Commitment…. Hard work….. Perseverance….. They are all important considerations in a successful workout regimen. But there’s another factor, without which none of the others matter . . . Consistency! Without it, your progress will be haphazard with frequent plateaus and backward steps. But how can you maintain a regular workout schedule when you are a frequent traveler? In this article, I’ll provide you with 10 exercises that you can do with no equipment (except for a stopwatch) no matter where you happen to be.
Stop Searching for A Gym While on Holiday
Contrary to what many people would have you believe, you do not need a gym full of chrome and cardio machines to build a fit body. When you’re at home and into your regular routine, a gym certainly has its place. But when you’re away from home, you don’t need to frantically search for the nearest gym.
Your body and gravity will provide you with everything you need to work every muscle group on your frame. Not only will you get a great pump but you will be providing your muscles with the variation and unique tension that they need for renewed growth.
Travel Exercise #1:Dive Bomber Push-Ups
This variation on the standard push-up is a great way to target your chest, triceps, and deltoids at different points as you perform the movement.
- Begin in a standard push-up position but with your hands just below the level of your shoulders and your palms flat on the floor.
- Lift up to the top starting position and imagine that you have to crawl under a wire fence. Arch your body as you descend to the floor to go under the fence and then arch back up on the other side. Forcefully contract your triceps in the top position.
- Now reverse the motion to bring your body back to the starting position.
To make this bodyweight exercise more challenging, you can do it in a one-and-a-half rep fashion. Perform the arch through and then just come back halfway to the point that your head would be under the fence. Now push back up again to full extension. Finally, return all the way back to the start position.
Do 15 reps of this exercise.
Travel Exercise #2: Hanging Scapular Pulls
For this next exercise, go over to an open internal door and grab it by gripping your fingers over the top a little wider than shoulder-width.
- Hang from the door, facing into it. Cross your feet over so that you are entirely supported by the door.
- Now pull your torso upward without straightening your arms. The actual movement that you achieve will only be a few inches, which is just what you want. The pull should come from the muscles of your mid-back (the trapezius and rhomboids) rather than from your arms. Lower and repeat.
Do 15 reps of this exercise.
You can also find compact equipment that is easy to travel with such as the X3 Bar.
Travel Exercise #3: Pistol Squats
The pistol squat allows you to overload your quads by performing a single-leg squat. This move does require quite a bit of balance so you should begin by holding onto an upright support on the side that your leg is raised.
- Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and feet slightly arched outwards.
- Grab onto your upright support and lift the leg on that side out to a 45-degree angle.
- Now descend down into a squat position so that your squatting thigh is parallel to the ground. Push through the heel to return to the start position.
Do 15 reps on each leg.
Travel Exercise #4: Wall Sit
- Immediately following your pistol squats, make your way to the wall and stand against it with your feet about two feet in front of you.
- Go down into a sitting position as if you were in a chair.
- Place your hands on the wall alongside you and hold this position for 60 seconds.
Travel Exercise #5: Slick Floor Bridge Curls
- Move to an area of the room where there is a slick floor covering. This could be a tiled or wooden area.
- Kick off your shoes so that you just have socks on your feet. Now lie on your back on the floor and place your hands at your sides.
- Bend your knees and push your butt high into the air to assume the starting position.
- Now simply slide your feet out to full extension and then back to the start position to perform one rep. Be sure to squeeze your glutes and push up as you move your feet in and out.
Perform 15 reps on this exercise.
Travel Exercise #6: Handstand Push Up
- Position yourself in front of a wall, facing away from it.
- Drop down on your hands and start walking your feet up the wall. The higher up the wall you take your feet, the harder the exercise will be. I suggest starting with a height that puts your body at about a 60-degree angle.
- Now, with your hands set at a shoulder-width distance, lower your chin to the floor. Push throughout the shoulders to explode back to the start position.
Your goal is to get to 15 reps on this exercise. If you have to break this up into smaller sets, that’s ok but you must hit 15 reps before going on.
Travel Exercise #7: Reverse Dip
This exercise primarily works the triceps muscles, with secondary activation of the front deltoids. To keep the emphasis on the triceps, keep your elbows in at your sides rather than allowing them to flare out. The closer your hands are together, the more difficult the exercise becomes.
- Stand in front of a sturdy chair or bench. Place your hands behind you on the edge of the bench so that your palms are resting on it. Your hands should be a little closer than shoulder-width apart.
- Now extend your body out so that it forms a 30-degree angle to the floor, with your legs fully extended.
- Next, straighten your arms in the start position. Lower your body to the floor by bending at the elbow until the triceps are fully contracted.
- Push through the triceps to return to the start position. Do not allow your elbows to flare out throughout the movement.
Take your travel workout to the next level with a suspension trainer. You can perform regular dips with these as well as all kinds of other exercises such as rows (your back muscles are often hard to train on the road!)
Travel Exercise #8: Burpees
The burpee is a combination of a push-up and a squat jump. It will work every muscle in your body while also burning a ton of calories.
- Stand with your arms by your sides, back in a neutral position and your knees slightly bent.
- Drop down to bring your palms to the floor, just inside your knees. At the same time, kick your legs back to full extension. You will now be resting on your palms and toes in s standard push-up position.
- Perform a single push-up, going down until your nose is about an inch from the floor.
- Jump your feet back to your hands and follow through jumping into the air to return to the start position.
Do 10 fast, fluid reps on this exercise.
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Travel Exercise #9: Mountain Climbers
The mountain climber is a core-centric exercise that works the rectus abdominis muscles. To fully activate the abs, keep your belly button pulled in, your hips down and your core tight. The pulling in action of your legs will also directly stimulate the glutes.
- Assume the top of a push-up position. Place one foot as close to your hands as possible, the other foot reaching as far behind as possible.
- With a quick hopping motion, keeping palms on the floor, switch foot positions.
Perform 15 reps on this exercise.
Travel Exercise #10: On the Go Cardio
The fact that you’re away from home doesn’t mean that you have to forego your all-important cardio workout. You may not have access to a treadmill or exercise bike, but you have your body and it shouldn’t be hard to locate an open field.
- Lace up your trainers and grab your watch (for the stopwatch feature) then head down to an open space that gives you 50 yards of running space. Jog up and down for 5 minutes, doing some high knees and butt kicks as you go.
- Now, set your watch to beep at 20-second and then 10-second intervals.
- Begin with an all-out sprint for 20 seconds, pumping your arms and pushing as hard as you possibly can (imagine that you are being chased by a very hungry dog!). Once your watch beeps 20-seconds, stop, recover and walk for exactly 10 seconds.
- As soon as 10 seconds are up, begin your second 20-second sprint. Your goal here is to push as hard as you did the first time around.
Repeat this 20 on / 10 off pattern for a total of 8 rounds.
This is more like a conditioning workout rather than cardio. Learn the difference about the two here.
That sounds like a lot of work but, in reality, the workout will take exactly 4 minutes, excluding the warm-up. Finish with a two-minute warm-down jog, again throwing in some butt kicks and high knees.
Your Travel Workout Action Plan
You now have an arsenal of ten fantastic on-the-go travel exercises. Put them together as a circuit travel workout where you do the exercises one after the other. Complete three circuits for an intense, interesting, and super productive workout.
It’s also important to try to stay active where possible. Walking to more places is a great way to burn extra calories and it saves money on public transport.
Check out these travel walking shoes to make sure you’re kitted out for it!
Once you give this workout a try you may like it so much that it becomes your non-travel workout as well as your on-the-go routine.