This intense move works several core muscles-such as your obliques and front and back abdominals. They also improve cardio performance, agility, and endurance. They offer upper-body benefits too, building holding endurance in your triceps and shoulders.
If you do a 60-second set of the climbers, expect to burn about 8 calories if you weigh 125 pounds, 10 calories if you weigh 155 pounds and 12 calories if you weigh 185 pounds.
Basic Mountain Climber
- Assume a push-up position with your arms completely straight. Your body should form a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles.
- Lift your right foot off the floor, and slowly raise your knee as close to your chest as you can.
- Return to the starting position, and repeat with your left leg.
- Continue alternating for 10 reps (right + left = 1 rep), then pause for 5 seconds. Then do 9 reps, pause. 8 reps, pause.
Remember: Keep your hips low at all times and do them slowly; the faster you do them, the more likely you’ll mess up your form, say by rounding your lower back, and you’ll lose the ab-building benefits.
You can add variety to make mountain climber a complete workout and do away with monotony.
- Standing Mountain Climber: Add a cardio component by jogging in place for 10 counts, bringing your knees up to hip level. Drop to the floor, get into a plank position, and quickly alternate bringing your knees to your chest 10 times. That’s one rep. Jump up to return to start; repeat three times, and build up to 10-12 reps.
- Knee-to-elbow climber: Repeat the same procedure as basic mountain climbers. But this time, bring your knee up to meet your tricep or elbow. Try not to bend your elbows.
- Cross-Body Mountain Climber: Start at the top of the pushup position, with your body forming a straight line from head to heels. Keeping your abs braced, pick up your right foot and slowly bring your right knee toward your left shoulder. Then return to start. Alternate sides, and do 10-12 reps.
- Slow Motion Mountain Climber: Start at the top of a push-up. Keeping your abs braced, pick up your right foot and slowly bring your knee toward your right shoulder. Hold for two seconds (challenging your abs), return to start. Alternate legs until you’ve done 12 to 14 reps (six or seven per leg).
Make sure you’re comfortable with the standard mountain climbers, and then have a go at the progressions.