With all the awesomeness that running offers – from weight loss and fitness benefits to mental benefits – it’s easy to get hooked on just running for your workouts. But changing your workout routine and adding cross training will help you hit higher levels of fitness, as well as add variety to your workouts and boost your metabolism with strength training.
Every week I’ll be doing a Runstreet Fitness Challenge to inspire you to add a new cross training exercise to your running workout routine. This idea was inspired by Runstreet runner John of Brooklyn, who works long hours and finds ways to incorporate strength training and cardio exercises into his office breaks. From push-ups to dips to walks on his lunch breaks, John’s motivation and creativity are inspiring. If John can finding ways to keep fit even during 60-hour work weeks, you can do it too. One day during our Runstreet Saturdays workout, John said he challenged himself to do 1,000 push-ups over a weekend. I was blown away by this idea. I’ve tried 100 push-ups challenges, but 1,000, wow! So we started doing informal push-up challenges. This week’s Runstreet Push-up Challenge is inspired by John’s push-up workout routine.
Here’s how the Runstreet Push-up Challenge works:
Throughout the week, beginning Monday and ending Sunday night, do push-ups whenever you can – on your work break, while watching TV, after a run, when you wake up in the morning. Keep a tally of your daily push-ups and try to reach the following goal by the end of the week:
Beginners: 50 push-ups
Intermediate: 300 push-ups
Advanced: 1,000 push-ups
To stay on track with the Runstreet Push-up Challenge, post your daily – and weekly – total push-ups totals below in the comments. Post photos of your Runstreet Push-Ups Challenge on the Runstreet Facebook page and you’ll automatically be entered to win a free one-on-one training consultation via Skype, in which I’ll help you clearly define your fitness goals and come up with a one-month training plan to get you on track to meet those goals.
If you’re already doing push-ups regularly or want to make your push-ups more challenging, try doing them on an incline, with your feet elevated, adding more resistance for your upper body muscles. Try putting your feet on a park bench, for instance. You can also do them on parallel bars, as shown by John below at Prospect Park in Brooklyn.
Benefits of Push-Ups
Push-ups offer many exercise benefits. Push-ups help strengthen your major upper body muscles, including your chest, arms and shoulders. Push-ups also strengthen your back and can help alleviate back pain, as well as work your abs and core muscles. By using your own body weight for resistance, push-ups are simple and highly effective strength training exercises that will increase your lean muscle mass, boosting your metabolism.
“One of the reasons the push-up has endured so long is it’s cheap, it’s easy, it doesn’t require any equipment, it can work multiple parts of the body at the same time — and pretty much everyone, from beginners to athletes, can derive benefits,” says personal trainer Jonathan Ross, a spokesman for the American Council on Exercise (ACE).
Fitness experts even call the push-up a “perfect exercise” because it offers so many strength and toning benefits just by using your own body weight, according to WebMD.
When doing your push-ups, make sure you use good form, keeping your back straight and lowering your chest toward the ground. The farther you lower yourself, the more intense your push-up workout will be. Think of your body as a straight line while you do your push-ups, and resist the urge to sway or move your hips up or down. Tighten your abs to keep your core straight and your ab muscles engaged.
Remember to post your results and photos on the Runstreet Facebook page to be entered to win a free Runstreet 1-on-1 fitness consultation and free one-month training plan! Happy push-uping, and keep up the killer workouts, John!