This is the first chapter of our “Fitness on the Road” series. Personal trainer, Kaitlin Dolan will walk you through a workout you can do anywhere.
Being an Equinox trainer and group fitness instructor for nearly 3 years has given me an opportunity to work with many people who travel regularly for work or for play.
Exercising on the road can be difficult, especially when staying in hostels or hotels that may not have gyms. Everyone is familiar with many bodyweight exercises, such as squats and push-ups. However, most people are unfamiliar with proper muscle activation and how that translates to actual movement. Plus, those squats and push ups can become repetitive and boring.
Here are some exercises that I promote with many of my clients who travel. Most of them are dedicated to strengthening the glutes (as my girlfriend says, “I want glutes that shake the earth”), improving hip mobility through movement, core stability, and thoracic spine mobility. All movements should be performed for at least 2 sets of 12 reps, beyond that is also encouraged being that no movement requires maximal strength or effort.
- Glute Bridging
– Actively squeeze both glutes, raise the hips off of the floor and hold. Alternate raising one leg at a 90-degree angle to engage each glute individually. Activating your glutes before movement is vital to proper activation and sequencing.
- Modified Side Lying Bridges
– By driving your knee into the floor and pushing through your hip, raise the hip off of the ground. This is a great regression to side planks, which many people muscle through using their core instead of their gluteal complex.
- Backward Lunge with an Overhead Reach
– Stabilize on one leg and slowly decelerate your body through your front leg towards the floor. Raise both hands overhead at the same time to stretch your lats and shoulder complex. Driving through the hip and heel of your front leg, slowly stand up and bring the hands down to your sides. The leg moving back will also receive a nice stretch in the hip flexor complex.
- Single Leg Squats
– This exercise is slightly more advanced and can be regressed using a bench to simply sit down and stand up off of using one leg. Otherwise, pop a heel up onto the opposing knee and slowly squat down to 90 degrees or however deep you are capable of. With each squat, you will also stretch out the opposing side piriformis.
– This is one of the best exercises for postural muscle activation. The key is to not engage your upper traps near your neck and to focus on squeezing only between your shoulder blades. YTA refers to the position of your arms, and here only the T position is performed. Keeping both arms straight, simply squeeze the shoulder blades back and together. To perform the Y and A, have the arms extended at a 45-degree angle overhead and down to your sides respectively.
- Bird-Dog Extensions
– Beginning in a push up position, slowly extend the right arm out and left leg out behind you. Again, focus on engaging and squeezing that glute to keep the leg fully extended. Find stability after shaking a little bit and slowly raise both limbs down before switching to the opposing sides. Keep your belly button pulled tightly into your spine and your pelvic floor engaged. Yes, that means a kegel exercise. Do your best to keep your hips and low back square towards the floor.
- T-spine twists
– In a kneeling position, lean forward and reach your right arm straight across to the left side of the body, while taking your left hand and reaching behind your back. Allow your body weight to fall towards the floor in your upper body. This will not only stretch out the thoracic spine area, but also the external rotators of the shoulder in the arm that is behind the back.
– Stabilizing in your right leg, slowly decelerate your body towards the floor through your right hip and bring your left knee down to the floor towards the heel of your right foot. You should feel a slight stretch in the hip. You can then drive through the right heel of the foot and hip to stand up.
Again, this article does not begin to cover all of the regressions and progressions for all of the movements. However, this is a great routine for those seeking to maintain some of the most important components of whole body health – glute and core stability, posture, and thoracic mobility.