Maintaining consistency is the key to achieving your workout goals. But working out while traveling or vacationing can be difficult, as you’re away from your normal exercise routine and workout equipment.
So what do you do?
That’s a problem I’ve been asked by many of my personal training clients over the years. Rather than telling them to start searching out the nearest gym, I prefer to offer them a more practical solution. So, I’ve devised a 20-minute full-body workout that can be done right in your hotel room or at camp without any equipment.
Below, I share the travel workouts that I’ve been giving to my personal training clients for over a decade.
You don’t need any equipment for this workout, but something like a suspension trainer is a great way to add an extra challenge and small enough to take on your travels. That said, a bodyweight workout will be just fine to stay healthy while on vacation.
What You’ll Need
This workout involves using your body weight as the resistance and gravity as the opposing force. You will also be making use of a chair, an internal door to hang from and a slick floor (probably the kitchen or bathroom area of your hotel room) that allows you to slide your heels.
If you’re camping or overlanding, you can improvise with a sturdy tree branch, a log, and a sheet of canvas.
You’ll also need a stopwatch for this workout. Before leaving home, I also recommend packing some workout gloves.
The workout will be performed in EMOM fashion. EMOM stands for every minute on the minute. Here’s how it works:
There are seven exercises to work the entire body. For every exercise, you will perform your reps for 45 seconds.
You then get exactly 15 seconds to rest before your next set.
You’ll be doing four sets of every exercise and your aim is to be able to achieve the same number of reps on the last set as you did on the first. Fatigue will make that difficult and you may not achieve it, but that will be your goal.
There are other calisthenics workouts you can do to build muscle as well.
Whether you’re on vacation or a business trip, the following travel workout will help you stay in shape, have more energy, and beat jet lag.
Exercise #1: Dive Bomber Push Ups
This alternative to traditional push ups is an excellent method to work your chest, triceps, and deltoids simultaneously.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend forward to place your hands on the floor, also shoulder-width apart. Raise your hips so that your body forms an inverted V.
- With a controlled movement, swoop your hips toward the floor while simultaneously raising your chest.
- Continue rising upward until you’re looking toward the ceiling and your back is arched.
- Swoop back down and move into the next rep.
Exercise #2: Hanging Scapular Pulls
For this exercise, it would pay to wear your workout gloves (remember to throw them in your travel bag before leaving home). This will protect your fingers as you hold onto the top of the door or tree branch.
- Face an open interior door and grab the top of it with your hands spread somewhat wider than shoulder width. Now hang from the door, crossing your feet over so the door is fully supporting you.
- Engage your lats as you squeeze your shoulder blades together and lift your traps and rhomboids. Do not bend your elbows. You should come up 6-8 inches.
- Lower and repeat.
Exercise #3: Pistol Squats
The pistol squat is a challenging bodyweight lower body movement. Because it is done on one leg, it doubles the intensity of a standard squat. As with any exercise that is done on one leg, it will tax your midline stability, balance, and coordination. Feel free to hold onto a support to maintain balance.
- Stand on your right leg with it centered underneath your center of gravity. Raise your arms straight in front of you at shoulder height, palms facing downward.
- Shift your weight backward, and extend your right leg straight out, flexing at your hip, knee, and ankle as you lower into a squat until the top of your right thigh is parallel with the floor.
- Drive your left foot into the floor, extending your leg and hips to return to the start position.
- Repeat on the opposite side. Continue alternating sides for the required length of time.
Exercise #4: Wall Sit
The wall sit provides an intense finishing movement for the quads after the challenge of the pistol squat. You’ll feel it burning through your quads but this is essentially a mental challenge!
- Stand against a wall with your feet hip-width apart.
- Descend into a parallel squat as if you were sitting in a chair. Place your hands against the wall and keep your entire back against the wall.
- Hold for 45-seconds.
Exercise #5: Slick Floor Bridge Curls
The slick floor bridge is a great way to target the hamstrings without any resistance. The key to success on this move is to resist the backward pull with your hamstrings.
There are many other bodyweight hamstring exercises you can do.
