As someone who travels often for work, I try to come up with creative ways to stay fit while away. Whether it is running in a town that I have never been to, or just doing a hotel room workout, exercising while on travel certainly has many benefits. For instance, I am able to concentrate better during long meetings. Working out also helps me adjust to a different time zone and the new daily patterns that traveling demands.
Before we go further, however, I have to say the obligatory health-related disclaimers. Please see your doctor before starting any exercise or strength training program. I am not a personal trainer or health care provider. The exercises described below and the elegant stick figure drawings accompanying them are written for the sole purpose of this blog. They are described as I perform them. If you feel any twinge, pain, or discomfort in your lower back or any other random part of your body, please stop the exercise and move on to something else.
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Now that we covered that, let’s move on to some exercises you can do when you don’t have the time to go to the hotel gym, or if there is no gym. Using the items in your room, and that you already have, these exercises will help change up the standard squat, push-up, lunge sets of a typical workout plan.
This tried and true elementary school exercise is a great way to warm up and get the heart pumping without leaving the room. It also can be a part of a High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workout. Start with your arms at your side and your feet together. Swing your arms above your head while spreading your legs shoulder-width apart. Jump back to the starting position.
Push-ups are a great basic exercise that you can do anywhere at anytime. Uneven push-ups provide an extra challenge for your core and upper body. The first thing to do is grab the one item that is standard in every hotel room, the Bible, and place it on the floor. Place one hand on the Bible, the other on the floor a little wider than shoulder width, and get into a push-up position. Perform a set of push-ups, slide the Bible to the other hand and repeat.
Place enough clothes or heavy items (hair dryer, water bottles, that bathrobe in the closet no one wears, shoes, etc.) into your carry-on until it is at a weight that you feel comfortable holding over your head. Hold the suitcase over your head, with your arms slightly bent. Standing with your feet hip-width apart, engage your core, lower the suitcase, behind your head, then press it back up to the starting position. This exercise assumes you have a 20-inch carry-on-size suitcase, but this can be done with any size, just be sure to modify the weight appropriately.
Use the weighted suitcase from the presses. Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding the suitcase about chest height. Engage your core, push your hips back, squat down and push back up, driving through your heels, to the starting position.
Hold the weighted suitcase in one hand at your side off the ground. You may need to lighten the suitcase of you have just done the presses and squats. Slide the suitcase down your side while bending at the hip as well as keeping your shoulders back and down (don’t scrunch them as your bend). Bend as far as you feel comfortable and without scrunching the shoulder not holding the suitcase, about a 20-degree angle. Straighten up to the starting position by using your core, not the arms or shoulders to lift the suitcase. Switch hands and repeat. You should feel the tension on the opposite side of the suitcase.
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Place your feet on one bed and your hands on the other. If your room doesn’t have two beds, use the bed and a chair. Place your hands on the edge of a chair about 3 feet from the bed. Create a straight line across whichever setup you have with your body.
Your upper body will be elevated and your arms will be extended down, slightly bent. Your hands beneath your shoulders. Keeping your legs straight and your core engaged, lower your upper body down by bending your arms. Push yourself back up by straightening your arms. Your arms and back should be doing the work, not your hips. Try to keep your lower body stable while returning to the start position.
For a challenge, try the “Deck of Cards” workout for a total body session. Bring a deck of cards from home or download an app from an app store onto your phone. I use “WOD Deck of Cards”. It is free and customizable. Assign each exercise to a card suit. Presses = Hearts, Push-ups = Clubs, Squats = Spades, Dips = Diamonds, Sidebends & Jumping Jacks = Jokers. Flip a card and perform the exercise to the number on the card. Jack, Queen, King =10, Ace = 11, Jokers = 25 each. Since Uneven push-ups and sidebends are isolated to one side, divide the number on the face card by two and perform the total. You don’t have to perform the total on each side unless you want to of course. This is about a 30-minute workout routine, typically.
For more fun bodyweight workout plans, head to darebee.com. They have a ton of workout sequences for all levels that you can do in your hotel room.
I hope this provides you with some new ideas and reinvigorates your hotel room workout routine. What are some exercises that you do in your hotel room?