The Fitness Trail: Mountain climbers three ways |

The Fitness Trail: Mountain climbers three ways

Jackie Wright
The Fitness Trail
Staff Photo |

The mountain climber exercise is an excellent total body core exercise. The entire body becomes involved in this exercise due to the body’s position in relationship to ground forces and you may perform this exercise with or without equipment. However, this week three variations including one without equipment will be highlighted. Add these exercises to your fitness repertoire and experience a stronger core from chin to knees. As always, prior to beginning any exercise program, consult your physician.

*For all three variations, begin with the head/neck in neutral, shoulders rotated back/down, rib cage lifted off the waistline, navel pulled toward the spine, pelvic floor pulled in and upward. It is imperative to avoid the lumbar spine hyperextending or excessive movement in the shoulder girdle. So, be meticulous with your form and master the first version before progressing.

Mountain Climber No. 1 – no equipment required

• Begin in a full plank position from the floor with the wrists under the shoulders, legs approximately shoulder distance apart and the toes tucked under. The top of the head to the heels should be one straight line without the hips “tenting” upward toward the ceiling.

• Without raising the hips, maintaining the plank position throughout, draw the right knee toward the chest; put it back into the plank position followed by left knee-alternating R/L for 30 seconds.

• Take a 15 second active recovery break and repeat this sequence again for 30 seconds. The tempo of this particular version is slow and one foot should always be in contact with the floor.

Mountain Climber No. 2 – 12-inch step platform and Gliding Discs

• Begin in the same position as #1 however; you will be placing your hands on one end (i.e. short end) of the 12-inch step platform.

• Place one disc under each foot, with just the ball of the foot on the disc and the heels elevated throughout.

• Keeping the plank position maintained throughout, “run” the hill (i.e. one knee in then the other, neither foot is ever off the floor, just gliding in and out toward the chest).

• The tempo of this variation is quick. Perform for 30 seconds. Take a 15 second active recovery break and repeat.

Mountain Climber No. 3 – BOSU Balance Trainer

• Flip the BOSU onto the dome side so that the flat bottom is facing upward.

• Begin in the plank position as described in No. 1; however, you will have your hands on the handles of the BOSU.

• This variation requires some impact, so you will be “running” the hill (i.e. one knee in as the other leg extends, shifting quickly from one side to the other –this actually looks like a high-knee run).

• This variation is very quick, very high intensity.

• Perform for 30 seconds, followed by a 15-second active recovery break and repeat.

You may choose one of these variations and perform it two-three times in a row as described, or perform it once through in a larger circuit returning to that variation once or twice during the circuit. Another option is to perform each one of the variations once through beginning with option one as a “warm-up” for the other variations.

Jackie Wright is the owner/manager of Never Summer Fitness, LLC located in Grand Lake, Colorado. She may be reached at her website at, her email at, her blog at http://www.skyhidailynews and her Facebook page at Never Summer Fitness.

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