Anyone who’s ever performed mountain climbers knows they’re no joke. This total-body exercise works everything from your core to your arms to your legs, so long as you tap into the right variations. Stick with a mountain climber routine and you’re bound to reap some serious benefits. If you’re ready to take your mountain climbing game to the next level, here are seven variations you need to try.
1. TRX mountain climbers
TRX mountain climbers are a great way to take your moves off the ground. Using the system in your home or at the gym, you’ll suspend your feet behind you, moving into a push-up position. This video from Santa Monica’s LEAF Wellness Studio demonstrates the logistics of the move in detail. Once your feet are in place and your shoulders are stacked above your hands, you’ll proceed with alternating leg movements similar to those of a traditional mountain climber.
2. Tricep mountain climbers
As you can see over at Today, this move is more controlled than your typical mountain climbers. Begin in a plank, positioning your hands in a triangle underneath your chest. Really engage your core so you’re able to maintain a strong, straight body. Slowly bring your knee up to meet either your tricep or elbow of the same side. Take a breath in your plank position before moving to the opposite side.
3. Army crawl mountain climbers
Channel your inner military self with Life by Daily Burn’s army crawl variation. You’ll start in a forearm plank with your hands curled into fists. Begin inching forward, moving your right foot toward your right elbow, and then left. Basically, you’re doing an army crawl, but in a plank position. After inching forward a few times, stack one foot over the other and push yourself up into a side forearm plank. This exercise will challenge your stability while working your whole body.
4. Cross-body mountain climber
The cross-body mountain climber, featured on Women’s Health, is an easy way to target your obliques without straying far from the traditional move. Start in a push-up position, maintaining a straight line. Keeping your arms sturdy and abs engaged, bring your right knee across to meet your left shoulder or elbow. For an added challenge, try moving through both sides in one motion: After you bring your knee to the opposite shoulder, bring it back toward your elbow on the same side before putting your foot back down.
5. Standing mountain climbers
Yep, it’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like. Take your mountain climbers to an upright position for part of this variation. Women’s Health recommends high-knee jogging in place for 10 counts before dropping to the floor for traditional mountain climbers to complete one rep. You’ll add an extra cardio burst right out of the gate.
6. Back plank mountain climbers
This Men’s Health video runs through a bunch of mountain climber variations, one of which flips you over to face the ceiling. Prop yourself up onto straight arms, and make a straight line from head to heels, facing the ceiling. Bring one knee to your chest, alternating sides, and make sure your butt isn’t sinking down toward the floor.
7. Plank jack mountain climbers
This move, seen over at Life by Daily Burn, incorporates jumping jacks into the mix, working your abs, thighs, and glutes. Start in a high plank position, and then complete three jumping jack motions with your legs. Hopping your feet out wide, be careful to land gently each time you touch your feet to the ground. Bring your feet back together so you’re in a high plank position, then hop them forward to meet your hands before popping up to standing.
Regardless of your mountain climber go-to, there’s no doubt you’ll be getting in a serious workout with these calorie-busting moves.