Mountain Climbers Exercise for Building Core Strength [VIDEO]

It’s true…

You’ve most likely heard about the mountain climbers exercise.

No, I’m not talking about an exercise that will help you climb mountains (although I guess it could). I’m talking about one of the most effective core strengthening exercises that I know you’re not using.

The mountain climbers exercise is extremely versatile. I use it for my warm ups, for my circuit training, for my kettlebell workouts, and even for my bootcamps. It looks simple but I assure you it poses its share of challenges.

The exercise does not require any equipment, only some space for you to lie down in a plank position with your arms fully extended.

Here’s a quick video showing you exactly how to perform the exercise:


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As you’ll soon notice, the mountain climbers exercise will help you:

  • Improve your cardiovascular fitness;
  • Develop muscular endurance in your arms;
  • Develop your core strength.

The last one is the one I want to particularly emphasize. The act of bringing your knees towards your chest is similar to performing a reverse crunch – only it is more dynamic and at a much faster pace. If done correctly, the movement will challenge your core in a completely unique way.

How can you take advantage of the mountain climbers?

Do what I do:

  • Add them to your warm up;
  • Use them for your circuit and interval training;
  • Work them into your kettlebell circuit workouts (the kettlebell swing and mountain climbers go really well together).

Give the mountain climbers exercise a try and let me know what you think in the comments below!

16 thoughts on “Mountain Climbers Exercise for Building Core Strength [VIDEO]”

  1. Srdjan,
    Mountain climbers are excellent and they definitely get the heart going. As you suggest, including them in your workouts either as a warm up or as part of the workout itself makes for a great addition.

    -Sam

  2. Great video and post. Those mountain climbers can be brutal. I’ve combined them into a Tabata-style workouts. Sure 20 seconds of mountain climbers doesn’t SOUND like much, but … well … it is.

    I also like two different variations: one, bring your foot up and outside to plant it flat on the ground near your hand and two, bring your leg up and to the side keeping your knee and foot elevated (hard to describe). Both nail the obliques.

    Gotta love/hate them!

    1. Hey Bob, I’m not a doctor so I can’t say anything for sure. But my guess is that since mountain climbers involve a lot of hip flexion and extension, it might not be the best exercise for those who have had hip replacements. But check with your doctor to be sure!

  3. Thanks for your reply, Srdjan. I checked and it’s sort of a borderline exercise for me, thus better to be avoided. I will just continue to do lots of pushups and half squats, as the pushup itself is a great core exercise, a “moving plank”, so to speak.

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