5 Fat-Melting Mountain Climber Variations
By JASON WIMBERLY
Cardio in general can get pretty tedious. All those hours spent on the elliptical or treadmill can seem like a waste of time. But we know that high-intensity training that pushes your anaerobic threshold is the best way to burn calories, even in the hours following your workout.
By pushing your VO2 max (the amount of oxygen your body is converting to energy during physical activity), you can boost the good hormones you need and increase caloric burn for the rest of the day. The best way to do that is through high-intensity interval training (HIIT), so if you can read a magazine while you're doing your cardio workout, you're probably doing it wrong.
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Steady-state cardio has it benefits, but the benefits of pushing to anaerobic far outweigh them and in a fraction of the time. Running can be treacherous in winter months and sometimes you just want to mix it up right?
Enter the mountain climber and all its fun variations. By moving those legs as quick as you can, you get that heart rate up fast. You also have the added benefits of working your core, shoulders, triceps and even your glutes in some of the versions below.
If you're a beginner, start by doing each of these five variations for 40 seconds, with 20 seconds of recovery. Too easy or want to step it up? Do a full 60 seconds of each, with only 10 seconds of recovery in between.
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Exercise 1: Basic Mountain Climber
In your high plank, alternate pulling your knees into your chest as high as possible, working to switch feet as quickly as possible. Focus on pulling your belly button into your low back and scooping out your center as you go.
(Photos by Benjamin Patterson)
Exercise 2: Right-Sided Mountain Climber
This one feels funny and lopsided, but halfway in and you'll feel the burn — which is exactly what we want. Continue the same quick pace as you started with, but bring each knee as far as possible over to your right elbow. You will notice your left oblique and side working hard to stabilize. Don't slow down.
Exercise 3: Left-Sided Mountain Climber
Same as the right, but bring each leg over to the left as much as possible.
Exercise 4: Alternating Mountain Climber
Now, twisting your hips as much as possible, rotate your knee to the opposite elbow as you engage your core and pull the knees up. This oblique burner will be a little slower if you're twisting fully, but keep up the pace as much as possible.
Exercise 5: Jumping Spider Mountain Climber
The grand finale: Moving your legs this much, this quickly, is sure to get you to your limit quick.
Keeping your hands places on the floor, pull one foot up as close to your hands as possible keeping the other extended behind for a deep runner's lunge. Jump and switch feet, bringing the opposite forward. Continue jumping switching legs in the air to alternating lunges.
Modification: Don't jump — simply switch the lunges, stepping through the middle.
Check out all these moves in action:
Readers - Do you incorporate HIIT in your workouts or do you prefer steady-state cardio? What kind of HIIT exercises do you do? Have you tried any of the moves described above? Leave a comment and let us know.
Jason Wimberly is an Los Angeles-based celebrity personal trainer, top-level Equinox Instructor and master trainer for Revolution Studios. With over 10 years’ experience in the fitness industry, Jason has taught sold-out classes across the country and keeps many of Hollywood’s elite looking their best. WIMBERLEAN is his signature movement and DVD and launched in 2014 with a focus on creating long, lean bodies by utilizing his former training as a professional ballet dancer.