Summer Conditioning: Push ups and Superman

Summer is almost here and outdoor climbs are becoming more accessible (and less wet). Here are some great at-home, strength training conditioners to get you in shape during the week to make the most of your weekend warrior sessions.
Mercedes Pollmeier Mercedes Pollmeier
Fitness Director at Vertical World Seattl
May 23, 2017
Summer Conditioning: Push ups and Superman
By Mercedes Pollmeier, MS, CSCS

You put in some time to train during the winter and spring to get ready for this amazing season that we have each year: summer. But what happens when it finally arrives? Do you continue to train? Ideally, yes. 

The kind of training I’m talking about is strength training. You can strength train year round, while undulating the intensity of your other sport-specific workouts. Strength training shouldn’t be the focus of your overall training, but should be peppered into your schedule, to keep your nerves firing when you want them to. 

Strength training done right results in increased neural connections to muscles, helping muscles to fire appropriately, when you want them to. But this only works if you strength train with good intention, and form. The outcome, you become even stronger, more powerful, and have overall better movement. 

Outdoor athletes spend most of their time doing the activity of their choice, and find it difficult to make time for themselves to strength train. So I thought I would share some quick exercises that are simple, fun, and that can be done at home or at the park. 

A-Frame Push up


Start in a plank on your hands. Walk your feet in towards your hands until your hamstrings get tight. Ideally, you want to keep your heels up and bend your knees slightly so that your hips are over your shoulders. If this is challenging, no matter, keep your legs at a comfortable spacing from your hands. You can stop there, and do this A-Frame hold. If you are feeling confident, you can try the push up. Keeping your fingers spread out, abs really tight, and squeezing every other muscle in your body, start lowering your head down. You want to drive your elbows toward your legs (not jutting away from your body — no chicken wings!), and keep your head in line with your fingertips. Go as far down as you like and then push back up. Hold tension! This is where the most strength gains come from!

Works primarily the triceps, upper pectorals, lats, and then everything else including your core if you squeeze hard!

Superman to Hollow Body


Start on your belly. Arms forward and elbows locked out. When you are ready, you will bring your arms and legs off the ground. Don’t arch your back too much, just enough to lift your chest up and thighs up. Squeeze your glutes! Keep holding. While you are maintaining tension, roll onto your back, into the hollow body position, which is essentially the opposite of superman, back on the ground, arms overhead, elbows locked out, and shoulders and legs off the ground. Hold for a few seconds. Then roll back onto your belly into superman. Make sure to change the direction you roll. Hold as much tension as you can!

Works rotational strength, obliques, abs, back, everything!

Programming: Do each exercise for 1-2 minutes to start. This will give you time to adjust your position if you need, to feel your tension and learn the movement. Giving yourself a time limit will ensure more intention in the movement, and you can have fun with it. Don’t get stuck in reps and sets. If you do all three exercises, it will only take you 3-6 minutes. Boom! Strength training done! But, you are always welcome to try them again, and for longer time.

Mercedes Pollmeier is the Fitness Director at Vertical World Seattle. She is also a strength and conditioning coach, and owns her own online training business, Beta Athletics. you can check out more articles on and see her training offerings at

This article originally appeared in our issue of May/June 2015 Mountaineer magazine. To view the original article in magazine form and read more stories from our publication, click here.



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