A key building block to fast, efficient swimming is core strength. While there are seemingly hundreds of core exercises that can help you get stronger, today we’re sharing one of our favorites: Mountain climbers! 

Mountain climbers are a great, functional core movement for swimmers to add to their dryland training arsenal. This exercise is a progression of the traditional plank, adding in alternating knee drives to help you continue building core stability. 

Technique Check: Mountain Climbers

  • Palms Flat: Press through your entire hand to help fire up your arms!
  • Shoulders Over Wrists: Maintain this alignment throughout your set. It’s common to see the shoulders shift back as you get tired. Don’t let that happen!
  • Core Engaged: Mountain Climbers are essentially a plank with knee drives. Keep your abs and glutes engaged!
  • Hips Level with Shoulders: Start your mountain climbers with your hips in proper alignment, and keep them there as you start to move your legs.
  • Drive Knees to Chest: Lift your knee as close as you can to your chest. Go as quickly as you can while maintaining proper form.

Try 2-5 rounds of 10-20 repetitions, or opt for 2-5 30-second intervals. 


Mountain climbers can be challenging! Here’s how to make this exercise work for you:

Max dryland
  • Slow it Down: Focus on slowly driving your knees to your chest to scale down this movement while still firing up your core!
  • Elevate Your Hands: If being in a plank on the ground is too much for you, try placing your hands on a chair, a table or even a wall to reduce pressure. As you get stronger, you can move your hands closer to the floor.

For more dryland training tips and guidance, download the MySwimPro app! Our library of more than 170 technique videos includes stretches to help you improve mobility and encourage proper form while you’re in the pool.

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