This move carves the core, boosts cardio fitness and works every muscle from head to toe – so it’s definitely worth mastering. Here’s how to do mountain climbers with correct form…

If the mountain climber exercise sounds like hard work, that’s because it is. ‘The good news is that this move is well worth the sweat
and tears, thanks to its numerous health benefits,’ says Jack Claxton, a level 3 personal trainer and personal training ambassador at David Lloyd Clubs.

‘As a compound exercise, mountain climbers work multiple muscle groups and joints at the same time, including core muscles such as your back, hips and abs. They also work the glutes, leg and shoulders,’ explains Claxton. ‘Not only that, they’re great for adding a cardio element to your training, giving your heart rate a boost.’

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They’re versatile, too. ‘As you get stronger and pick up the pace, you’ll work your heart harder,’ says Claxton. ‘Plus, you can add more of a challenge by performing the exercise on a BOSU ball, with ankle weights, or even with just one hand. Once you’ve mastered the basics, there really is no end to the variations you can try.’

woman wearing pink activewear demonstrates how to do mountain climbers

How to do mountain climbers:

  1. Start in a high plank position, with your wrists under your shoulders and your abs braced so your body is in a straight line from heels to shoulders.
  2. Contract your abs and, in a quick, controlled motion, move your left knee towards your chest while keeping your shoulders steady over your hands.
  3. Return your leg to a high plank position and quickly bring your right knee towards your chest.
  4. Alternate legs with each rep, running your legs in and out.

Top tips to perfect your mountain climbers:

  • Your hips should be positioned below your shoulders and your body should be in a straight line from your shoulders to feet. Maintain this form throughout the exercise.
  • Don’t round or arch your lower back as you pull your leg in towards your chest. Keep it still and in a neutral position.
  • Initiate the move by bracing your core and driving your left knee towards your chest. Switch legs, so your right knee moves towards your chest.
  • Make sure your wrists are directly under your shoulders. Elbows and arms should be straight and strong.
  • To make it more of a cardio move, switch legs as fast as you can without lifting your bottom in the air. To make it more of a core move, slow down and pause as your knee reaches chest-level, then switch legs.

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  2. How to do a lateral raise: step-by-step form guide
  3. How to do a triceps kickback with correct form