Hotel Room Workout
Generally when I travel I don’t worry about workouts since I usually just plan out my progression so that my vacation is my recovery week.
I make sure I’m always active during vacation, taking casual walks or just goofing around, but I generally only workout if I really feel like it.
HOWEVER, I do have a number of clients who travel often and therefore like to do workouts on the road so that they stay in a routine.
And since hotel gyms are so hit or miss, I think it is best to always provide workout options that can be done with only the little space you have in your hotel room.
Here are 10 moves to use in your Hotel Room Workout! (I recommend putting down a towel instead of cuddling with the ground…just saying….) I used all of these in a great full body workout while staying in Palm Springs last week.
1 and 2. Split Squats (Stability, Strength and Power) – There are three great ways to use the split squat in your hotel room workout. You can do a split squat hold, a split squat with reps on each side or a split squat jump. Sometimes I even combine two into one, like I’ll do a 20 second hold followed by 10 reps on the same side. To do a split squat, step one foot forward into a wide lunge stance. Bend your knees as if you are kneeling onto the ground. Hold with your back knee just barely off the ground or perform reps, moving up and down. Do not step your feet back together. Keep the wide stance until all reps are completed. To do the split squat jumps, start in a lunge position and then jump up and switch to a lunge on the other side. Beginners may want to start with alternating step back lunges instead of split squat jumps to lower the intensity and take out some of the impact.
3. Wall Sit – A very traditional bodyweight move, but also a super tough one. A great way to work your legs! You could even add some variety to this move by lifting one leg off the ground. Or if you wanted to add some weight, you could always hold your suitcase or something on your lap….I love to do this move followed by either bodyweight squats or even squat jumps. To do a wall sit, sink down so that your knees are bent to 90 degrees and your back is pressed solidly into the wall. Beginners may not want to sink as low or hold as long.
4. Squat Jumps – Another traditional cardio/leg move, but I love to pair it with a wall sit or even a bodyweight squat. The best way to turn your legs to jello without using any weight. While this move is a “squat” jump, you don’t want to squat too low when you prep for the jump. It really should be more of a combination hinge and squat then full on squat. If you squat to low, you will actually reduce the amount of power you can generate. Make sure that you are also driving up off your heels when you jump and not just staying on your toes. Also, focus on SOFT landings. Landing softly from toe to heel with knees bent is important to protect the knees. You shouldn’t ever land with your legs straight.
5. Planks (Side and Front) – I love using isometric moves in workouts especially when I don’t have a lot of space. Holding a plank is one of the best ways to work everything from your shoulders to your knees, especially if you really focus on keeping everything super tight. I like doing planks from my hands. You can do this move from your forearms and/or knees to make it easier. Feet should be together and you should squeeze your legs together. Your butt, quads and core should also be tight. Don’t let your shoulders get up by your ears. Retract your shoulder blades down and back. If you are contracting as hard as possible, you should be able to make yourself shake! Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute. You can also do a side plank from your hands (an easier version would be from your knees or your forearms or both). To make the side plank harder, raise the top leg. Do not let your chest rotate toward the ground with the side plank. Also make sure to really keep the bottom hip up off the ground. A great way to isolate each side and work the obliques. Plus the leg raise really helps you work your glutes! (Sometimes I even like to hold the plank position and then do push ups….)
6. Plank with reach thru – A great core and shoulder stabilization move. Set up at the top of a push up from either your knees or toes. Reach one hand under the other armpit as if you are reaching toward something on the opposite wall. Then rotate open toward the ceiling in a side plank. Make sure to keep your hip down and really reach underneath and through. You aren’t simply patting yourself on the back…You are REACHING.
7. Plank with reach back and out – A great hip hinge and core move (Also deceptively tough). This move can be modified in a couple of different ways. Beginners will do this from their knees and reach back between their legs and then out. Intermediate exercisers may do this from their toes with no reach out. And advanced lifters will do the reach back and out from their hands and toes. To do this move, set up on your hands and toes. Reach one hand back toward the opposite ankle. Your butt should go up in the air. Then reach back forward, tightening your core as you drop your hips a bit and extend out. From your knees and hands, you will sit back as if doing child’s pose and reach between your knees. Then moving into a modified push up position, reach out with the hand that just reached back.
8. YTWLs – I show this move on a little foot stool, but it can be done on a bed or even from the ground if your room doesn’t have a foot stool. YTWLs are a great way to work your upper back and even strengthen your rotator cuff muscles. There are four different arm positions with this move. I complete all reps of one motion before moving on to the next. Lay on the ground or over a stool. Keep your low back relaxed. You want to feel this in your upper back behind your shoulders and in between your shoulder blades. None of these are really big movements. To do a Y, your thumbs should be pointing toward the ceiling and your arms should be above your head in the shape of a Y with your body. Lift up, using the muscles in your upper back. To do a T, have your thumbs pointing up toward the ceiling. Your arms should make a T with your body. If you are doing this on the ground, you are really only going to lift an inch or two off the ground. Over a bench or stool, you may be able to relax further down. To do a W, bend your elbows to create a W with your body. Your thumbs should be pointing in toward you. Lift and lower. The final move, the L, will be done two different ways depending on where you do it. If you are lying on the ground, you will set up with your elbows bent to 90 degrees and your elbows in line with your shoulders. Palms facing the ground, try to rotate the backs of your hands toward your toes. Then relax. If you are doing this from a stool or bench, you will actually start with your arms handing toward the ground. You will then lift your arms, bending your elbows to 90 degrees. Finally, keeping the elbows bent, you will rotate the backs of your palms toward the ceiling. None of these moves involve a big range of motion. Do not rush through the movements. (Unfortunately because of the angle, which I didn’t notice at the time, you can’t fully see the angle of my elbows especially during the Ls. Sorry!)
9. Rocking Chair Abs – A great core sequencing move and kind of fun. Start kneeling on one knee, squeezing your glute to press your hips forward. Then roll onto your back and switch the leg crossed underneath so that when you roll back up you can come to a kneeling position on the other side. This is a great move to weight down as you become stronger. Also, use your arms for momentum only if needed. Less arm swing makes the move tougher.
10. Cobra – A great total back move. Place your arms down by your sides and lie face down on the ground. Lift your chest up off the ground and pinch your shoulder blades back and down. You should feel this move in your low and upper back. Then lower back down and repeat. Make sure to hold for a second or two at the top.
Do you like to workout when you travel? What is your favorite workout? Do you love isometrics too!?!
P.S. Bonus move! Pull ups off the balcony…Just kidding…although tempting!