This move will give you a core and cardio workout in one
Mountain climbers are one of those exercises that might suck in the moment but they give you serious bang for your buck. Just a few reps will fire up your heart-rate (tick), challenge your core (tick), and sculpt a heap of those hard to reach muscles like your glutes, triceps and shoulders (tick, tick, tick.)
“This move is such a great cardio-focused core move,” Brooke Cates, founder and CEO of The Bloom Method told Well & Good. “While it’s often performed with the main drive stemming from the legs when you switch the focus to driving from the deep core and being mindful of your breath, it provides a killer core burn while also working your shoulders and lower body.”
As opposed to, say… sit-ups, which only target certain parts, mountain climbers involve your entire abdominal region. They’re also easier on the spine and neck than other exercises (like crunches) that are performed lying down.
How to: start in a plank position, with gliding discs beneath your feet if you have them. Bring your left knee in towards your chest; return to start, switch legs and repeat, keeping your hips and spine in a neutral position. That's one rep.
Image source: Getty
To get the most out of the exercise, you want to move at maximum effort without compromising your form. Taking slow breaths down into your diaphragm (instead of your chest) is key here.
“This provides better core function and strength to build muscle and deeper oxygen delivery to the muscles,” Cates explained. Translation? You’ll be able to push harder for longer.
A quick word on technique: your shoulders should be in line and stacked over your wrists, with your butt tucked under and ribs drawn towards your hips. Make sure your pelvic floor is engaged and don’t let your body sink or rise up in the air (imagining yourself as a table can be useful here.)
Aim to complete 20 seconds of work, followed by 10 seconds of rest and repeat for eight sets. Beginners start with 10 to 15 reps on each side, for three to four sets.
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