Last updated April 8, 2022
Do you have room in your luggage for dumbbells, stability ball and cardio machine? Neither do I. Bodyweight exercises are one of my go-to’s when traveling—that I can easily whip into a sequence or repeat from a list as I share below.
Traveling can tax your immune system, and exercise can help to counter that. Plus, sticking to a consistent routine when away from your home routine is always a recommendation for body regulation and overall health.
Never having to rely on a hotel having a gym (or a fully equipped one) is one of the main reasons I prefer bodyweight exercises over others. The other reason? I have zero excuses that I cannot work out.
Accountability, wellness-minded travelers! Here are my top favorite bodyweight exercises you can do in your room that require no equipment.
1. LUNGES (LOWER BODY)
Working the glutes and the quads, while promoting incredible circulation in your legs, is crucial during air travel and long hours of sitting. There are quite a few variations that you can incorporate, depending on what area you want to target or your level of fitness ability.
To start, stationary lunges are great for building strength, and reverse lunges are effective at improving stability and balance.
Tips to properly lunge:
- Place one foot behind you, hips in line with your heels, keeping the back heel raised
- Keep the front knee is directly over your ankle
- Place your arms either on your hips or behind your head
- Keep your upper body elevated, with a slight backbend in the upper back
- Drop the back knee, tapping it gently on the floor, or bending no greater than a 90 degree angle
2. REVERSE SKATER LUNGES (LOWER BODY)
Targeting higher in the glutes and working your core simultaneously, the reverse skater lunges will fire up your tush in no time. When stepping back, try keeping the feet in line with the knees and knees stacked over ankles.
Tips to properly reverse skater lunge:
- Starting in a standing position with feet separated slightly wider than hip-distance
- Offer a slight bend in the knees, engage the core, and step your right foot behind you to the left, as if to reverse cross the legs
- Bend the knees to dip close to the earth, or less than 90 degrees, activating the entire lower body
- Repeat coming back through standing and reverse to the other side
3. BRIDGE LIFTS (LOWER BODY)
Working the glutes, hamstrings and the lower back (all of which can help low back pain or stability), bridge lifts also have many levels and variations. Start off with a double-legged lift, hips leveling with the knees.
To test your balance and core strength, try single-legged lifts, where one of the legs is elevated toward the sky with a flexed foot. Bent knees are welcome if the hamstrings are less flexible.
Tips to properly bridge lift:
- Lay flat on your back with hands almost touching the heels of your feet
- Ground your feet and the back of your heat to the floor
- Press down through the feet to elevate the hips, then peaking at the upper back
- Lower with control the hips back down to the floor, repeating using your breath
4. SINGLE LEG TRICEP DIPS (UPPER BODY)
From a crab-like position, where the hands and feet are grounded, chest up toward the sky, you can get creative here in a hotel room. For hand placement, you can use a desk, hip-height dresser, even bed or mattress to elevate.
The key is to have the chest a bit higher than the hips to increase the incline, therefore working the upper arms greater.
Tips to properly single-leg tricep dip:
- Once set up in the position mentioned above, ground down through the hands and elevate the hips and glutes away from the surface
- Lift one leg at a time, position the opposite foot slightly towards the middle of the legs
- Bending the elbows, dip the hops down to, allowing the elbows to bend no more than 90 degrees
- Elevate back up, repeating around 10-15 times, switching legs and repeat
5. PUSH-UPS (UPPER BODY)
The total body position, push-ups can work almost every area of your body when done properly.
You can work one of the following variations:
- Start with your knees down, focusing on the upper body
- Elevating the knees in a full plank, lower and lift
- Elevate the feet higher than the upper body, increasing the incline and forward strength in the upper body
- Spiderman the hands out wider than the hands under shoulders one at a time, alternating each push-up
6. PLANK HOLDS (FULL BODY)
Similar to push-ups, planks are a full-body activator. There are quite a few full-body variations to access, even if you have wrist or shoulder issues.
Similar to the push-up, you can try the following variations:
- Knees can be down
- Elevated knees with the shoulders directly over the wrists
- Use the forearms instead of being on the hands, ideal for any wrist issues or prior shoulder injuries
7. DEAD BUG (FULL BODY)
An incredible exercise for healing low back pain and restoring core strength, I recommend this for anyone sitting for long hours and may feel the ache in the lumbar spine.
Tips to properly exercise dead bug (there’s no right way to phrase that, but find some humor):
- Start from your back, with the knees bent 90 degrees, knees over your hips
- Place your hands on the knees, offering a gentle press
- Focus on the abdomen, engage the core
- Extend the left arm behind you, the right leg out in front (this may take a few tries to coordinate, so stay focused, take your time, and laugh when you goof up)
- Switch, remembering to engage the core and breathe
Did you forget about the most important muscle of the body, your mind? Remember to strengthen your mind-muscle, leaving at least five minutes for a breathing exercise or mantra meditation. A strong mind can keep your consistency for doing a workout when you travel, help minimize travel stress and boost your immune system.
These are seven of my favorite bodyweight exercises that you can do in your hotel room without any equipment. Check the video above to do this full routine in 17 minutes.
Do you have a favorite exercise or workout when you travel? Vacayou’s travel concierge team can help you discover, book and plan your next active retreat experience.