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How To Do Mountain Climbers Correctly To Work Cardio & Core

Sarah Regan
mbg Spirituality & Relationships Writer By Sarah Regan
mbg Spirituality & Relationships Writer
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Writer, and a registered yoga instructor. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from SUNY Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.
Woman Doing Mountain Climber Workout Indoors

Any move that combines cardio with strength training is a winner in our book, and in the case of mountain climbers (sometimes referred to as running planks), you're sure to get both. You'll be strengthening essentially your entire body when you do them right, and they'll definitely get your heart pumping. Here, certified fitness instructor CJ Frogozo demonstrates how to do mountain climbers correctly.

How to do mountain climbers:

CJ Frogozo

Image by mbg Creative

  1. Start in a plank pose, with shoulders over wrists.
  2. Pull your waist in, drag shoulder blades down the back, and engage the core.
  3. Fire up the belly by pulling one knee in, and then send it back. As soon your toe touches the floor, alternate and send the other knee toward the chest and back again. That's one rep.
  4. Keep alternating your steps and breathing for 20 seconds, or up to 1 minute.

Tips & modifications:

  • Because there can be a tendency for the body to start shifting backward, avoid this by making sure your shoulders stay stacked over your wrists.
  • Maintain a flat back: Avoid lifting the hips, engage the core, and keep your head in line with your spine.
  • To modify and make this move a bit easier, you can elevate your arms on a bench, step, or block, like you would in an incline pushup.
  • Be mindful of mountain climbers if you have any shoulder injuries. Elevated mountain climbers (from an incline pushup position) can help take some of that pressure off if need be, but still exercise caution.

What are the benefits?

Not only does this move work your full body, but it counts as cardio (or aerobic exercise). You'll specifically be targeting your core, arms, shoulders, and quadriceps.

And thanks to the cardio, this move is great for improving your cardiovascular health and lung function, and you'll burn some calories, too.

The bottom line is, if you're looking for a cardio move that can also tone up your arms, core, and legs, mountain climbers are great to include in your routine. You can add this exercise to your next workout or whip out a quick set whenever you want to take a movement break. However you do them, happy climbing.

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