Mountain Climbers

Many of the exercises we can do at-home with little to no equipment are great ways to build strength while getting the benefits of cardio. These body weight exercises are a great convience to those with limited time.

The mountain climber exercise can be used as a warmup before strength training or you can use it in a whole bodyweight series!  

Mountain Climbers will test and improve your balance, coordination and agilty as well as provide you with the caridovascular benefits. Mountain climbers are done in the traditional push-up position requiring upper-body strength. It may be difficult to hold your body in this position, but try to keep proper form to work those muscles and get the most out of your workout!!
 

THE MOVEMENT:

  1. Begin in push-up position
  2. Keep a neutral spine
  3. Feet are hip-width apart
  4. Keep your core engaged and tight
  5. Bring your right knee towards your chest  
  6. Bring your right knee back to start position  
  7. Bring left knee towards chest and back to start

 

PROPER FORM:

  • Keep your arms, shoulder, and core stabilized 
  • Try not to rock your hips during the movemen
  • Move with intent (the faster your legs switch the more cardiovascular benefits)

Beginners, Intermediate, and Difficult: Bird-dogs

One of my favorite bodyweight exercises has to be birddogs...

...and no, it's not because of my unhealthy obsession with my dog. Although, you might get your pup to watch you do them.

But, I digress.

Anyway, I've noticed that some bodyweight exercises have a tendency to look easier than they actually are. The bird-dog is a perfect example of this phenomenon. 

 

Benefits of Bird-dogs:

  • Stabilization exercise  
  • Strengthens core  
  • Strengthens lower back  
  • Improves balance
  • Activates hips & glutes  
  • Strengthens back of shoulders                                                                              

Proper Form: 

  1. Start on your hands & knees with a neutral spine and your eyes toward the floor. 
  2. Your hands are placed under your shoulders. Your wrist, elbow and shoulder are all     aligned.
  3. Lift and extend your right arm and left leg until they are parallel with the floor.
  4. Hold in this position a few seconds.
  5. Touch your right elbow to your left knee and hold
  6. Repeat 10-20 reps. then, switch sides. 

Variations

As you build your strength exercises will become easier and may require variations to get the desired results. 

If the bird-dog seems too difficult, an even simplier variation is a quadruped bent-knee hip-extension. In this variation, you keep your hands planted the whole time. Keeping the knee bent, press your left leg toward the ceiling, making sure to engage the glutes. Bring the knee down & repeat. This variation is a great starting point for those carrying more weight or if you have trouble balancing while preforming the traditional bird-dogs. 

 

As you progress and get stronger you can also try a more difficult variation, the bird-dog in push-up position. This requires much more core strength and stabilty. Begin in traditional push-up position on your hands and feet. Lift and extend your right arm and left leg simultaneously, making sure to keep your hips square (no wobbling). Bring your arm and leg back to start and switch sides.