Travel presents challenges to training.
Whether it’s early-morning flights, late arrivals, modest hotel gyms, irregular eating, or, in the case of vacation travel, a disruption from routine, it’s enough to make even the most dedicated gym rat blow off training until returning home.
It doesn’t have to be that way. Travel offers the opportunity to explore new gyms and fitness studios, try new outdoor activities, and even take one’s training up a notch. For some folks, a vacation isn’t a vacation unless it involves pushing the limits of training and crossing off bucket-list feats of strength and endurance.
Any travel, including routine business trips, should involve some training since studies have suggested that frequent travel can be damaging to health and well-being.
Here are eight moves that can be done on the road in the absence of equipment and even being pressed for time. If your day gets away from you in a blur of meetings or sightseeing, it can be done in just a few minutes in a hotel room.
What it does: Traveling by plane and car is brutal on the glutes. This move activates the glutes at the start of your session.
How to do it: Lie faceup on the floor with knees bent 90 degrees and feet on the floor. Squeeze your glutes and bridge your hips to the ceiling. Only your shoulders and hips remain on the ground. Hold for two seconds and then lower your hips toward the ground without touching.
How many? 10 reps.
What it does: This move is a combination of two familiar yoga poses: cow and child’s pose and provides a great stretch for the quads and hips.
How: Get down on all fours and let the lower back sag. Push your hips back as far as you can, holding the lumbar arch. You should feel a stretch in and around the hips. Return to the starting position and repeat.
Prescription: 2 sets of 10 reps with 30 seconds rest between sets.
What it does: By doing three sets of 10 pushups in three different positions consecutively, we’re challenging our chest and shoulders from three angles.
How to do it: Do 10 traditional pushups (hands directly below the shoulders) followed by 10 “diamond” pushups (index fingers and triceps touching), followed by 10 wide-grip pushups (hands wider than the shoulders)
How many? 10 reps of each.
Straight Leg Lowering
What it does: This hamstring stretch also challenges the muscles of the chest and torso.
How to do it: Lie flat on your back with arms at your sides and legs straight up above your hips. Keeping one leg straight, slowly lower the other to just above the floor. Return to starting position and repeat. The key is to keep toes pointed toward your shins and back flat on the floor.
How many? 10 reps per side.
What it does: It challenges your overall core stability by combining two effective moves in one.
How to do it: Begin in a forearm plank position. Push from your triceps, placing your right hand on the ground and then your left hand, gradually rising to pushup position. Return to forearm plank by placing your right forearm down and then your left.
How many? 10 reps.
What it does: Even without weights, this resets your posture and opens up the hips, which is especially important while traveling.
How to do it: Start in the position with feet shoulder-width apart. Keep your back straight and your body in alignment from ankle to ear. Bend the knees, keeping them over the ankles but not over the toes, and lower your butt as if sitting in a chair. Sit your hips back and down until the thighs are parallel to the board. Slowly rise, returning to the start position. Bend at the hips, keeping the back straight.
How many? Two sets of 10 reps.
What it does: This tests your hip mobility and core strength.
How to do it: This movement mimics mountain climbing. Think of the ground as your mountain. Start in pushup position, with the balls of your feet on the ground. Alternate driving your knees forward to their corresponding arms for 30 seconds. Keep your hips down for the entire motion.
How many? 2 sets of 30 seconds with 30 seconds rest in between.
What it does: It tests your quads and can be done anywhere on the road. It’s a perfect hotel room exercise.
How: Stand a foot in front of a wall and sit down, back flat, as if you were sitting in an invisible chair.
Prescription: 2 sets of 30 seconds with 30 seconds rest between sets.
Pete Williams is a NASM-CPT and the author or co-author of several fitness books, including Core Performance and Every Day is Game Day. His work has appeared in publications such as Men’s Health, Men’s Journal, and USA Today.