Mountain Climbers – Calculate Calories Burned With This Chart

Mountain Climbers (2)-min

Although they look relatively simple, mountain climbers are a hidden gem when it comes to burning calories.

Versatile, dynamic, and challenging, they’re a great exercise to add to any workout plan, regardless of whether you’re a beginner or an elite athlete.

In this guide, we specifically discuss how many calories you can expect to burn doing mountain climbers. To do this, we’ve created charts and tables that provide some guidance on calories burned per repetition, as well as per workout duration.

We also discuss how other factors influence the true number of calories you burn in exercises like mountain climbers.

Quick Summary

  • As an average, you might expect to burn around 3 calories doing 10 mountain climbers.
  • In 1 minute, you therefore might burn around 12 calories (assuming you did around 40 mountain climbers in that time).
  • This works out as 120 calories in 10 minutes – which is similar to moderate running and cycling.
  • There are many factors that influence calories burned, including weight and genetics, so these figures should only be used as rough estimates.

The Quick TL;DR on Mountain Climbers

Benefits of Mountain Climbers

Mountain climbers are a full-body exercise that engage multiple major muscle groups.

By combining the stabilizing strength of a plank with the dynamic movement of leg drives, you’re not only enhancing cardiovascular endurance but also building muscular strength in areas like the core, deltoids, and quads.

How They Engage Various Muscle Groups

When executed with proper form, mountain climbers are a really effective exercise for all fitness levels.

The dynamic driving motion of the legs actively engages the quadriceps and hamstrings, while the supporting role of the upper body (utilizing the arms, chest, and shoulders) ensures a comprehensive workout.

The constant tension in the abdominal region also means your core is always activated, promoting better balance and strength throughout the movement.

This synergy of muscle activation ensures maximum calorie burn in minimal time.

Calories Burned Per Repetition

Breakdown of Caloric Burn for the Average Person

On average, a person weighing around 155 pounds might burn approximately 0.3 to 0.5 calories per mountain climber repetition. This number can fluctuate based on factors we’ll discuss later on.


Someone weighing 185 pounds might burn up to 0.6 calories per rep, while a person weighing 125 pounds may burn closer to 0.2 calories.

These are rough estimates, and individual results can vary based on intensity, form, and one’s metabolic rate.

Repetitions125 lbs155 lbs185 lbs
1 rep0.20.30.4
10 reps234
30 reps6912
50 reps101520
100 reps203040

Duration-Based Calorie Breakdown

Performing mountain climbers over time can significantly ramp up the caloric expenditure.

Let’s break down the average calorie burn for three different body weights during varying durations:

Duration125 lbs155 lbs185 lbs
1 minute91215
5 minutes456075
10 minutes90120150
20 minutes180240300
30 minutes270360450

How Many Calories Does Yoga Burn?

Looking to finish off your workout with some yoga? Check out our guide on how many calories yoga burns too.

Factors Influencing Calories Burned

Weight and Body Type

Your body weight and composition play a significant role in determining how many calories you burn during any exercise.

Generally, individuals with higher body weights burn more calories than those with lower weights while performing the same activity.

This is due to the increased energy required to move a larger mass.

Another difference that can influence total calories burned is that muscle tissue burns more calories than fat, even at rest.

So, a person with a higher muscle-to-fat ratio might experience a slightly elevated calorie burn during mountain climbers.

Intensity of the Workout

Mountain climbers can be adjusted in intensity.

The faster and more vigorously you perform them, the higher the calorie expenditure.

It’s essential to maintain proper form, though. Perfectly executed mountain climbers at a moderate pace can be more beneficial and burn more calories in the long run than hurried, improperly done reps.

Personal Fitness Level

Your fitness level, stemming from your cardiovascular health and muscle endurance, influences how efficiently your body uses energy.

Experienced athletes often have a more optimized oxygen and energy delivery system, making them burn fewer calories than beginners for the same duration of exercise.

However, their ability to sustain high-intensity levels can counteract this, leading to higher overall calorie burn in extended sessions.

Improving Your Mountain Climbers

Stiff hips will likely limit your mountain climbers. Exercises and stretches like groiners, world’s greatest stretch and couch stretch are worth doing to help improve hip health.

Maximizing Your Calorie Burn

Tips for Increasing Intensity

Incline: Use a bench or platform to place your hands on, making the mountain climbers slightly elevated. This adds an extra challenge to your core.

Weighted Vest: Add a weighted vest to increase resistance and amplify the burn.

Plyometric Variation: Introduce a jump between switches. This explosive movement will raise your heart rate even more.

Variations of Mountain Climbers

Incorporate these variations to challenge different muscle groups:

  • Spiderman Climbers: Bring the knee to the outside of the elbow, targeting the obliques more intensely.
  • Cross-Body Climbers: Drive your knee towards the opposite elbow, giving your core an extra twist and challenge. This can be a great alternative to oblique crunches.

Comparing Mountain Climbers to Other Exercises

Mountain climbers are highly effective, but how do they compare to other popular exercises?

Here’s a brief comparison in terms of calorie burn for an average individual weighing 155 lbs:

ExerciseCalories burned in 10 minutes
Mountain Climbers120
Running (6 mph)110
Cycling (moderate pace)95

Bottom Line

Mountain climbers are a great way to burn calories as well as strengthen your core.

They offer the best of both worlds – strength and cardio. Not only do they engage a lot of muscles in your body, but they also get your heart pumping.

You can adapt the movement to best suit your requirements and fitness level.

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