The bear crawl movement, also known as mountain climbers, is a full body workout that aims to engage your entire body. The name itself describes the exercise—coordination of every muscle in your body just like how a mountain climber climbs the steep slope of a mountain. This exercise increases heart rate, improves core stamina and stability, and burns calories.
To complete a bear crawl movement, get down on the floor with legs stretched, and then bring one leg under your chest, keeping your other leg straightened. Keep your hands on the floor while you alternate your legs by jumping, bringing your previously straightened leg under your chest while extending the former leg back.
This exercise builds strength in numerous muscles in your lower and upper body, including biceps, gluteus muscles, hamstrings, abdominal muscles and quadriceps. It also targets the heart—the higher the heart rate is, the more blood is pumped and the better blood circulation is within your body.
Carrying your body weight while you jump your legs alternately strengthens your biceps. Abdominal muscles are leaned and strength is built by engaging the core. Your hamstrings are going to have improved flexibility and your quadriceps will be toned because of the jumping motion. Lastly, the gluteus muscles in your backside will become more stabilized, preventing lower back pain.
A variation to the mountain climber exercise for beginners is to slowly move the knee under the chest, instead of jumping. Increase the pace gradually depending on what you can perform comfortably. Do as many repetitions as you can but avoid prolonging the exercise because it can cause neck strain if you hold the position for too long.
Beginners should start by performing the exercise for 30 seconds and gradually increase the time to 60 seconds. Once that feels comfortable, a total of 70 repetitions is feasible in about one minute.
Alicia Weber holds records for her performance of mountain climbing, achieving 540 repetitions in just five minutes.
The mountain climber/bear crawl movement has been integrated with the following exercises in order to attain a full body workout: the elbow strike, knee strike and side kick. Together with the mountain climber, these exercises target the abdomen, glutes, arms and legs.
The mountain climber exercise requires the full cooperation of your whole body, which means that you need to feel light without starving yourself. Take in energy-rich foods such as quinoa, rice cakes with nuts, a banana with peanut butter, whole grain cereals and fresh fruits. After your workout, eat protein-rich foods to repair the muscles that have been worn-out, such as boiled eggs, protein shakes, cottage cheese with berries and even chocolate milk.
One of the best-known hosts of BET’s music video countdown, Terrence Jenkins, has shared his own workout routines during his free time, and the mountain climber exercise is one of his favorites. He performs this exercise in 30 repetitions to get the physically fit body he has always wanted.
Weight loss and a small midsection can be achieved this exercise is done regularly. In addition, legs become toned. By performing the exercise at the correct angle, mountain climbers help to maintain proper posture.