Lifestyle: Fitness

Mountain Climbers for Beginners

mountain climbersmountain climbers

By Tracey Pollack

Want to take your workout to new heights? Then it’s time to step up to “mountain climbers.” Don’t worry, this full-body exercise won’t have you heading for the mountains (or running for the hills!) because it’s simply a way to elevate the intensity of your workout, especially if circuit training is a part of your routine. It simply gives you a heart-pumping, core-building, body-shaping form of cardio that can help you reach the pinnacle of fitness. 

How to Step Up to Mountain Climbers 

Mountain climbers get their name from their resemblance to the techniques it takes to scale steep mountains. But there’s no need to put on your parka because mountain climbers don’t demand any special gear or getup. So are you up for an easy, versatile exercise that can be done in any place and at any pace? Here’s all you need to do: 

  1. Get into a pushup position with your arms straight and your hands directly beneath your shoulders. 

  2.  Lift your right leg and walk it forward so it’s bent beneath your chest, while keeping your left leg out behind you. 

  3.  Quickly push your legs to switch your foot positions, pushing your right leg behind you and bringing your left leg forward toward your chest. 

  4.  Keep alternating your feet for one minute (or as many reps as possible) to mimic a running motion while maintaining your form. 

  5.  Stretch your muscles after completing your reps to avoid any muscle tightness or joint pain. 

Get Mountains of Benefits for Your Body 

Mountain climbers work multiple muscle groups at once to give you a full-body workout that’s full of body-building benefits, including: 

  • Cardio on the go – Get a heart-pumping, fat-burning cardio workout wherever you go. 

  • A stronger body from head to toe – This easy exercise can strengthen your upper body, tighten your core, and build up your lower body all at once. 

  • A full-body blast – Mountain climbers work many different muscle groups, including your core, shoulders, quads, glutes, hamstrings, calves, and triceps. 

  • Better balance – The stronger your core, the better your stability and balance. 

  • A workout that works anywhere – Mountain climbers don’t demand any fancy gym machines or lots of space to perform them.  

Variations to Elevate the Challenge of Mountain Climbers  

If you’re up for a little adventure that takes your workout up a notch, try these variations of the exercise: 

  1. Bosu ball mountain climber – Boost your cardio and agility by putting the Bosu ball dome-side down, then getting into the plank position on top of it and proceeding with the standard exercise. 

  2. Wall mountain climber – Work your body harder by simply performing the standard exercise, but rather than placing your feet on the floor, push them against the wall. 

  3. Twisted mountain climber – Tone your core even more by performing the standard exercise, but making a twisting motion while bringing your legs under your chest.  

Mountain Climbers Missteps to Watch Out For 

Make your workout worth it by avoiding these mountain climber mistakes: 

  • Arching your back 

  • Caving your lower back 

  • Not putting your hands directly under your shoulders 

  • Bouncing on your toes 

  • Not letting your toes touch the floor 

  • Forgetting to stretch when you’re done 

If you’re just getting started, approach this exercise just like climbing a mountain…take it step by step until you’ve reached your peak! 


To avoid any risk of injury, please seek advice from your physician before starting any exercise or nutritional program, especially if you have any existing medical issues.   
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