It’s hard to work out when you’re on the road. Unless you’re staying at a luxury hotel or floating on a cruise ship, finding a gym can be a real challenge—especially in a foreign country.
I’m a frequent traveler, so I’ve worked out in all types of strange gyms and have had to improvise workouts wherever—and whenever—I could.
These five exercises aren’t meant to build a lot of muscle and get you ripped, but they are a great way to spike your metabolism, burn calories, and maintain muscle mass until you get back to your home gym. Best of all, they require zero equipment.
Single-Leg Squat From Box
The Single-Leg Squat is a great leg exercise for any on-the-road workout because the technique is straightforward; you can make it harder or easier; and it can be done practically anywhere.
- Stand on the edge of an elevated surface (chair, step, bench, etc)
- Lower one leg toward the ground, squatting as you lower
- Once the bottom leg touches the ground, drive yourself up with the leg on the box
- Do not push off with the bottom leg
- Finish all your repetitions on one side and then repeat on the other leg
The Single-Leg Deadlift targets your glutes and hamstrings.
- Start from a stand and bend one knee
- Sit back into your hips and try to keep the shin on your bent leg perpendicular to the floor
- Lower your bent knee as close to the ground as you can, lifting your other leg out behind you
- Come back to a standing position
- Finish all your repetitions on one side and then repeat with the other leg
The T Push-Up is one of my favorite exercises to develop chest, shoulder, and core strength. To make it harder, elevate your feet a few inches.
- Do a normal Push-Up
- When you return to the starting position, rotate your body so your chest is facing out and reach up with one arm
- Do the same on the other side
Planks are a dime-a-dozen; spice things up with this dynamic variation.
- Begin in a normal plank position
- Reach up with one hand in a “salute” motion and hold for two seconds
- Return your arm to the starting position
- Repeat with the other side
Pulling exercises are the hardest type of exercise to do without equipment. Never fear, though. The YTWL is a simple exercise that develops the small stabilizer muscles at the back of your shoulders and promotes good posture and shoulder health.
- Lie on your stomach with your arms over your head in a “Y” shape
- Squeeze your shoulders back and lift your arms
- Repeat with your arms straight out to the sides in a “T” shape
- Repeat with your arms out to the side but bent in a “W” shape
- Finally, bend your arms out in an “L” shape on either side and rotate your thumbs outward
Quick Workout Template
If you’re squeezed for time, try a density-training program. But pace yourself. This workout might smoke you.
Set a timer for 15 minutes:
- Single-Leg Squat (8 repetitions on each side)
- T Push-Ups (8 each side)
- Single-Leg Squat (8 each side)
- Salute Planks (30 seconds)
- YTWL (6 repetitions each side)
Do these exercises in order with no rest in between sets. Repeat the cycle as many times as you can until time runs out.