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A Workout for Traveling

by Daniel on August 26th, 2011

So there you are, in your hotel room at the end of a busy day. You would really like to work out, but this hotel doesn’t have a gym and it’s too dark to go running. You forgot to bring your resistance bands or those fold-up weights you fill with water. All is not lost. Here’s a body weight circuit you can do just about anywhere.

You can start with a few minutes of jumping jacks or marching in place to warm up, then finish with some stretching. Do each exercise for 12 repetitions or until you feel sufficient muscle fatigue and that you are losing your strict technique. Go directly to the next exercise. Note we alternate upper and lower body exercises so you will not be using the same muscle groups on successive exercises.

Ready to go? Put on those shorts you just bought at the thrift shop (because you forgot yours) and warm up. Then do your exercises in this order:

One-leg squat
Hamstring bridge
Reverse fly
Calf raise
Military press

For the one-leg squat, balance yourself by putting your hand on a sturdy chair or dresser or you can just slide your hand up and down the wall (the hand on the same side as the leg you are working). Sit back bending at the hips before the knees, stay as upright as possible, keep your knees over but not beyond your toes, and lower yourself to the point where your thigh is parallel to the ground, or until you start to wobble or round your back. Do all reps on one side before switching to the other leg. If this is too hard, do your squats with both legs at once and arms crossed in front of you. Don’t be surprised if you don’t get to 12 reps.

Do whatever you want in the way of pushups. If pushups are hard for you, do them from your knees; if they are easy, do 20 slow reps or elevate your feet on a chair.

The hamstring bridge is done lying on your back on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Contract your hamstrings and glutes and lift your body so it forms a straight line from knees to shoulders, with only your feet, shoulders and head on the floor. Do this one leg at a time if you can, or with both together if one leg is too hard.

Do a slow-motion reverse fly for your back. Sit down and lean forward until your chest rests on your thighs. Bring your arms up to the sides with your hands at shoulder level and arms almost straight and then pull your shoulder blades together at the top of the movement. As an alternative, you can do pull-ups if you can find something to use as a bar that will support your weight. If you haven’t unpacked your suitcase, you can use it for one-arm rows.

For standing calf raises, just come up on your toes with your knees straight, both legs together or one at a time. If you can put the ball of your foot on a step or small board and let your heel sink a little, you can make it harder.

Work your shoulders with military presses against a wall. Stand facing the wall and bend over from the waist, positioning yourself with your hands flat on the wall and your head almost touching it. Push yourself back from that position, moving your feet back to make it harder. Keep your knees bent a little.

Do whatever kind of crunches or abdominal exercises you like to do. You can go to 20 reps if you want, but not more.

Do these exercises at about five seconds per repetition. If you want to make them harder, go slower. Keep up a good rhythm but do not speed up. After you finish the circuit, rest long enough to catch your breath and repeat. Keep this up for 20 or 30 minutes, and you won’t feel guilty that you’ve missed a workout!

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