Mountain Climbers

The ‘Mountain Climber’ is a simple and effective exercise that can be performed almost anywhere.  It is a great way to build core strength while challenging muscles in your arms and legs.  When performing core exercises such as these, it is important to keep a ‘neutral (not curved or arched) spine’ while engaging your various trunk and extremity muslces.


Benefits

This exercise will help to strengthen muscles in the arms, shoulders, back, and abdominals as well as many stabilizing muscles of the neck, scapula, and spine.  Increasing core strength and stability can help prevent back injuries from occuring and will help reduce muscle imbalances, which are a major cause of overuse injuries.


Population

When performed correctly, this exercise is safe for most populations.  If you are unsure about how to perform the exercise, or if you experience pain while trying the exercise, please contact a health-care professional for specific guidance.   If the exercise is too challenging,  you can make it easier by placing your hands on a bench or a step.  If the exercise becomes too easy, you can make it more challenging by increasing the speed, or by placing your hands on an unstable surface, such as a wobble board, bosu or exercise ball.

Before starting, please consult with your doctor/health-care professional to ensure that you are healthy enough to attempt this exercise or any exercise program.


Technique

Get into the classic ‘push-up position’ with your arms straight, spine neutral, chin tucked and feet together (see image below).  Brace your core muslces and slowly bring your right knee towards your chest without letting your foot touch the floor.  Slowly return the right foot back to the starting position and repeat with the left leg.   Avoid rotating your hips and maintain a neutral spine (no arching or rounding) throughout the exercise.  Repeat 3 sets of 5-10 repetitions on each side, alternating legs.

mountainclimbers


Tips

When trying an exercise for the first time, it is important to begin with the easiest position.  You should perform the exercise slowly and concentrate on using the proper technique.  Performing an exercise slowly increases the load on your muscles for a longer duration, which will help build both muscular strength and endurance.  Be sure to only progress the exercise once you can do 3 sets of 10 repetitions with little effort.