The Exercise: Mountain climbers are a great exercise that engage both your muscular and cardiovascular fitness. Mountain climbers are done in a plank position – you quickly bring up one knee at a time under your body. This movement is in a way similar to running, except you are also holding up your entire body at the same time, which adds difficulty and engages more muscles.
Mountain climbers not only improve your cardio fitness, but also leg muscle endurance, core strength, body flexibility, and balance. Even your arms are engaged because you have to keep your body balanced and in place as you swing your knees up and down.
Proper Form: Begin in a push-up position, with your arms just past shoulder-width, and your body and legs straight. With a jump motion, quickly bring one knee up under your bod. You will then alternate your legs in this motion as fast as you can manage, constantly having one leg straight and back, and one flexed under your body. You should feel like your legs are skimming the floor as you bring them up. You will want to start out slow when you are new to this exercise, but increase your speed over time (once again, just like with running) and also increase the distance your knees travel.
- Elevating your hips when you bring the knee in – make sure to keep your body straight just like with a push-up
- Putting your arms either too far back or too far forward – make sure they are at a roughly 90 degree angle to the ground
Muscles Worked: Abs, buttocks muscles, quadriceps and hamstrings in your legs, and to a lesser degree your back, arm, shoulder, and chest muscles, as they stabilize your body during the exercise.