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Freeletics Exercises: Climbers


When performed correctly, Climbers can get your muscles burning even more than the Mountain Climber, so why not spice things up with the added challenge?

What are Climbers?

Climbers are a more advanced version of the common Mountain Climber. They require a greater range of motion in the hip joint and are more dynamic by requiring you to bring your foot up to your hand while in the high plank position.

What muscles do Climbers target?

Climbers primarily work your abs, shoulders, arms, and even your legs. Although it can be referred to as a full-body exercise, this exercise targets your core and shoulders the most. By adding in some Climbers to your every cardio circuit, strength and/or HIIT session, it will get your heart pumping and your sweat on, whilst toning those important body parts!

Mountain Climbers are an extremely similar and often more popular version of the classic Climber exercise and can be seen as an easier version that will get your heart rate up.

How do I properly perform Climbers?

To do a Climber, start by getting into the high plank position with your hands below your shoulders and feet on the ground, bringing one foot up to be on the outside of the hand on the same side.

To complete one repetition, simultaneously switch the position of your feet so that the forward foot is now straight behind you, and the back foot is up next to your opposite hand.

Alternate legs and each side will count as one rep.

Climbers are great for targeting and strengthening the abdominal muscles, and the faster you drive your legs, the more this will become a cardio move. By slowing the movements down and controlling the repetitions you can focus more on strengthening your core, or mix it up and vary the speeds to really feel the burn.

Remember that you can always check the tutorial videos in the Freeletics app to see Climbers demonstrated at full speed, half-speed, and from multiple angles.

Additional things to keep in mind when training

Before completing this exercise, make sure that you have activated all the right muscles in your warmup. If you are less flexible this is even more important as you can easily strain a number of muscles.

Suggested Warmup exercises and stretches would include; Deep Squat Hold, Diving Pushup, Superman, and Forward Windmills, which can all be found on the Freeletics app.

Common Climbers mistakes to avoid

Common mistakes when doing Climbers include not engaging your core and putting too much weight on either your legs or your arms, in other words, having your bum too high in the air and mimicking the downward dog position.

Although this may feel easier, it won’t engage your core. Without engaging your core, the exercise is pretty much pointless to do, so make sure you’re drawing your navel in towards the spine, so your abdominal muscles will be getting a workout each time you alternate one knee forward.

Maintain the high plank position throughout to avoid this common mistake. You’ll want to strive for balance and having the weight evenly distributed between your upper and lower body.

In addition, don't sacrifice technique for speed or quantity. If you find your form is slipping, slow down. It is always better to complete fewer reps than continuing to perform pointless ones. Start off by doing 30s or aiming for 10-15 reps, and once you become more comfortable and competent, move up to 45s or 15-25 reps.

Another mistake people make is failing to touch their foot to the ground when driving the foot forward. If you find yourself doing this, you won’t get the full benefits from this exercise and could be risking injury.

Are you struggling to complete a Climber?

Try using these Climber variations from the Freeletics app in order to help you get there:

  • Mountain Climbers

Exercise overview by David Wiener, Training and Nutrition Specialist

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