In this article we highlight the mountain climber (also known as running planks). It is similar in structure to a couple of exercises we’ve already talked about, the plank and the push-up, as it begins and ends in the same position. Though it may seem quite simple, this exercise works your entire body, especially targeting your arms, shoulders, quads, core muscles and cardio-vascular system.
Mountain climbers are a compound exercise which means you work more than one muscle group simultaneously and not only are you strength training, you're incorporating cardio to reap those cardio-vascular health benefits and burn calories.
This basic move is great for beginners, and more experienced exercisers can take it up a notch with variations.
Preparation for exercise: You don't need any equipment to perform this exercise however, a mat is nice.
Movement of exercise
Get into a plank position (see previous article on the plank if needed), making sure to distribute your weight evenly between your hands and your toes.
Check your form, your hands should be about shoulder-width apart, back flat, abs engaged, and head and neck in alignment with your tailbone.
Pull your left knee into your chest as far as you can, touching the ground with your left toe.
Then switch, pulling that knee out and bringing the other knee in.
Keeping your hips down, run your knees in and out as far and as fast as you can. Alternate inhaling and exhaling with each leg change.
Don’t hold your breath, remember to breathe throughout the exercise.
Avoid common mistakes like bouncing on your toes. It may seem like you’re working harder, but the bouncing will force your core to be less engaged. Also, while performing the mountain climber many people do not allow their toes to touch the ground as they bring the knee into the chest. If you don’t do this, you will not get the full benefit of the exercise. Doing either of these things incorrectly could possibly lead to injury.
Note: Need progressions or regressions? Reach out to me for help!
As always, be sure to check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program.
Check back soon for more bits & tips on exercise and fitness!