The Best Mountain Climber Alternative Exercises: Muscle-Building and Exercise Variations

Updated: Jul 2


mountain-climber-exercise

Mountain climbers are an intense exercise. They work not only your upper body but also your lower body and core. If you want to give your mountain climbers a break, or if you're looking for similar exercises that will build muscle and improve your fitness, look no further! In this article, we'll describe the best mountain climber alternative exercises. We'll prioritize the muscle-building aspects of each exercise and how to perform them correctly. Lastly, we'll focus on the exercise variations and common mistakes people make when trying these exercises.


Before we dive in: check out our full-body training program to develop a strong body and aesthetic physique; you will benefit from one of our programs. We designed a program that gives you the tools to build muscle with an easy-to-follow routine that will fit any schedule. To find out more:


What muscles does the mountain climber exercise work?

The mountain climber exercise is a full-body exercise. The first muscle that the mountain climber exercise works is the quad. The quads consist of four muscles on the front of the thigh: the rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus intermedius, and vastus medialis. The rectus femoris' function is knee extension and hip flexion. The vastus lateralis' function is knee extension. The intermedius' function is to stabilize the patella, and the medialis' function is to stabilize the knee joint. All four muscles work together to extend the knee and bring your thigh towards your chest in a mountain climber position.


The second muscle group that the mountain climber exercises works are the hamstring. The hamstrings are a group of three muscles on the back of the thigh: the semitendinosus, semimembranosus, and biceps femoris. The function of all three muscles is to flex the knee and extend the hip. The mountain climber exercise works all three of these muscles.

The third muscle group that the mountain climber exercises works are the gluteus maximus. The glutes are a group of three muscles: the gluteus Maximus, medius, and minimus. These muscles are responsible for hip extension, abduction, and internal/external rotation. The mountain climber exercise works all three of these muscles.


The fourth muscle group that the mountain climber exercises works are the core. The core consists of over 35 different muscle groups. The mountain climber exercise works all of these muscles, but it particularly targets the rectus abdominis, which is responsible for flexing the spine, and the obliques, which are responsible for rotating and side-bending the spine.

The mountain climber exercise also works the muscles of the upper body, including the deltoids, pectorals, biceps, and triceps.



How to Perform the Mountain Climber Exercise

The mountain climber exercise is a bodyweight exercise that can be performed anywhere.


To perform the mountain climber exercise:

  • Start in a push-up position with your hands shoulder-width apart and your feet hip-width apart.

  • Keeping your core engaged, bring one knee towards your chest.

  • As you bring your knee towards your chest, simultaneously extend the opposite leg straight behind you.

  • Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.

  • Continue alternating sides for 30-60 seconds.


Common Mistakes

One of the most common mistakes people make when performing the mountain climber exercise is not engaging their core. This can lead to lower back pain and discomfort. Make sure to keep your core engaged throughout the entire exercise.


Another common mistake people make is not keeping their hips level. This can cause the exercise to put unnecessary stress on the lower back. Make sure to keep your hips level as you bring your knees towards your chest.


Finally, people often let their knees collapse inward when they perform mountain climber exercises. This puts unnecessary stress on the knee joint and can lead to pain and discomfort. Make sure to keep your knees aligned with your ankles as you bring them towards your chest.


Exercise Variations

If you want to make the mountain climber exercise more challenging, there are a few variations you can try.


Variation #1: Elevated Mountain Climbers

This variation is performed the same as the mountain climber exercise, but with your feet elevated on a bench or box. This increases the range of motion, making the exercise more challenging.


To perform this variation:

  • Start in a push-up position with your hands shoulder-width apart and your feet hip-width apart.

  • Place your feet on an elevated surface.

  • Keeping your core engaged, bring one knee towards your chest.

  • As you bring your knee towards your chest, simultaneously extend the opposite leg straight behind you.

  • Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.

  • Continue alternating sides for 30-60 seconds.


Variation #2: Weighted Mountain Climbers

Another variation is to wear a weighted vest while performing the mountain climber exercise. This increases the resistance, making the exercise more challenging.


To perform this variation:

  • Start in a push-up position with your hands shoulder-width apart and your feet hip-width apart.

  • Place a weighted vest on.

  • Keeping your core engaged, bring one knee towards your chest.

  • As you bring your knee towards your chest, simultaneously extend the opposite leg straight behind you.

  • Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.

  • Continue alternating sides for 30-60 seconds.



Alternative Exercises

There are a few mountain climber alternative exercises that target similar muscle groups.


Exercise #1: Planks

Planks are another full-body, core-strengthening exercise that can be performed anywhere.


To perform a plank:

  • Start in a push-up position with your hands shoulder-width apart and your feet hip-width apart.

  • Keeping your core engaged, lower yourself down so that your elbows are bent at 90-degree angles.

  • Hold this position for 30-60 seconds.


Exercise #2: Push-Ups

Push-ups are an effective exercise because they work the chest, shoulders, and triceps.


To perform a push-up:

  • Start in a plank position with your hands shoulder-width apart and your feet hip-width apart.

  • Keeping your core engaged, lower yourself down until your chest is just above the ground.

  • Push yourself back up to the starting position and repeat for 30-60 seconds.


Exercise #3: Tricep Dips

Another excellent choice for mountain climbers is tricep dips.


To perform a tricep dip:

  • Start in a seated position with your knees bent and your hands shoulder-width apart, behind you.

  • Keeping your core engaged, lift yourself up so that your weight is supported by your hands.

  • Lower yourself down until your elbows are bent at 90-degree angles.

  • Push yourself back up to the starting position and repeat for 30-60 seconds.


Exercise #4: Bodyweight Squats

Squats are a great exercise to strengthen the legs, glutes, and hips.


To perform a squat:

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your toes pointed slightly outward.

  • Keeping your core engaged, slowly lower yourself down into a squat position.

  • Hold this position for a few seconds before pushing yourself back up to the starting position.

  • Repeat for 30-60 seconds.


Exercise #5: Lunges

Lunges are another excellent choice for mountain climbers. They target the legs, glutes, and hips.


To perform a lunge:

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your toes pointed slightly outward.

  • Keeping your core engaged, take a large step forward with one leg.

  • Lower yourself down into a lunge position, making sure that your knees are bent at 90-degree angles.

  • Hold this position for a few seconds before pushing yourself back up to the starting position.

  • Repeat on the other side.

  • Continue alternating sides for 30-60 seconds.


Summary

Mountain climbers are a great exercise for building muscle and improving cardiovascular endurance. However, there are a few variations of the exercise that can make it more challenging. Additionally, there are a few alternative exercises that work the same muscle groups. When performing mountain climbers, make sure to keep your core engaged and avoid placing too much stress on your knees. Try incorporating some of these variations and alternative exercises into your workout routine to mix things up!



For a complete routine, check out our full-body training program to develop a strong body and aesthetic physique; you will benefit from one of our programs. We designed a program that gives you the tools to build muscle with an easy-to-follow routine that will fit any schedule. To find out more:


0 comments