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.
- 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.
|Repetitions||125 lbs||155 lbs||185 lbs|
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:
|Duration||125 lbs||155 lbs||185 lbs|
How Many Calories Does Yoga Burn?
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
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:
|Exercise||Calories burned in 10 minutes|
|Running (6 mph)||110|
|Cycling (moderate pace)||95|
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.