Scenario: You’ve made significant progress with your summer sports conditioning program since school ended, but now you’re vacationing this summer with family or friends. Even while away from the gym for one or two weeks, the young athlete can still stay in shape at the beach or wherever the destination and still have plenty of time to enjoy the vacation. This article provided some total bodyweight-only exercises and added resistance training movements using just a portable medicine ball during your time away.
Bodyweight Strength-Boosting Exercises
Perform the bodyweight strength-boosting exercises indoors in your hotel room, the hotel fitness center, or outside on the beach or at a park. The medicine ball movements are ideally done outdoors where there’s more space (on the sand or grass at a park or open field). Each workout can be conveniently completed within 30-45 minutes (including dynamic warm-up movements and cool-down upper and lower-body stretches to promote flexibility and a greater range of motion). Add some morning runs a few times a week when away, and you’ll maintain endurance and won’t miss a beat with your conditioning when you return home!
- Water bottle
- Depending on one’s strength level, one moderately-heavy medicine ball (about 60-80% RM) or a lighter ball (about 40-50% RM)
- Bench (at a nearby park or in a hotel gym) or chair (in a hotel room)
- Optional: Pull-Up Bar (if available in a hotel gym or at a park playground)
- Optional: Exercise mat
- Hydrate before, during, and after workouts to stay hydrated – particularly on those hot summer days.
- Do an upper and lower body dynamic warm-up (e.g., Forward or Lateral Lunges and Arm Circles)
- Finish workouts with full-body cool-down stretches.
- Perform exercises on non-consecutive days for adequate recovery.
- Sets/Reps: 2×10
- Rest between sets: 30-60 seconds.
- Change the exercise sequence for each workout for variety.
- Be creative to make workouts more interesting and diverse: Mix bodyweight-only exercises with medicine ball exercises outdoors during the same workout; or substitute a bodyweight exercise instead of a medicine ball exercise; or alternate doing just medicine ball exercises one session, and bodyweight-only exercises the following workout.
- Ensure you do full-body workouts (including some upper, lower, and core movements) – whether substituting, combining, or alternating bodyweight or medicine ball exercises. Choose 6 exercises each workout among the listed bodyweight and medicine ball movements (e.g. 2 lower body, 2 upper body, 2 core exercises).
Body Weight Exercises
Burpees (Push-Ups Alternated With Jumps) for 10 reps. Excellent for simultaneously enhancing upper and lower body power.
Single-Leg Squats (10 reps per leg)
Improves balance, leg, hip, and core strength. Focusing on an object in front of you and keeping your arms extended at shoulder level while squatting on one leg helps maintain balance.
Pull-Ups or Inverted Rows
If no bar is available, lie down on your back under a bench or chair with an overhand grip atop the edge of the bench or seat, and slowly pull yourself up (called an Inverted Row exercise). Pause one second at the top, and slowly lower (your hips should be off the floor during the entire exercise and your chest should almost touch the top of the bench/chair).
Chair or Bench Dips
Sit on the floor in front of a chair or bench. Grasp the edge of the bench/chair with your hands shoulder-width apart (your fingertips should be facing the edge of the chair/bench not facing your back). That puts less stress on the shoulders when the fingertips are pointed away from your body.
Prone & Side Planks
Assume a prone position with your forearms at shoulder-width apart resting on the floor or mat, the legs extended and toes on the floor close together. Keeping your back straight and tightening your stomach (don’t let your lower back sag), hold the position for 30-60 seconds. Immediately pivot to your right side (hips raised off the floor, while resting on your right forearm). Hold 30-60 seconds, then rotate to your left side and repeat with your left forearm on the floor, hips raised). Rest and do another non-stop set of each. Advanced: Do Prone and Side Planks with your feet elevated atop a bench/chair.
Medicine Ball Exercises
Side Lunges & Twists
An all-in-one exercise incorporating upper and lower body and core muscles is excellent for laterally lunging and turning in baseball, softball, lacrosse, tennis, and football). Start by holding the medicine ball at chest level with your arms extended in front of you and your feet close together. Lunge laterally right while simultaneously turning right with the ball. Bring feet together and continue lunging/twisting right 9 more times. Rest 30-60 seconds and repeat the movement lunging left and twisting left for 10 reps. Rest and do another set for each side.
Promotes upper body (chest, back, shoulders, arms) strength and size. Assume a Push-Up position with both hands atop the medicine ball. Keep your body straight and stomach muscles tight while slowly lowering and pushing back up to start position. Advanced: Keep one foot airborne while doing the Push-Ups with the hands on the ball for enhancing core stability and making the exercise more challenging.
Squats & Overhead Presses
Another lower and upper body great combo movement. Begin holding the ball at chest level. Slowly lower to a squat position. Pause, then explosively rise up while pressing the ball overhead. Repeat 9 more times.
Single Leg Ball Rows
Improves balance, upper body and core strength. Slightly bend your left knee and have your right foot airborne while holding the ball with your arms extended at waist level. Quickly pull the ball towards your waist and squeeze your back and shoulders towards your spine. Pause and return to start position and repeat 9 more times. Rest, then perform the movement with your right knee bent while keeping your left foot off the floor.
Kneeling Ball Roll-Outs
Perform the exercise while kneeling on a soft surface (mat, carpet, grass, or sand). Place your hands atop the ball and keep your feet airborne. Slowly roll the ball forward while extending your body. Pause and then roll the ball back to start position. Roll it diagonally right, then back to you, then roll it diagonally left and back. Do 9 more forward and diagonal roll-outs. This exercise thoroughly works your core muscles while also building up your arms.
Assume an athletic stance (knees slightly bent, hips back) while holding the ball overhead. Explosively drive the ball down and across your body towards the right ankle while bending down. Do 9 more reps and immediately switch by driving the ball down towards the left ankle 10 times. This combo movement utilizes multiple upper and lower body and core muscles.