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Travel Well: Gym-free Workout

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It’s the Year of Active Travel! But let’s be real: you’re on vacation, and maybe you don’t want to work out. And that’s totally fine! My husband and I both like to work out when we travel because it helps us beat jet lag and keeps us strong and alert when we do the active things we like to do, like hiking, running, swimming, and more! But there may or may not be a gym at your accommodation. Never fear! There are some effective exercises you can do with little or no equipment.

As with anything related to your health and wellness, check with your doctor or other healthcare professional before beginning a fitness regime. All activities mentioned are done at your own risk.

Exercise Equipment that Travels

There is some amazing travel equipment out there, but don’t feel like you need to spend a small fortune or tote a ton of stuff with you–that is not good for packing light! I like to take these glider disks with one side for hard floors and the other side for carpeted floors, as well as a set of rubber bands that I can use for many different exercises! If you don’t have gliders but will be in a place with wood floors, you can also use washcloths or a hand towel! Click the photos below to get your own!

Exercise Bands

Exercise Gliders

Equipment-free Exercises

Your own body weight is with you everywhere you go! You don’t need a lot of equipment or accessories to get a great workout anywhere you find yourself

1. Push-ups

These are classic!

  • Start in a full plank position, propped up on your hands and toes, with your body in a straight line; be careful not to let your hips drop toward the ground or to let your back arch
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  • Lower your body toward the ground, bending your elbows out to the side
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  • Push yourself back up to the starting position
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  • Repeat 8-10 times for one set
  • Perform 3 sets

*Make it easier: perform on your knees instead of your toes
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*Make it harder: Keep your elbows close to your ribcage instead of out to the side as you perform the push-ups.

2. Skater Squats

Bonus: these will help you sneak in a little cardio, too.

  • Start standing up, knees slightly bent
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  • Jump to the right side, leading with the right leg
  • Extend your left foot behind and to the right
  • Tap your left hand in front of your right foot
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  • Immediately jump to the left to perform the above steps
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  • Repeat 10 times on each side (for a total of 20 skater squats) for one set
  • Perform three sets
3. Bicycle Crunches
  • Start on your back with your hands behind your head and your knees up at a right angle
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  • Bring your right elbow to your left knee
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  • Go back to the starting position
  • Bring your left elbow to your right knee
  • Go back to the starting position
  • Repeat 10 times each side (for a total of 20) for one set
  • Perform three sets

Glider Exercises

Gliders are slim and fit easily in any type of luggage. Don’t have or want to buy gliders? If you know you’ll be in a place with wood floors, you can use a couple of wash cloths or even just your socks.

1. Mountain Climbers

Your whole body will feel this–legs, abs, and arms!

  • Start with your toes on the gliders and your hands on the ground, directly under your shoulders or just slightly wider
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  • Keeping the rest of your body stationary, pull your right foot in
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  • As you push your right foot back, pull your left foot in
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  • Repeat 10 times each side (for a total of 20) for one set
  • Perform three sets
2. Single-arm Tricep Push-up
  • Start on your knees with your hands in the gliders, directly under your shoulders or just slightly wider
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  • Extend your right arm straight in front of you as your left arm bends with your elbow by your side
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  • Push up with your left arm while you drag your right hand back and return to the starting position
  • Repeat 8-10 times for one set
  • Repeat on the other side
  • Perform three sets each side
3. Side Lunge
  • Start standing upright with your right foot on a glider
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  • As you push your right leg out to the right side, bend your left leg as if you are doing a squat on that side
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  • Push up with your left leg as you drag your right foot in and return to the starting position
  • Repeat 10 times for one set
  • Repeat on the other side
  • Perform three sets on each side

*Remember to keep your body in a straight line; do not lean to one side or the other.

*It helps with balance to keep your hands clasped in front of your chest.

Band Exercises

Bands are super light and take up almost no space! There are plenty of different exercises you can do with them, but these are three of my favorites.

1. Clamshells
  • Put the rubber band around your legs, just above the knees
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  • Start on the floor on your right side, propped up on your right elbow with knees bent
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  • Squeezing your glutes (that’s your booty muscle), hinge your hips so that you are lifting your left knee
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  • Lower the left knee to the starting position
  • Repeat 10-12 times for one set
  • Repeat on the other side
  • Perform three sets on each side
2. Side Squats
  • Put the rubber band around your ankles
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  • Start standing straight with your feet hip-width apart or slightly wider
  • Push your right leg out and squat as low as you can
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  • Return to the starting position
  • Repeat 6-8 times for one set
  • Repeat on the left side
  • Perform three sets each side
3. Jumping Jacks
  • Put the rubber band around your ankles
  • Start standing straight with your feet hip-width apart or slightly wider, hands down at your sides
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  • Jump while driving your feet apart and clapping your hands over your head
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  • Jump and pull your feet back in, keeping resistance on the band, and lowering your hands back down to your side
  • Repeat 10-12 times for one set
  • Perform three sets

Have questions? Feel free to e-mail my friend and trainer, Joe Dattoli of Functional Training Concepts, if you need some clarity on any of these moves! Send him a message at JosephDattoli.iii@gmail.com.

Want more gym-free and low-equipment exercise ideas? Check out Kira Stokes on Instagram! Her moves are diverse, and often you only need your own body weight.

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