Planning a great trip but don’t want to reverse all the great progress you’ve made losing weight or gaining muscle? It can be tough to stay on track when you’re surrounded by tasty food on your vacation and don’t have a lot of space or equipment for exercising.
To avoid backsliding, you just need to take a few minutes to do these great bodyweight exercises in your hotel room!
Squats are so effective that Self Magazine has ranked them as one of the leading fitness trends of 2018, so it is no surprise that they are one of the best bodyweight exercises for a hotel (1).
To do squats in a hotel room:
- Stand in any open area with your legs shoulders width apart
- Slowly bend your legs until the thighs are parallel to the ground
- Keep your knees from extending over your toes to avoid strain
- Return to a standing position
- So at least 10 reps
This simple exercise can have impressive results on your thighs and buttocks. If you want to squat more than just your bodyweight, consider holding a suitcase to add a little more weight.
Want to keep your shoulders and upper arms strong on your vacation? Take the time to do push-ups. These use your own body weight as a way of adding resistance to muscle movements.
Form in a pushup is essential. Be sure to keep your body straight, have your hands slightly wider than a shoulder width apart, and avoid letting your head droop down. Aim for around 15 reps total.
If you don’t quite have the body strength to do a full push-up, the Mayo Clinic says that a modified push-up where your weight is on your knees instead of your toes can be just as effective (3).
3. Side Lunges
Side lunges involve standing with your legs together, stepping to the side with one leg while bending it, and then returning to your original position. Doing 10 to 20 reps per leg with this exercise can help to target your inner thighs, outer thighs, and buttocks all at once.
According to exercise physiologist Brook Jimenez, this type of lunge is better than a traditional forward lunge because it puts less stress on your knee ligaments (6).
4. Walk Outs
These unusual exercises are great for when you miss cardio because they also take your joints through the full range of motion. You can get a bit of bodyweight exercise in while still staying flexible on your travel.
To do walkouts:
- Start by standing up
- Bend over and walk your hands along the floor until you are in a plank position
- Walk back until your hands are by your feet
- Stand back up
This is a nice, simple exercise that doesn’t require strange positions or loud movements. All you have to do is put your arms out straight in front of your shoulders, rest your weight on your palms and toes, and keep your back and legs straight.
Hold it for at least 15 seconds, or try to go for as long as you can. The end result is an exercise that helps you to tone your core and build abdominal strength.
2016 research from the Journal of Physical Therapy Rehabilitation Science found that it was particularly effective because planks activate the erector spinae, external oblique, and rectus abdominis muscles all at once (5).
6. Hollow Holds
To do this exercise, lie faceup with your arms and legs stretched out straight. Lift your arms and legs to hover a couple inches off the ground, and hold the position for about ten seconds. You need to do at least five reps to get any effect.
These might not be your standard bodyweight fitness exercise, but they are still very useful. As Coach Jessica Salyer explains, hollow holds are a type of isometric exercise which involves putting tension on muscles without actually moving them (2).
7. Tricep Dips
The triceps are a tricky muscle to target, but their important if you want your arms to look firm and muscular.
An easy way to exercise triceps with a bodyweight exercise is following these steps to do the tricep dip:
- Sit on the edge of something with your palms down and your fingers facing towards you.
- Extend your legs and lift your rear until your weight is on your palms and your heels.
- Gently bend your elbows to lower your body.
10 to 15 reps is normally very effective.
Personal fitness trainer Frank Nagle recommends doing them against a chair, but a low table, hotel bed, or bathtub edge can also work (4).
8. Inverted Rows
It can take a bit of time to get used to these, but once you’ve figured them out, they’re great for times when you don’t have a pullup bar. All you need for these is a sturdy hotel room desk.
You lay under the desk with your hands on the edge about shoulder width apart, and then you bend your arms to pull yourself up while keeping your body straight.
9. Hip Raises
Men’s Health Magazine recommends this yoga inspired exercise for when you really want to activate your glutes. (8). Hip raises are also helpful because they help to align your pelvis and promote the right posture.
Here’s how you do hip raises:
- Lie on your back with your knees bent upwards
- Tense your glutes and slowly straighten your torso and thighs.
- Pause when your weight is resting on your shoulders and feet.
- Lower yourself to your starting position.
10. Recovery Exercises and Methods
Of course it can be hard to enjoy your vacation when you’re stiff and sore from working out too hard. To keep this problem from happening, you need to include some exercises for post workout recovery and preventing inflammation after a workout.
According to some 2015 research by Dr. David Behm, foam rolling is one of the only proven effective exercises for treating delayed onset muscle soreness (9).
To do this, all you need is a firm foam cylinder. Lay in a modified plank position on top of the roller so that you are resting your legs, back, or other muscle on the cylinder. Gently roll back and forth to massage the area.
Other potentially helpful tips from Fitness Magazine include anti-inflammatory supplements, getting lots of sleep after your workout, applying ice packs, and eating anti-oxidant rich foods (7).
All of the workouts on this list are just simple bodyweight exercises, but they can have a big impact. Dr. Edward Laskowski explains that as long as you keep proper form and do enough reps, you can have big strength gains with bodyweight workouts.
You might even find that you come back from your travel weighing less and feeling stronger than you did before!
Want more bodyweight workouts? Check out our Beginner’s Guide to Bodyweight Workouts (with over 30 exercises).
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