One of the most common questions I get from clients and friends on the go is, “How can I keep up my workouts if I don’t have access to a gym when I travel?” Now if you’re a runner that can run anywhere you’re golden… but for the rest of us non runners (and runners looking to add some strength training to their program) here are some of my favorite bodyweight exercises…
This entire series is from our recent trip to St Martin. While the community we stayed in has a tiny gym, I really wanted to do something outside… Obviously I’m using a fairly low wall, but a bench could work as well. This bodyweight workout will strengthen your chest, back, arms, core, legs, and glutes. Try my add-ons and you’ll have a complete bodyweight workout for anytime and anyplace, no props required.
P.S.Try each move for 20 repetitions and do the complete series for 3 sets. I actually started this workout with a slight jog, just enough to warm up (about 10 minutes) and then added some Pilates ab work at the end. If you’re new to this workout begin with 10 reps and go through the series one time. As you progress increase the number of repetitions before increasing your sets. If you’re taking a break between exercises try to take no more than 1-2 minutes. Make sure your focus is on your form, not your time. Oh and if you’re feeling your knees on the first 2 exercises make sure you’re knee and ankle are aligned correctly and that you are pressing through your heel to straightening your base leg. If you’re pressing more through the ball of your foot or toes, you’ll feel more pressure in your knee and quad. If you’re pressing through your heel, you’ll actually find your hamstrings and glutes.
1) (top left) “Bulgarian Split Squat”- Keep the top of your foot resting on the wall and make sure your front leg lines up so that your knee and ankle are perpendicular. Lower yourself as far down as you can to make your hip and knee parallel while keeping your spine completely straight and core engaged. Press through your front foot to straighten your leg. Do up to 20 on each leg. (P.S. the lower you go the bigger the hip flexor and quad stretch you’ll feel in your elevated leg.)
2) (top right) “Elevated Lateral Lunge” – Begin by standing with your feet shoulder width and then place your foot level to the back of the bench or top of the wall, so that leg is straight and foot is safe and flat. Squat to a 90 degree angle at the right knee. Try to sit down with your butt, keeping your torso as upright as possible. Make sure to push through your entire base foot so that you can feel your hamstring and glutes engage. Keep your back lengthened and your core engaged. Do up to 20 on each leg.
3) (bottom left) “Incline Push Ups”- I actually did 2 variations here. One was a wider grip allowing my elbows to bend outward away from my body and really working my chest, shoulders, and core. The picture below is a closer hand position to incorporate my triceps. Place your hands at the top of your bench or wall and walk your body back until you’re in an inclined plank position. In the tricep variation make sure your torso is forward enough that your thumbs align with your arm pits and your elbows become “glued” to your rib cage. Inhale and lower yourself down so that your elbows continue to graze your ribs. Exhale and press up making sure to keep your elbows close to your body. P.S. If you separate your legs about hip distance apart while pressing your heals back, you will decrease the challenge. By squeezing your inner thighs together and pressing your heals back away from your body, you’re creating a bigger challenge. Do up to 20 of each variation.
4) (bottom right) “Dips” – Place your hands on your bench seat or wall with your fingers facing you. Walk your legs out until your heels are down and toes up. Inhale as your bend your elbows and lower your body down as far as you can while maintaining a tight core and completely erect spine. Exhale to press yourself up, while keeping your shoulders, traps and neck relaxed. Do up to 20.
Have fun and let me know how you did!
Oh and since I am totally obsessed with Pharrell Williams new album I had the song “Freedom” playing during this bodyweight workout. Here’s it is if you’re looking for something fun!