Contact Us

How to Do Mountain Climbers with Perfect Form

Published May 04, 2018
KC Clements

Written By: KC Clements, MS

KC holds a Master of Arts in Gender Politics from New York University

Loading
<article> <section> <p>At Warrior Made we’re all about teaching you exercises that you can do from the comfort of your living room. The most powerful and effective moves are ones that combine cardio with strength training. Examples of those exercises include: jumping jacks, burpees, and jump squats. Here we’re going to teach you an amazing beginner cardio plus strength exercise. This move will work your full body, while getting that heart rate up and the blood pumping: <i>mountain climbers</i>.</p> <p>To perform mountain climbers start in a push-up position. Bring your right knee up towards your right elbow and back, then switch to bring your left knee up to your left elbow. Continue alternating right and left knees to elbows. With practice, you will increase speed until it’s a fast-paced, sprint-like movement. mountain climbers offer a great cardio workout while hitting your core, lats, serratus, glutes, and more.</p> <p>If you’re struggling to perform the mountain climbers at first, we have a modification to help you. Rest your hands on a chair rather than the floor and start by doing slow repetitions. Only push yourself as much as feels comfortable. Over time, pick up the pace, and when you feel confident enough, drop down to the floor for some full mountain climbers.</p> <p>Once you’re a mountain climber pro, you can test out the intermediate variation: <i>grasshoppers</i>. This move is actually quite like the mountain climber and you’ll start out in the same position. Now for the twist. When you’re bringing your knee up towards your elbow, rotate your torso and bring your leg across your body towards the opposite arm instead. This will ramp up the core boosting element of this exercise.</p> <p>Finally, you’ll be ready to tackle the high energy <i>sit out</i> which builds on the grasshopper. This time, while you’re bringing your knee across to your opposite elbow, you’ll lift your arm off the ground and extend your leg out. Then switch to repeat on the opposite side. It’s a little complicated, but don’t worry—we’ll teach you how to do it in another article!</p> <p>For now, let’s learn how to perform the perfect mountain climber:</p> </section> <section> <header>Instructions:</header> <ol> <li>Start in a pushup position with your toes on the ground, your hands under your shoulders, and your full body in a nice, straight line from head to toe. <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/inst-beg-mountain-climbers-1.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/inst-beg-mountain-climbers-1.jp2" type="image/jp2"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/inst-beg-mountain-climbers-1.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/inst-beg-mountain-climbers-LR-1.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="mountain climbers"> </picture></li> <li>Bring your right knee up towards your right elbow as far as you can, then pull it back to the starting position. <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/inst-beg-mountain-climbers-2.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/inst-beg-mountain-climbers-2.jp2" type="image/jp2"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/inst-beg-mountain-climbers-2.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/inst-beg-mountain-climbers-LR-2.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="mountain climbers"> </picture></li> <li>Repeat this movement on the left side, bringing your left knee to your left elbow. Go as fast as you can while maintaining perfect form. <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/inst-beg-mountain-climbers-3.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/inst-beg-mountain-climbers-3.jp2" type="image/jp2"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/inst-beg-mountain-climbers-3.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/inst-beg-mountain-climbers-LR-3.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="mountain climbers"> </picture></li> <li>Continue alternating until you’ve reached the desired number of repetitions.</li> </ol> </section> <section> <header>Things to keep in mind:</header> <ul> <li>Getting the push-up position correct is really important to receiving the full benefit of this exercise. Follow these tips as you’re setting yourself up:</li> <ul> <li>When you get into the pushup position, press the pads of your hands into the ground and grip the floor with your fingers. Think of the ground as a piece of newspaper you’re crumpling up.</li> <li>Point the pits of your elbows out in front of you, making sure your hands are directly under your shoulders.</li> <li>Without actually doing it, create tension in your muscles as though you’re trying to pull your arms towards your stomach. This is going to help you fire your lats and serratus while doubling the amount that you’re working your ab muscles.</li> <li>Squeeze your glutes hard while you’re in the push-up position. You don’t want your hips to sag down or point too far upward. Squeezing those glutes is going to keep your alignment while also helping to work your lower body.</li> </ul> <li>If you’re struggling at first, try concentrating on completing one rep at a time at a steady pace. Stay focused by exhaling as you bring your knee up and inhaling as you pull it back to the starting position. It’s most important that you get the form right, so don’t feel like you need to be going at a sprint right out of the gate. <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/inst-beg-mountain-climbers-4.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/inst-beg-mountain-climbers-4.jp2" type="image/jp2"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/inst-beg-mountain-climbers-4.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/inst-beg-mountain-climbers-LR-4.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="mountain climbers"> </picture></li> <li>Once you’re feeling confident, you can start to coordinate the movement so that as your right leg is coming back, your left leg has already left the ground. From there, you can start to work up the pace while continuing to keep good form.</li> <li>Exhale forcefully each time you bring your knee up. This is going to make your abdominal muscles fire even harder.</li> </ul> </section> <section> <header>Conclusion</header> <p>We recommend you focus on form above all. If you get this movement exactly right, you’re going to see some amazing full-body benefits—especially in your core, upper body, and glutes.</p> <p>Remember, if you’re struggling to do the mountain climber at first, you’ve got a few options. The first is to place your hands on a chair and do nice, slow repetitions of the movement. This will get you ready to do the full mountain climber on the floor. Your second option is the regular mountain climber while remaining focused on bringing each leg up at a good, steady pace. From there you’ll be able to move up to the more fast-paced, high-energy movement.</p> <p>Pretty soon, you’ll be ready to test out the grasshopper. Again, the grasshopper is a similar movement, but you’ll rotate the torso to bring your knee across to the opposite elbow. This will give you an even harder core workout, especially in the obliques.</p> <p>Then you’ll be ready to take on the sit out. This advanced exercise is going to will push you hard, but the results will be well worth it.</p> <p>Want one more amazing benefit? Like all of the exercises we teach you, the mountain climber works anywhere you have enough space to stretch your body out. Try adding a few sets to your next workout or drop down and do a few reps when you have a spare minute around the house.</p> <p>If this exercise is too easy, try <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/perfect-form-grasshopper/">Grasshoppers</a>.</p> </section> </article>

Previous Post

Back to Exercise

Next Post