How many calories does the mountain climbers exercise burn ?

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Last updated on February 12, 2023

How many calories do Mountain Climbers burn

Mountain climbers are an effective way to train the core as well as burning a few calories in the process. Obviously determing the exact amount of calories you burn is quite hard to do, and will vary greatly on your weight, sex, age, and the intensity of the training you are doing as well. That being said, Harvard Health estimates you could burn up to 190 calories per 30 minutes of mountain climbers.


* This is just an estimate, as other bodily variables will determine the precise amount.

How to do Mountain Climbers?

Mountain climbers are an excellent full core exercise, and as a bonus they also work the shoulders and the back! They aren’t incredibly impactful on your nervous system, and a great addition to any plan.

  1. Find yourself a nice open area, and assume the push up position, with your core braced.
  2. Without losing the straight line in your back, bring your one knee up and towards your chest as far as you can. Once you’ve reached the top, switch by lowering that leg to its starting position and bringing the other leg up towards your chest.
  3. Alternate between the two legs, building a pace you’re comfortable with. Make sure to not lose form of stability in your core.


Which muscles do Mountain Climbers work?

Mountain climbers are almost put into training protocols as a core or abdominal exercise, but other muscles are also working.


  • Abdominals
  • Transverse Abdominals
  • Hip Flexors
  • Quadriceps
  • Shoulders
  • Triceps


Mountain Climbers will feel like a full body exercise because they kind of are. They will primarily be used to target the abdominals however.

Common mistakes to avoid

Funnily enough, we rarely see people doing things wrong with Mountain Climber, and they’re usually a very easy fix.


  • Losing tension/form in the torso. This could negate all the positive effects of the exercise in the first place. Keep your body in a straight line.
  • Going too fast or too slow. Losing the plot of the exercise is easy when you get the tempo wrong. Go too slow and you kind of just stand there. Go too fast and you end up running in place.
  • Leaning your head forward too much. Keep your head in the same straight line as your body to avoid injury.
  • Rounding the lower back. Similar to point one, you need to keep your body in a straight line/plane to ensure your core is working, and to avoid injury.


About the author  Steve

Steve Theunissen is from New Zealand and is a qualified Personal Trainer and Nutritionist with over 30 years experience. Read more about Steve in the 'about us' page.

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