Do Mountain Climbers Build Muscle?

How to Properly Utilize Full Body Exercises


Mountain climbers are the perfect full body exercise for weight gain that work an astounding 12 muscles when performed properly. This exercise is a great option for beginners and veterans, along with people who do not have access to a gym; mountain climbers can easily be performed in your own home, along with practically anywhere there is floor space in the gym.


When it comes to lifting, there are typically three ways of thinking. First, the lift heavier weight with lower reps, second, the lift lighter weight with higher reps, and third, utilize full body, bodyweight routines. Each of these thoughts is how someone feels is the best way to lose fat and gain muscle.


Though, it might come as a surprise to some, especially with all of the false propaganda going around, it is literally impossible to put on substantial amounts of muscle mass while in a deficit attempting to lose body fat. It is just not done, the body doesn’t work like that.


But, there are little tips and tricks that will help you on your way to getting your dream body, even if you don’t have access to a gym, weights, or any type of equipment at all. This is where the third frame of thinking comes into play. Making use of your own bodyweight to come up with your perfect at home routine.

Full Body Exercise vs Muscle Specific Exercise

Everyone and anyone who has ever lost weight, lifted, or trained another person (or yourself) knows that everyone and their mother will argue with you over what is best for the body. Whether it be lifting routines, dieting preferences, or even what cardio is best! Everyone has their own opinion on what is best.


Something that cannot be disputed is the fact that people who do not have access to a gym with equipment and weights will see far more results by way of full body exercises with bodyweight than no exercise at all!


While performing mountain climbers, specifically, you will engaged 12 muscles which are your: deltoids, biceps, triceps, pectoralis major, obliques, rectus abdominals, lower trapezius, latissimus dorsi, quadriceps, hamstrings, hip adductors, hip abductors.


This is quite a few muscles from a simple movement. Now, when it comes to actually building muscle from an exercise such as mountain climbers, it can be tough to make an umbrella statement, because each person is different and the effects will be different per person overall.


What the heck does that even mean? Well, if you’ve never exercised, lifted, or even done a pushup before in your life, adding this into your exercise routine will bring about awesome results. You will build muscle in this specific circumstance.


Though, on the other end, if you’ve been exercising and lifting for 10 years or more, doing mountain climbers for a minute will not bring about the same results. When you hit a certain level, it gets harder and harder to add muscle onto your frame if you have been lifting for quite some time. You body gets used to the muscle fibers being ripped 5 or 6 days a week, that doing a simple body weight exercise won’t really get your body packing on the muscle like it would if you were just starting out.


However, if you are a lifting veteran, you can easily make these more difficult by adding weight to your back, resistance bands or ankle weights to make the exercise more strenuous, adding to the muscle building effect.


Knowing how to perform this exercise is a great asset for beginners and veterans, so make use of it in your next exercise day because it has great benefits that will aid with all levels of lifters. Using bodyweight or slapping a 45 on your body, get it done, and get sweating!

Are Mountain Climbers Good For You?

As with all things, there is always good and bad to everything. Mountain climbers appear to be the exception, though, any exercise can cause an injury if performed incorrectly. Be sure to wear sneakers with good tread to avoid slipping and whacking your face on the floor. Your fellow gym goers in the studio might appreciate the comedy act, but your ego certainly won’t.


More and more, making use of full body, and body weight exercises have started to become popular once again. Probably because more and more people are hitting the gym trying to lose weight and improve their overall health. We can all be sure to add this great exercise to our next day at the gym because it has quite a few benefits that most people don’t realize.

Muscles Worked While Performing Mt Climber

As you know, you are in plank position alternating knee thrusts for this exercise, but it is so much more than that. When performing a mountain climber, we work 12 muscles! Crazy right, you wouldn’t think that at first because while you are performing this you don’t realize just how many muscles are engaging for a simple movement, but the list is quite large.


You work your: deltoids, triceps, biceps, pectoralis major, obliques, rectus abdominis, trapezius (lower), latissimus dorsi, hamstrings, quadriceps, hip adductors, and hip abductors.


Wow, the list is long, but how the heck could all of these be engaged from a leg movement? Simple really!


Your delts, biceps, triceps, and pecs are engaged by keeping your body up, by supporting your body weight, along with the motion of your back rising and falling slightly that occurs when you are switching your feet.


Your obliques, rectus abs, traps, and lats are working by way of supporting body weight as well. Keeping your core engaged during this exercise helps with obliques and abs as well, along with supporting your back while performing the movement.


Your hamstrings, quads, hip abductors, and hip adductors are being worked from the movement of your legs switching. At first glance you might think that this exercise only works legs and lower abs, but that is simply not the case.

Making it Harder on Yourself

We are always a glutton for punishment, so the perfect way to make this exercise a little more difficult is to add a weight to your back. Nothing crazy, try putting a 25 on your back and see if you can perform the exercise without throwing the weight on the ground first before trying heavier weight.


Overall, mountain climbers are the perfect full body, bodyweight exercise for beginners along with gym going veterans. With the amount of muscles worked with this simple exercise, it would be silly to skip it.


Be sure to always use proper form while performing any exercise, mountain climbers are definitely no exception to that golden rule.

How To Do a Mountain Climber

Exercises to Note


Whether you are looking to add a new exercise to your arsenal, or just trying to figure out how to perform the perfect full-body exercise, mountain climbers are often overlooking, without good reason. Mountain climbers are a full body exercise that can be quite grueling if performed properly.


The first thing you will do is to get down on all fours. I personally like to do these on a carpet, if I’m at home, or on top of a few mats at the gym.


You will then get up on your hands and toes. Now, your hands should be about shoulder width apart, or slightly wider, whichever position is more comfortable for you. Your foot placement is not important, straight back and a little separated is perfectly fine.


Next, you will bring your knee to about hip height underneath of you, this is your start position for this particular exercise. You might notice that your back will want to bend excessively almost going into a ‘cat back’, try to remember to keep your back as flat as you can. If you are not exceptionally flexible you might not be able to keep yourself from arching your back, but this is okay. Try stretching and working on your flexibility, this will help with all other facets of your exercise routine, so it’s important to work on!


From your start position you will switch leg positions. You want to try and be as explosive as you can be from this position because it will work your quads more, the more explosive you are with the exercise, which is really one of the reasons why we want to add this to our routines.


The leg that was bent underneath of your torso in the start position will go back straight and support your weight on your toes as the leg that was back will shoot up underneath and replace your start position leg.


You will repeat this exercise switching legs back and forth for the number of reps and set you want. Personally, I count two leg movements as one rep. You right leg going up and back counts as one rep. Doing this will ensure that you are getting the same amount of reps per leg.


Or if you are just starting out, you can also do this mountain climber exercise for a specified amount of time, and get as many reps as you can in the time allotted. This is good for beginners because you won’t have to support your weight on your hands and toes for a very long time, as compared to doing a certain amounts of reps would could take longer.


Now that you know how to perform the perfect mountain climber, be sure to add this to your next workout and feel the burn!