During any given workout, there are three moves that are pretty much guaranteed to make the entire class groan: mountain climbers, burpees, and high-knees. Trainers love ’em because they’re full-body cardio and core blasters, and the rest of us hate ’em because they’re, well, hard. One way to make them slightly more bearable (but just as effective)? By combining them into a single exercise.
Instead of spending an entire 30-second HIIT interval doing mountain climbers, followed by an interval of burpees, and another of high knees, Obé fitness trainer Dorian Cervantes, CPT, suggests taking bringing bite-sized versions of each together into a compound exercise. Start with four mountain climbers, then jump up to stand (the way you would with a burpee), and finish things off with four high-knees before dropping back down for your next set of mountain climbers.
“Adding more moves into one compound movement is more challenging because you’re changing the range of motion and your brain has to think a little bit more,” says Cervantes. “You’re adding in the challenge of going from one position to another, and your brain has to work a little harder to help you make the transition between getting up and down from the floor, and the series will also help to increase your heart rate.”
Mountain climbers, burpees, and high knees are all known to be the best core and cardio workout moves, and doing them together gives you a big-time blast of both types of work. Plus, since you’re only staying in each portion of the move for a few seconds at a time, your form won’t start to suffer the way it tends to after a full interval of a given exercise. “With high knees for example, it’s such an elevated exercise and it’s so hard to get your knees up to your chest for a long period of time and it’s a core exercise so you’re completely burning your body out,” says Cerventes. “And with mountain climbers, it’s so much work for your chest and your shoulders.” By mixing up the moves, you’re able to get multiple perfect reps in so that you’re truly able to reap the full benefits of each.
To do the series properly, you’ll want to pay close attention to your form in each portion. During your mountain climbers, keep your core engaged and butt down, and drive your knees straight toward your chest. When you jump up, bring your feet directly to your hands, and then continue to keep your core engaged as you draw your knees to your chest (as quickly as possible) during your high knees. Try to cycle through three 30-second intervals of the move, and you can check off your core and cardio workouts for the day.
Need a some extra help with form? Check out the videos below.
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