Mountain climbers are one of the best bang-for-your-buck exercises out there, because they work on core strength, stability and full-body coordination as you earn your sprints intervals. But there's far more to mountain climbers than just going faster, and in this article we’re going to help you learn to frame this movement pattern better, so you can get even more out of your exercise.

The mountain climber is categorized under a movement pattern called cross-crawl locomotion, which also includes the sit-through, kick-through and four corners exercises. This movement pattern helps you synchronize the upper and lower body so they work in unison and with grace, builds athleticism, functional core strength and full-body agility.

Once you're able to do all four variations, they make HIIT even more fun, which we’ll get into later in the article. If you master these, you will also have the foundation and knowledge you need to crush all the other variations the internet might provide.

Tip #1: Focus first on hip stability, using the mountain climber

Fire up your core and butt to keep your hips locked in place, and then work to quickly tuck your knees up between your hands, making sure to keep your back flat. This blends deep core work with your high-intensity cardio, making it a super potent option—ideal if you're short on time.

Tip #2: Switch things up with the sit-through

Everyone who has done mountain climbers will tell you that once you get deeper into the workout, the shoulders tend to get really tired from stabilizing in that position. This can make it hard to keep your form sharp. The best way to address this during a workout is actually to switch to the sit-through, which allows you to spread out the shoulder load while keeping your pace high.

While it might look complicated, you'll find it's actually quite intuitive once you watch the video and try it. Now, you have two options for your cross-crawl locomotion sprints!

Tip #3: Kick things up a notch with the kick-through

Once you find your groove in the sit-through, you'll understand the benefits of feeling and going with the flow. It becomes fun, and you feel like you can actually achieve more within that 30 seconds of high-intensity cardio than before.

Once you're comfortable with the sit-through, take it up one more notch by switching up the angles and trajectory with the kick-through. Same deal—it'll only take you a few minutes to learn if you just take action and try it!

Tip #4: Challenge your coordination with the Four Corners

When you feel smooth and in groove with the three variations above, it might be time to challenge yourself with the Four Corners. Admittedly, this one will take a little bit longer to learn, but it's well worth the time investment, because in the long term, it allows us to challenge coordination as we push the cardiovascular system, which is one of the first things to go out the window when we're tired!

Think about this like when your tennis serve is spectacular when you’re fresh, but sloppy when you’re tired. We can train the body and the mind to become more resilient to this fatigue, but to do so we have to challenge ourselves in that particular way.


Give these a shot - you'll be surprised how quickly you can triple your cross-core locomotion repertoire! Once you get to that point, you’ll see that the biggest value is in the variety. It’s about mixing it up and having some fun with it, so you can keep your movements crisp and your output high!

Level UpHigh-Intensity Interval TrainingFunctional TrainingBodyweightLocomotion MCMountain Climbers
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