General 'On the Road' Workout Plan
Here you'll find some great workouts designed specifically for the road. This is the 'General Travel Workout Plan' for those of you who are happy to just workout with body weight, your backpack and your hotel room, it's really flexible and accommodates a range of levels.
I've also written a more advanced version for people looking to take things that little bit more seriously. I'd particularly recommend this version to those who regularly weight train with barbells/dumbbells. Read it here: 'The Advanced Travel Workout Plan'
This general travel routine is full body, and has two workout days, day A and day B. It's full body, as it's designed to get you the best 'bang for your buck' whilst keeping things simple and being manageable under travelling conditions. Naturally, you will see the best results by keeping track of your progress and pushing to do a little bit more every time. "A little bit more" can count as more repetitions, more sets, choosing a more difficult exercise variant, or by adding weight with a backpack, bag etc. It's designed as a template so that it affords flexibility for the individual whilst keeping things as optimal as possible.
I'd recommend that you use your first couple of workouts as test sessions to get comfortable with the programme. You can use these tests to choose which exercise variant is best for your level, whilst tweaking the sets and reps to suit.
It's recommended to perform this travel workout 3-4 times a week. Back to back days are generally fine, I have found they are often great to squeeze some workouts in if you have a busy schedule looming ahead.
The rep ranges are generally listed as 8 - 15 which is intentionally widely spread as it gives you room to keep progressing with limited equipment and variables. Ideally, you would want to be getting pretty tired/close to failure somewhere in that rep range, but don't sweat it if you have to go higher still. Similarly, if you can't manage 8 reps on some of the harder exercises stick at it and keep going until you can.
The sets are also flexible so as to give you room to progress. If you are doing a difficult exercise variant and you're hitting 15 reps in all sets, add in another set to allow progression to continue.
Rest times can also be shortened to increase difficulty and continue progress. As standard, I suggest starting with two-minute rest intervals for the first three exercises of the travel workouts, and one-minute for the later exercises.
Youtube is your friend. Whilst I give some tips and suggestions for performing exercises below, doing them with proper form is important. I haven't described the exercise forms in detail as a visual is far better than a written description. I suggest Youtubing any exercises you are unsure about performing. Tip: You can download them to your phone to watch offline using the "save for later" option on the Youtube app.
The General Travel Workout
Travel Workout A
Squat variant: 3-5 sets of 8-15 repetitions. Options include: Body Weight Squat (this is the easiest version, try adding a backpack to make things harder), One-Legged Crouched Squats or Pistol Squats (this is the hardest version, use the wall for support if you are struggling to balance.)
Chest-Press variant: 3-5 sets of 8-15 repetitions. Options include: Standard Push-Ups (goes without saying really), Decline Push-Ups, Wide Grip Push-Ups (targets chest at the expense of triceps), Clap Push-Ups or my favourite, Rocky Push-Ups/ 1 Arm Push-Ups. If you are lucky enough to have a willing friend or partner travelling with you, you can even have them lie on your back while you do regular Push-Ups.
Row Variant: 3-5 sets of 8-15 repetitions. Options include: Inverted Row (Inverted Rows aren't always going to be possible, you need a sturdy table, chair etc that isn't going to move) or One Armed Backpack Rows. (These can be performed easily by supporting yourself by both kneeling and using your free arm along the edge of a bed. Your back should be fairly parallel to the floor)
Tip: Switching rows out for chin-ups or pull-ups (Workout B exercises) in this workout is often a good idea if you have the opportunity. The reason being it is often difficult finding a place to chin/pull, and overall chins/pulls are the better exercise, so if you get the chance to do them, do them.
Optional Workout A Exercises:
Tricep variant: 2-3 sets of 10 - 15 repetitions. Variations include: Tricep Dips, Wall Tricep Extensions, Lying Tricep Extensions (You perform these face down, whilst holding the edge of a bed or other low object, think about dropping your elbows down to the floor while your forearms move into a vertical position, and then press back up until forearms are parallel to the floor)
Calf Raises: 2-3 sets These can be done one-legged whilst using a wall for support. If you need an extra challenge try using your backpack for extra resistance.
Travel Workout B
Glute/Hamstring/Hip variant: 3-5 sets of 8-15 repetitions. Options include: One Legged Romanian Deadlifts (You can add weight via a backpack to make these more challenging, use a wall for support if necessary), Hip Thrusts (Single legged for the more advanced. Try adding a backpack for that extra challenge. Most beds make a good platform on which to lean against while performing this exercise.) Back Bridges (these require good flexibility but are a great exercise. You can place your wrists against the bottom of a wall to help you get into the required position.)
If you are looking for a more challenging exercise, you can look at the "bedlift variations" in the advanced travel workout on the next page and substitute them here instead.
Pull up Variant: 3-5 sets of 8*-15 repetitions. Options include. Pull-ups or Chin-ups. Both of these are some of the best exercises in existence. If you can't do a Pull-up or a Chin-up, try doing negatives, where you start from the top position, and slowly lower yourself down. Jump to the top position or use a box etc. This is a great way to work up to proper Pulls/Chins. Also Chin-ups are generally a bit easier than Pull-ups.
*If you can do Pulls or Chins but can't do 8, keep doing them and work up to it. On the flip side, if you can do more than 15 strict pulls/chins for multiple sets, you're very strong, so add a backpack.
Tip: It's not always easy to find a good place to do Pulls/Chins on the road, let alone in or near your room while you do the rest of your workout. If you see the opportunity to do them, do them, even if it's not Workout B day. When I'm travelling, I often scout out ledges in hotels, opportune trees and low balconies etc.
Shoulder Press variant: 3-5 sets of 8-15 repetitions. Options include: Handstand Shoulder Press (use a wall for support, this is the best option providing you can do them), Backpack Shoulder Press (easiest version) or Pike Pushups (these are a good way to work up to handstand push ups, you can adjust the difficulty by moving your legs closer to your head, or by elevating your legs on a chair or bed.)
Optional Workout B Exercises:
Bicep Backpack Curls: 2-3 sets of 8-15 repetitions. Everyone loves them curls.... However, they aren't essential if you are getting adequate chin-up/ pull-up work in. Even if you're fairly strong, your big backpack or suitcase should provide enough weight for you to curl in the above rep ranges provided you're doing single handed curls.
Abdominal exercise - 2-3 sets: I would suggest a Plank or Body Weight Crunch variation of your preference here.
Ready to move on? Try 'The Advanced Travel Workout Plan'
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