Traveling could very well be the worst roadblock to developing consistent and healthy exercise routines. It is the antithesis of consistency. No routine. No gym. No results.
The wise traveler assumes the best, but plans for the worst — the same approach should be taken with an exercise routine. Assume the only workout equipment you’ll have access to is your own body. With that in mind, here are 5 bodyweight exercises that will work every muscle and make sure you can start right where you left off when you get back home.
1. Bulgarian Split Squat
This is one of the best glute exercises you can do in the gym, or on the road. The only difference is that on the road you have to be creative and use a chair instead of a bench, and maybe a couple of hotel bibles as dumbbells.
It’ll work the entirety of your legs, but I mention glutes specifically because you know you’re doing this exercise correctly if you feel it predominantly in the glute of the front leg. In order to ensure proper form, keep the front heel in contact with the ground throughout the motion, and don’t let your knee fly forward past your toes.
This classic exercise is both underutilized and oftentimes poorly executed. Most people don’t understand that the push-up is just as much of a core exercise as it is a workout for the chest and tricep.
You have to keep your spine straight, rather than collapsed, to perform a push-up correctly. If your pelvis hits the ground before your chest or nose, you’re doing it wrong and potentially inflicting some damage to the vertebrae of the lower back. Keep your core tight and make sure your body remains stiff as a board throughout the motion.
3. Sliding Mountain Climber
When you’re using a hotel room as a gym, you may as well be a little creative: Turn two small hand towels into workout equipment. If you thought the regular version of the mountain climber exercise was tough, wait until you try the sliding version of this beast of a core exercise.
Just like the push-up, make sure to keep your core tight and spine in alignment. The movement should only be occurring at the legs. This makes the exercise both more challenging and safer.
4. Sliding Plank
This additional sliding core exercise follows the same principles as the Mountain Climber above, but requires you to move the arms instead of the legs. The change is enough to challenge the core and upper body in a much different way, making for a complete core training regimen utilizing just two exercises. (Again, make use of two hand towels in place of sliders.)
There’s a reason burpees are universally hated by nearly every workout enthusiast: This ruthless exercise brings the perfect combination of power, strength, flexibility, and cardio training. Leave it for the end of this 5-exercise travel workout. Just remember to keep the trashcan near in case you vomit.
Combine these 5 exercises for one quick and effective workout. All you need is 15-20 minutes, depending on your fitness level, to do 10 repetitions of each, in a circuit, and repeat the circuit as many times as you can in the amount of time allotted. (Note: For the exercises that work a single side of the body, remember to get 10 reps on both sides.)
This is commonly called a “Density Circuit” in the fitness industry, since you will be doing a high volume of work in a relatively short amount of time, making it perfect for travel. Can you get through it 5 times in 15 minutes? Good luck!
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Luke Sniewski is one of the emerging leaders in the Sustainability Movement, since optimal personal health ultimately stems from optimal environmental health. A former Pro-Football player and CPA, this suit-and-tie left cubicle world to change the world one person and idea at a time. He is a micro-greens gardener, which puts his Masters in Sustainable Food Systems and professional culinary expertise to practical use. His motto “Healthy Living. Smart Business. Endless Fun.” has provided a personal mission statement that guides his coaching, training, speaking, writing, and living. Follow him on Twitter. (@LukeSniewski)
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