It’s no secret that building a strong and solid core is fundamental to building your overall fitness. Effectively improving performance while lifting, running, and for most sports. And with so many people looking for effective ways to hit this important muscle group. We’ll be comparing two of the most popular core workouts, Mountain Climbers vs Plank. You will see both programmed at gyms and recommended by trainers around the globe. And for good reason. But which one is right for you? Let’s find out.
Mountain Climbers vs Plank
What they have in common:
- Primarily target the core. These muscles include the rectus abdominis, obliques, and transverse abdominis.
- They both also target the glutes and lower legs, although they are very different ways. As we will cover below.
- These movements are primarily done as body weight movements. Although you will see people doing weighted planks and mountain climbers in weighted vests to increase the difficulty.
Mountain climbers and planks have a lot in common. Primarily that they both target the core muscles. Including the rectus abdominis, obliques, and transverse abdominis. With a secondary focus on the legs and glutes, Although they target both the core, glutes, and legs in very different ways.
Several advantages both these movements share are that they are bodyweight movements. And can be done with a limited amount of space and without any extra equipment. But a quality ab mat will make both movements more comfortable. These workouts are also great additions to add to your travel fitness routine. Since they can be done in a hotel room, on the beach, or anywhere you have a flat surface.
Why they are different:
- Mountain climbers are a dynamic movement. Meaning it is an explosive movement and uses the whole body.
- The plank is an isometric movement. Meaning it is a steady controlled movement, contracting the muscles without any movement in the surrounding joints.
- While mountain climbers are a dynamic movement, they also place an isometric tension on and strengthen the triceps and shoulders. Which holds you steady while performing the movement.
- Planks, performed while on your elbows place an isometric tension on the serratus anterior. Which is the muscle that runs from around your back under your arms.
- The Plank also places isometric tension on the glutes, quads and calves. And is a great minor leg accessory hold.
- Mountain climbers are a unilateral movement. Primarily targeting one side of the body at a time during the movement.
- Mountain climbers target your quads, hip flexors, hamstrings, and calves when firing up to perform the movement. These muscles are targeted dynamically and unilaterally.
- The plank is a better movement for beginners. They require less mobility and placing less impact / stress on the joints.
Mountain climbers will improve overall conditioning and are considered a strength / cardio workout. And a great addition to a HIIT or Tabata workout.
Conclusion – Mountain Climbers vs Plank
If you are looking for a burning core workout, then these are two bodyweight options for almost all fitness levels. Giving you an ability to switch between a dynamic and isometric movement. Both modalities have different uses and may be right for different people. For others, using them in combination can be the key to unlocking some serious core strength.
For most fitness levels, mid-beginner and up. Mountain climbers are going to give you a better full body workout. They will drive up the heart rate and are a great way to finish a day with a HIIT or tabata set. Helping build muscles and shred fat. The doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be doing planks. Mix planks on recovery days and as a finsiher after your runs is will help build a ton of core stability without stressing the body. If you’re a beginner or are coming back from an injury. The going with the isometric hold of the plank will be the safest place to start. Avoiding any dynamic impact that could cause or aggravate an injury.