Advanced: Define Your Abs with Mountain Climbers Stretch

Reach new heights with Mountain Climbers, an effective cardio warm-up for skilled yogis that gets your heart pumping while actively targeting nearly every muscle in your body (abs, this means you!).

by Asana Rebel

1 Benefits

Building beautiful strength in your shoulders, arms, chest and back, this fast “climbing” repetition lets your abs do all the work, teaching your body to increase its core strength and overall stability.

2 Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Start in a High Plank Pose (your arms straight and your body in a straight line from your head to your ankles).
  2. Without changing your lower back posture, now bring your right knee to your chest.
  3. Quickly switch, bringing your left knee into your chest. When you do this, push your right leg back.
  4. Repeat this “climbing” motion a total of 20 times.
  5. Relax for a moment into a High Plank Pose.
  6. Now stretch your legs back, with the tops of your feet on your mat, into an Upward Facing Dog.
  7. Inhaling, press your palms firmly into your mat and slightly back, as if you were trying to push yourself forward along the floor.
  8. On the exhale, straighten your arms and simultaneously lift your torso up with your legs a few inches off the floor.
  9. Lifting through the top of your sternum, keep your front ribs relaxed and tip your head back slightly, holding this Upward Facing Dog for a moment.
  10. Then, pull your hips back to Downward Facing Dog and take a few breaths here, before repeating this entire set another 2-3 times.

3 Focus Areas

  • Strengthens your upper body (deltoids, biceps and triceps)
  • Targets your core, quads, hamstrings and hips
  • Lifts and opens your chest
  • Lengthens your spine, torso and arms

4 Mountain Climbers and Stretch - Tips

Although an Upward Facing Dog can provide a beautiful stretch to your entire spine and front torso, do not try to force your body into this pose, which may result in a painful, pinching sensation. As an easier alternative, assume a Cobra Pose. Do this by rolling your shoulders back and keeping your elbows close to your body with your legs and feet extended.

5 Alignment

For the most effective results as you advance in your yoga practice, keep your abs pulled in and your body straight, squeezing your glutes and pulling your shoulders away from your ears.