- Locate a spot in the room with a smooth floor and move there. This space might be made of wood or tiling. Remove your shoes, so that you have only socks on your feet. Now lie on the floor with your knees bent and arms at your sides.Lift your butt off the floor. Tense your glutes and hamstrings.
- Extend your legs by sliding your heels out.
- Slide your heels back to the bent knee position, resisting the movement with your hamstrings.
Exercise #6: Handstand Push-Up
The handstand push up is a challenging bodyweight shoulder pressing move that sees you pushing your body weight. By lowering your feet and taking your hands out further from the wall, you reduce the load.
- Put yourself in front of a wall and turn your back on it. Now get down on your hands and start climbing the wall with your feet. The difficulty of the workout increases as you raise your foot higher up the wall. Start from a height that places your body at roughly a 60-degree angle and then straighten up as the exercise gets easier.
- Lower your head to the floor while keeping your hands at shoulder width. Explode back to the starting position, pushing through the shoulders.
Exercise #7: Reverse Dip
This is a great tricep exercise but you can replace it with some other bodyweight tricep exercises if you prefer.
- Position yourself in front of a chair with your palms resting on the seat. Your body should be at roughly a 30-degree angle, and your hands should be spaced about six inches apart.
- Lower your butt to the ground by bending at the elbows. As you perform this exercise, keep your elbows tucked in and pay close attention to how your triceps tighten and extend.
Bonus: 4 Exercise Travel Core Workout
Here’s a four-exercise core-centric workout that I give to my frequent travel personal training clients. It takes just six minutes but will give you awesome ab and lower back stimulation. Do it right by your bed when you first get up …
8. Knees to Chest
- Lay on your back, legs straight, and your head raised off the ground. Place both hands beneath your butt.
- Bring your feet up about 8 inches from the floor, maintaining a slight bend in your knees.
- Bring both knees up to your chest while keeping your feet together. Hold for a two-second count
- Extend your legs back out straight, keeping your heels a few inches from the floor. Two counts.
- Do 15 reps.
9. Double Leg Lift
- Lie on your back with your legs together and arms down at your sides. Keep your head down on the floor.
- Lift your legs, pivoting from the hips, so that they form a 30-degree angle with the floor. Keep your toes pointed away from you.
- Keeping your back flat, pull your abdominals in again, and lift your legs back up.
- Do 15 reps.
- Lie on your back on the floor with your arms at your sides.
- Pivot from the hips to bring your legs up towards the ceiling while keeping them straight. In the top position, they should form a 90-degree angle to the floor.
- Bring the legs to the right and down. Do not allow your torso to twist. Your feet should lightly touch the floor in the extreme position.
- Bring the legs back to the starting position by reversing the motion.
- Repeat on the other side. That is one rep.
- Do 15 reps.
11. Hollow Hold to Superman
- Lie on your back with your legs and arms extended.
- Engage your core, pulling your navel toward your spine. Lift your legs off the floor, and elevate your shoulder blades, keeping your arms outstretched overhead. This is the hollow hold position.
- Using only your obliques, roll over so that you end up facing down, keeping your arms and legs elevated off the floor by engaging your lower back extensor muscles. This is the superman position.
- Using only your core, rotate back to the starting position. Repeat on the other side.
- Do 10 reps on each side.
A Note on Eating Healthy While Traveling
Knowing the best travel workouts can only get you so far. It can be easy to eat bad meals and processed foods while traveling. Remember to also maintain your healthy eating!
Check out these easy camping meals and these camping snacks for ideas of what to eat while on the road. Even if you’re on vacation and staying in hotels, having snacks on hand can help you avoid food cravings and poor eating decisions.
I hope this guide helps you to maintain your fitness goals while on the road. Whether you’re looking to lose weight and lower your body fat or do strength training on a specific muscle group, these travel workouts can help you keep your body moving.
Now, the travel workouts I’ve described here are pretty challenging. I’ve designed it to challenge people who are used to working out intensely in the gym.
But feel free to modify each travel workout to fit your level. You can do that by doing fewer sets on each exercise and/or adjusting the work/rest EMOM ratio.
Looking for some more workouts you can do on the road? Check out this beginner bodyweight workout.