountain climbers, particularly as they get exhausted, but this can become a bad position for shoulder wellbeing if you're exhausted. Giving up that position will also dismantle the mountain climber's core focus, causing you to elevate your buttocks higher into the air and end up losing core tension.

Push Your Knees

Every mountain climber stride, push your knees up strongly. Make every step count. Don't just go through the movements of raising your feet from the ground. In the mountain climber, your overall objective is to keep a tight core while driving your knees up potently. This position reflects the front end of a sprinter's step, with high, effective knee drive. This is the mountain climber's underappreciated usefulness; it's a sprinter's position through your chest area. Use this opportunity to develop a strong knee drive.

Letting Your Toes to Touch the Ground

Another common form mistake is failing to completely finish the movement by allowing your toes to touch the floor as you pull your knees into your ribcage, particularly as the move accelerates. If your toes do not touch the ground, you will not get the maximum benefit of the exercise and may injure yourself.

Returning Your Weight

If you're unfamiliar with this movement, letting your weight gradually shift and end up in a down-dog position is simple. Maintain a balanced posture with your shoulders over the wrists.

Safety and precaution tips

Climbers of all types rely heavily on your capacity to assume and keep a correct plank position. This includes making certain that:

  • Directly down from your shoulders, your hands and arms are positioned.
  • Your back is not rounded or arched; it is sharp and flat.
  • Your hips are not elevated (your buttocks shouldn't be in the air). 

Review the proper planking form to ensure the move is effective and safe. Going to perform a plank with poor form exposes you to the risk of injury and reduces the benefit of including mountain climbers in your exercise regimen significantly. Mountain climbers should be bypassed if you have shoulder or pelvic injuries or instabilities.

Mountain climbers are a great exercise for your knees, but when you've had surgery or need surgery, consult your doctor or physiotherapist before incorporating these moves into your routine.

If you've lately been pregnant or even had specific types of abdominal surgery, you could have diastasis recti, a condition in which the muscles in your abdomen are separated. You should avoid doing this kind of core workout until your condition has completely healed.


  • Maintain a tight core while performing mountain climbers exercise.
  • Think about maintaining a tall spine to avoid rounding your back.
  • Try to remain alert and light-footed.
  • Try to pick your feet up as quickly as you can, and if you're new to mountain climbers, go slowly at first. As you gain confidence and experience with the exercise, you can speed up your leg movements.
  • Evaluate that your bottom isn't soaring into the air and that your palms are still positioned just underneath your shoulders to get the most out of mountain climbers.


To conclude, mountain climber being a bodyweight exercise is incredibly adaptable and can be incorporated into your workout in a variety of ways. The exercise can be done for a set number of repetitions, with one rep equal to a knee drive with both legs. For time, you could be better off climbing mountains. Setting a timer for six minutes, performing rounds of 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest while exerting maximum effort during the work periods will yield you the best results. Additionally, you can work for up to 30 seconds or more. Just be sure to maintain a stable posture with your core involved and your hips below your shoulders. 

As you master the beginner level of this workout, you can challenge yourself to try out the variation of mountain climber exercises. 


Which Muscles Are Used When Performing the Mountain Climber?

Mountain climbers exercise a variety of muscles, including the core, triceps, quads, shoulders, and leg muscles. As a result, it is frequently regarded as a full-body exercise.

How frequently should mountain climbers be done?

Start by doing 2-3 sets of 10–20 repetitions on each leg for mountain climbers. Your ability to keep up good technique across all sets and repetitions will determine which sets and repetitions you choose. A quick circuit of jumping jacks, squats, inchworms, and mountain climbers is recommended to end a high-intensity set. Mountain climbers should always be done in quick bursts, lasting between 30 and 40 seconds at a time, with breaks in between sets.

Do mountain climbers help lose abdominal fat?

In the event that you are in a calorie deficit, which is essential for fat loss, mountain climbers for weight loss are perfect. It targets your core as well, making it the ideal exercise for getting rid of persistent belly fat and showing off your abs.

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