I've been doing mountain climbers for years, but this morning, in my 5:45 a.m. CrossFit class, I realized I've been doing them wrong. Well, not wrong, but not maximizing my time to really work my core, which is one reason I do mountain climbers — to strengthen my abs.
While demonstrating mountain climbers for the workout we were about to do, Champlain Valley CrossFit Coach Laura Matuszak said not to pop your hips up when you switch your legs. Instead, you need to focus on keeping your pelvis in line with your shoulders. Keep your core tight, and use your abdominals to draw each knee forward as close to the chest as possible.
I realized why I was popping my hips up above my head — it makes mountain climbers fun, but it also makes them easier! During this workout, when I focused on doing all five sets of 20 mountain climbers with my hips low, my belly button pulled in to my spine, and using my abs to pull my knee in to my chest with each step, by the end, my core was burning! So if you want to strengthen your core with mountain climbers, whether doing them on the floor, or when using a TRX, use correct form to maximize your time and your results.