There’s no reason summer travel plans should derail your workout routine.
You can get a travel workout as good as any gym can deliver by knowing a few key techniques and concepts. All of these exercises are good as standalone workouts, or as components to interval training when used in combination. All you have to do is string together two, or as many as five, of these on-the-go exercises for a top-notch workout. If you push yourself, it won’t take long to feel as exhausted and sore as you would from a session at the gym, boxing class, an afternoon of rock climbing, or whatever your standard routine may be. Once you have a little experience with this kind of liberating travel workout, you’ll find what suits you best no matter where your “gym” is or how much time you have on your schedule.
For starters, pick any three of these travel workouts. Do 30 seconds of each without resting in between, then rest for a minute and repeat. Do five sets of this. If you need more, add another exercise or more reps. Best of all, you can do them all outdoors. These are workouts you can take to a hotel room, beach or patch of grass anywhere in the world.
In case you haven’t tried it since you were a kid, jumping in place is one of the most taxing activities ever. Within ten or so jumps, unless you’re in pretty good shape, your heart and lungs are pumping, your legs feel wobbly and—if you’re doing vertical jumps where you lift your knees high—your core will be utterly shot, too. Jumps of various kinds are an excellent travel exercise to intersperse with other exercises, like wind sprints or push-ups, to make for a super high-intensity interval routine. Besides vertical jumps, you can jump onto a wide ledge or to the top of a small set of stairs. If you can find one, a set of three stairs makes for a decent landing pad if you’re careful about where you place your feet. The need for precision is a good thing: it aids in coordination and helps with focus, two skills that readily apply to just about any sport.
What could be simpler than sprinting? Running your fastest will make you winded and force your body to supply energy with only a small amount of oxygen to work with, since your muscles are pumping so fast. For wind sprints, you only need a stretch of grass or pavement that is free of many people or obstacles. Remember to run your absolute fastest: you should be high on your toes, pumping your arms furiously and breathing in short, fast bursts.
Aside from being one of the most versatile and effective exercises on the planet, push-ups require less space and equipment than virtually anything else. Push-ups help to strengthen the chest and triceps, and because it targets your upper body, it has a profound effect on your heart and lungs. For men especially, push-ups are an indispensable travel workout. The correct form is something that many people never seem to learn, despite the ubiquity of the exercise. So here’s a primer: Keep your toes together, your body straight as a plank from your ankles through to your head, place your hands no higher than your shoulders and bring your chest nearly to the ground. Easier said than done, yes, but with a little attention placed on form, you’ll look like a Marine in no time. If you need to switch it up, check out our list of different types of push-ups to boost your workout.
The jump rope is the only piece of equipment on this list, and is just about the easiest accessory to pack in your travel bag. Boxers are in superior cardiovascular shape, and not surprisingly, they are never more than an arm’s reach from a jump rope. This small, lightweight tool packs an incredible cardiovascular punch. It can be used for an instant warm up, or as a training tool employed to push your heart and lungs to the brink of exhaustion. If you haven’t picked one up since grade school, plan on practicing a few times before you can use it well enough for a workout on-the-go. For a good shoulder and lung burn, jump as fast as you can for 30 seconds or one minute, rest and repeat as necessary. If you’re already a skilled jumper, then without question you should be doing double-unders—making two passes with the rope on each bounce of the feet.
This old military exercise—a push-up-slash-jumping jack—has been adopted by Crossfitters because it wallops all your major muscle groups. Burpees will strengthen your cardiovascular system and core while building your quads, pectorals and triceps muscles. Three sets of 20 burpees with a one-minute rest is a fantastic workout on its own, or bookend any combination of other travel exercises with 25 burpees.
Have any go-to exercises that you always include in your travel workouts? Let us know in the comments below or @DegreeMen.