October 16, 2022 6 min read
Mountain-climber exercises are often included in boot camp or interval-style classes to challenge your major muscle groups because it is a compound exercise.
The mountain climber is a great exercise that works multiple muscle groups at one time including:
Furthermore, it provides a full core workout.
The range of motion of the mountain climber starts with holding a high plank position while jumping your knees in quick succession toward your chest. Along with activating just about every muscle in your body, it gets your heartbeat galloping.
The benefits of mountain climbers are multiple. It helps build leg, arm, shoulder, back, and core strength.
Mountain Climbers require the entire core, from the neck to the lower back, to keep the exerciser stable and balanced. To manage that, the trunk extensors and flexors co-contract with the core stabilizers. Furthermore, the co-contraction keeps the back straight and allows the spine to remain aligned and neutral.
With the hands pushed into the ground, the arms must support the upper body, and the entire shoulder is taxed to keep the upper body stable against the force of the legs driving the climb.
The contributors to shoulder stability include the rotator cuff, pectoral muscles, deltoids, and scapular stabilizers. At the same time, the triceps help to keep the hands flat on the ground by locking out the elbows.
While the shoulders and core keep the upper body and spine stable, the legs generate the power of the climb.
During the mountain climber, the hip and thigh muscles work to pull one leg forward, a movement that also puts stress on the knee.
Simultaneous movements of the opposite leg involve the muscles of the hip, pelvis, and quads which lock the knee in extension, and the ankle, foot, and even toe muscles while this leg is driven back.
This proves that the mountain climber is a full-body workout, making it a favorite exercise among strength coaches and personal trainers.
There aren’t many other bodyweight exercises that simultaneously provide core strength and activate most other muscles, burn calories, improve conditioning, and benefit heart function.
Let’s deconstruct the mountain climber exercise.
Assume a push-up position. The proper form is crucial to ensure you target the correct muscles and avoid injuries. Place your hands directly under your shoulders, hold your core tight, and your back flat.
Your body should create a straight line from your head to your toes as if you were holding a plank position.
Drive your right knee up to your chest and touch your toes to the ground – all without moving your left leg.
The quadriceps at the front of the thigh and the hamstrings at the back of the thigh are both primary movers during the jumping in-and-out motion used to switch the legs.
You need strong butt muscles, or glutes, to stabilize your pelvis and prevent injuries ranging from iliotibial band syndrome to shin splints.
These muscles activate when you jump your legs up toward your chest.
Extend your right leg back to the starting position and simultaneously drive your left knee to your chest and touch your toes to the ground.
Continue this back-and-forth sequence using all the muscles over and over again. The quadriceps at the front of the thigh and the hamstrings at the back of the thigh are both primary movers during the jumping in-and-out motion used to switch the legs.
If you are looking for excellent full-body exercise, crunches and squats are good, but mountain climbers offer more. Your entire body will be engaged to generate power for driving the legs forward, and also to stabilize and balance your stance.
Along with getting all your primary muscle groups activated, mountain climbers will also get you breathing hard, and your heart rate soaring. Doing just a few reps is a good cardio option for warming up.
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