Simplify Your Workouts with Push-ups
By Tim Crytser 
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Doniphan, Nebraska is right down the road from the middle-of-nowhere.

Photo: Crytser

I have talked in the past about how much I love push-ups and their crossover benefits for MX. Recently, on a trip to the Midwest to visit some family, I found myself miles away from the  nearest gym and had the opportunity to bust out an old pushup routine of mine. They live in Nebraska, way WAY out in the middle of no-where, so I needed a routine that was simple and didn’t require the use of equipment or a lot of space. I belong to a gym back home, and don’t travel much for business, so I usually don’t have to invent workouts in hotel weight rooms (or a relative’s basement) or make stuff up on the fly. But, for this trip, I had no choice. An impromptu workout was just what the Doctor ordered, and to tell you the truth, I was excited to get back to a simple workout that involved some running, pushups and a little ab work. I am a big fan of jumping rope (and jump rope religiously at home), but for this trip I decided to give my shins and knees a rest and substitute running in place of jumping. Besides, I wanted to get outdoors and see some of the scenery. This would have been a perfect opportunity to use a workout that I had posted a while back (Jumping Rope to Improve Cardio Performance ), but I decided to put a new routine together for those of you that enjoy running.

My Mind Wanders…..
After the first day of running, I was drooling over all those Nebraska cornfields. Wow, what a resource the people in
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The dirt in Nebraska was made in Heaven.  Only thing better is a golf course

Photo: Crytser

Nebraska have to open up an MX track on every corner. I’m still not sure why they have all that corn planted; I guess it has something to do with feeding a nation or something. Those farmers just don’t know what they are missing using those fields to plant corn! Those fields were meant to be made into motocross tracks. I felt like I often do when I am out golfing; just dying for a chance to tear up that perfect soil with my 250F. That pristine grass and perfect soil, really gets my blood pumping. Even though I am a golf nut, I have always had a secret fantasy to turn the country club into my own personal MX playground. And to top it off, all the fields have these things called pivots in them to water the crops!  What else could an MX’er want? Remember those Yamaha ads that asked, "Do you see the world in YZ?" I finally get what those ads were about!

On to the Workout
Oh well, one can daydream, right? Now back to the business at hand. This is a very simple routine that can either be performed interval style or at a normal pace. It is also a great little workout that can be slipped in either pre-season or in-season.  I decided to take it easy a bit since I was on vacation and give the interval training a rest for the week. I also had some aching joints and muscles that I wanted to let heal a bit, so taking it easy for a lap or two was just what I needed. The routine I used took just about an hour to complete and went as follows.

 Monday, Wednesday, Friday
 Jog to warm-up  10 min
 Stretch  5 to 7 min
 Run – Style 1 (See below for explanation)  3 min rounds
 Push-ups (Alternate Style from List below)  1 min
 Repeat - Run and Push-ups  5 to 7 sets
 Abs (Crunches, Ab Ball, or Bicycle Maneuver)  3 Sets of 20
 Cool Down and Stretch  10 min

Style 1:
Running is performed by jogging for 3 minutes and then performing push-ups for 1 minute. Since doing push-ups by the side of the road is not recommended, take a timer with you so that you are back at your starting point at the end of the three minutes. You can also jump rope instead of running to achieve the same effect . Running should be performed at a pace that is just below a sprint. As a gauge, talking should be pretty tough. Pushups should be performed slow and controlled (2 counts down, pause for 1 and then explode up).  Perform 5 to 7 sets of running and push-ups.

 Tuesday, Thursday
 Jog to warm-up  10 min
 Stretch  5 to 7 min
 Run – Style 2  20-40 min
 Cool Down and Stretch  10 min

Style 2: Depending on your fitness level, run for 20 to 40 minutes at a comfortable pace. This can be performed interval style (alternate between sprinting and jogging), but for this week of training, I decided to use this as a recovery day, and jog at a constant pace. No push-ups on this day.

Let’s look in a little more detail at push-ups and the different positions used to complete the workout. In the following, you will find a bunch of different push-up positions that I used while on the road. Let’s look at each one in detail.

General Guidelines for ALL pushups
Back straight. You should be able to draw a straight line from your heels to the top of your head (i.e. do not let your butt stick up or droop to the floor)
The advanced position will be on your toes.
Modified position will be on your knees.
Your neck should be neutral keeping your eyes focused on an object 6 inches in front of you.
Never hold your breath. Inhale down, exhale up.
When doing these push-ups, use the following pace; 1 to 2 seconds down, pause for 1 second and then explode back to the start position.
Core muscles (abs) are tight throughout the entire exercise.

Regular Push Up

· This one is obvious. Here are the details.
· Hands on the floor, shoulders-width apart.
· On your toes for the advanced position, on your knees to modify.
· Do NOT touch the floor with your chest. Proper position is 2 to 3 inches off the floor.
· Squeeze shoulder blades together on the way down.

Hands Wide
· This is identical to the regular pushup, except your hands are to be placed much wider than shoulders-width.
· On your toes for the advanced position, on your knees to modify.
· Do NOT touch the floor with your chest. Proper position is 2 to 3 inches off the floor.
· Squeeze shoulder blades together on the way down.

Hands Close
· Place hands directly under your shoulders.
· Two hand positions can be used. Either place your knuckles on the floor or your palms. I prefer the knuckle position (much less wrist pain).
· The key to this exercise is keeping your elbows in at all times. Never let them fly out away from your sides.
· On your toes for the advanced position, on your knees to modify.
· Do NOT touch the floor with your chest. Proper position is 2 to 3 inches off the floor.

Hands Out in Front
· Place your hands as far out in front of you as possible (the further the harder).
· Feet are placed in a wide or narrow stance. The closer your feet the more difficult the exercise.
· This pushup can be very strenuous on the lower back and head if not performed properly. Yes, your head… not hold your breath.
· If you experience any back pain, skip this one.

One-Arm Pushup
· This is an extremely advanced push-up that should be modified if you are not able to complete properly.
·  Keep you body as parallel to the ground as possible (i.e. do not cheat by twisting your body).
·  Feet are placed in a wide stance for stability.
·  On your toes for the advanced position, on your knees to modify.

Dumbbell Lifts
· This push-up starts out in the same position as the regular push-up.
· Perform a push-up and once you return to the start position, lift one arm in a sweeping motion up towards the ceiling twisting the body.
· Return the arm to the floor, do another push-up and repeat the other side.
· Twisting the body at the top of the exercise engages the core muscles (abs).
· This push-up can be done with or without dumbbells.

Push-up on Ab Ball
· The use of an ab ball is a great way of adding a little difficulty to a regular push-up.
· Start out on your stomach and role the ball down your legs.
· If you are in great shape, you can role the ball all the way down to your feet. Otherwise stop just below your knees.
· Once in position, perform a regular push-up.

This workout is great whether you are on the road and can’t get to the gym or just want to change your workout up a bit.  Sometimes simple is better and you can't get much more simplistic than running, a few push-ups and some sit-ups.  

That's it for now. Until next time, good luck with your training and, as always, VT can be reached anytime at .  In addition, be sure and check out the Racer X Virtual Trainer archive section , your complete one-stop information zone for motocross fitness.

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